Why You Should Never Store A Hot Baked Potato In Aluminum Foil

For some reason, Americans love to wrap their baked potatoes in aluminum foil.

When someone told the experts at Idaho Potato that they were told this practice was bad, the experts said that sense could now be established. "Just Say NO to Wrapping Potatoes in Aluminum Foil," they titled their answer. The reason is that, if you wrap a potato in aluminum foil, the foil traps the moisture inside. This leads to wet potatoes instead of crisp ones. It also lengthens the cooking time as the foil has to heat before the wrapped potato can be baked.

Instead, take your baked potato to the next level with this trick: simply plop your tater directly onto the rack and let it bake there. You don't even need to coat it in olive oil. You just need to roll the spud in some salt after washing to get the best possible taste.

However, the experts at Idaