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RonC

Simmering In Plastic Wrap

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My good wife (as opposed to the bad one ;-)) is going to simmer some chicken wrapped in plastic wrap. Okay to do so?

Thanks,

Sidecar Ron

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My good wife (as opposed to the bad one ;-)) is going to simmer some chicken wrapped in plastic wrap. Okay to do so?

Thanks,

Sidecar Ron

I think so.

But why?

SB :huh:

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What type of wrap? Food Saver is safe, and states that on the package.

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I do poached eggs but any thing else? Why?

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Poor man's sous vide?

Lol...again there is no point to do so. Poaching chicken breast is a poor thing to do anyways (unless sous vide), adds absolutely no flavor and IME tends to dry it out.

Wouldn't even do it for chicken salad.

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This is a good way of making a chicken sausage: it keeps the flavour in and gives it form.

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This is a good way of making a chicken sausage: it keeps the flavour in and gives it form.

Yeah, what he said. For sausages, too, it's a good way to see if the mixture holds well and tastes good, before loading the machine and casings. We used to roll chicken roulades in plastic and then steam-cook them in a combi oven, with great results.

I've simmered in both restaurant-grade plastic wrap (whatever the heck that means!) and Saran, and haven't tasted anything different with either.

What are you making?


"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

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I poach whole sides of salmon wrapped in plastic, which I serve at large parties that I am catering. The reason? It traps moisture, thus the salmon does not dry out. After about 10 minutes of poaching on a medium simmer, I add ice cubes to the court bouillon, then let the fish cool while immersed in the liquid. Even avid salmon fishermen have asked me my trick -- and that is it.

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It seems the replies are more associated with impact on taste, so here's my spin. I live in a hippy dippy town and I'm always hearing about the dangers involved in cooking. The two most common fears are aluminum and teflon. Plastics (especially in microwaves) are also a concern. The scientific evidence is lacking as to whether their are reasons to be concerned about heating plastic (Saran Wrap), and most suggest that its use is safe. But as I tell all of my customers, keep researching until you are comfortable with your decision.

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when thomas keller was writing a column for me, he did one on cooking in plastic wrap. as i recall, he rolled a boneless, skinless chicken breast around a stuffing of something, rolled the whole thing in plastic wrap, tight, like a sausage, poached it, cooled it, then sliced it into medallions. i did some reading beforehand about the safety of it. there is some controversy, but it seemed to me the "con" argument was about like that against using teflon pans. these days you can find someone who will argue against almost any cooking method (and, come to think of it, most ingredients as well).

edit: just noticed where you live gfron, wow, since when is silver city hippy-dippy? when i knew it it was pretty hardscrabble mining and res.


Edited by russ parsons (log)

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I would have some concern about chemicals leaching into my food, make sure that the cling wrap that you use does not contain DEHA, a carcinogen commonly found in some food wraps. Saran Wrap, resinite and cling wrap may all have a different chemical make up. So you would want to know if the particular product is recommended for use in contact with the food while heating or just for draping loosely, while heating, and what methods of heating are recommended. I personally would use the product that has been engineered for this purpose, not all plastics are created equally and most of them are designed for a specific purpose and the safety of these products outside of their specified use is unknown.

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IMHO, if it's something you do once in a while at a low enough temp not to melt the stuff, it should be fine. If you can microwave it safely, I'd think poaching would not be a major problem. I'd poach in a lot of water, though.


Screw it. It's a Butterball.

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I would have some concern about chemicals leaching into my food, make sure that the cling wrap that you use does not contain DEHA, a carcinogen commonly found in some food wraps.

DEHA is not classified as a human carcinogen by OSHA, the U.S. National Toxicology Program, or the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which are the main agencies that classify chemicals according to their carcinogenic potential. DEHA is approved by the FDA for use in food contact applications and is considered safe in those applications. According to the EPA, DEHA:

. . . based on the total weight of available data, EPA believes

that: (1) DEHA cannot reasonably be anticipated to cause significant

acute adverse human health effects at concentration levels expected to

occur beyond facility site boundaries and thus does not meet the

criterion of EPCRA section 313(d)(2)(A); (2) DEHA does not meet the

criterion of EPCRA section 313(d)(2)(B) because it cannot reasonably be

anticipated to cause cancer, teratogenic effects, immunotoxicity,

neurotoxicity, gene mutations, liver, kidney, reproductive, or

developmental toxicity or other serious or irreversible chronic health

effects; and (3) DEHA does not meet the criterion of EPCRA section

313(d)(2)© because it cannot reasonably be anticipated to cause

significant and serious adverse effects on the environment.

Link

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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In addition, only plastic wraps made from polyvinyl chloride would even contain any DEHA to begin with. This would exclude many plastic wraps, such as Saran, which is made from acetyltributyl citrate.


"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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The big complaint about microwaving in plastic wrap was that it releases dioxin into food, however this turned out to be a hoax -- the claims came from an unsubstantiated email that got passed around and managed to sink into the public consciousness. It's one of those things that many people are going to believe forever, even though there's not a shred of truth to it -- almost any time I'm in a group cooking situation and someone puts something in the microwave covered in plastic wrap (probably 5-10 times over the past few years) someone has said "Don't do that, it has dioxin in it" or equivalent nonsense. Here's a typical article debunking the claim:

http://www.aces.edu/dept/extcomm/newspaper/sept10c02.html

The only reason I've hesitated to jump in and say boiling in plastic is just fine is that I'm not sure what temperature Saran's products -- which come in a couple of grades -- melt at. I can't imagine the temperature of boiling water is a problem, but contact with the actual pot could represent much higher temperatures. I'm sure the Saran people have looked into it, so I'll be interested to hear what they have to say.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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According to this article on Weber Virtual Bullet:

According to championship barbecue expert Paul Kirk, "Saran Wrap Premium" brand plastic film (previously sold as "Saran Wrap Original" and "Saran Wrap Classic") will withstand temperatures of 250-260° before melting. Other Saran products like "Saran Wrap Cling Plus" and other brands of plastic film may not stand up to these temperatures.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I always poach my eggs wrapped in saran wrap nice and slow, add a little truffle oil and salt and man you've got a lovely egg. I've never tasted any off flavours in the eggs.I had one at arzak prepared a similar way (I'm almost sure) it was perfect.

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According to SC Johnson:

Steven,

Thank you for your email regarding the safety of SARAN™ wrap products

We cannot recommend using SARAN™ products for boiling.  They will not withstand the high temperatures and will melt.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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That's the entirety of the communication. I was hoping for a more detailed answer. It doesn't make a ton of sense, because the steam from microwaving (which the product is certified for) is surely hotter than boiling water. Oh well, I tried.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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guys, the original question was about SIMMERING not BOILING in plastic wrap. unfortunately my data entry addled brain can't remember the article i read recently(NYTimes mag, Saveur, Cooking Light, or on of the other cooking mags at work) about creating poached chicken rouladen in plastic wrap that the chef demonstrated and his dishwasher did at home the next day. it basically is a version of a ballotin(sp). what mags does the wife read?


Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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Poaching, simmering and boiling are nebulous. Most sources will tell you 160-180 degrees equals poaching, but if you stick a thermometer in the water any restaurant is using to poach eggs you're likely to read 205 (I only know this because I've done it three times -- go figure). Likewise, various sources peg simmering at 185-205, but most simmering I see in the real world involves bringing the liquid all the way up to boiling and then turning back the flame so as to maintain what is essentially a very slow boil -- we could easily be talking about nearly 212 for a lot of simmering. Boiling is 212, of course, assuming you're at sea level, but it's different in a submarine or on a mountaintop.

I imagine Saran can tolerate 212-degree water, but they're probably dishing out conservative advice because of all the variables they can't control. The biggest fear has got to be that the plastic will come in contact with the metal pot, which in some cases could be conducting a lot of energy.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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That's why I was saying poaching. Gentle simmering is just below the boiling point, but I'd think the boiling point of stews and such would be different than 212. You're talking chemical and viscosity differences.


Screw it. It's a Butterball.

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Does anyone use plastic wrap in the oven? We do at my work. I'm wondering now if it's at all safe..?

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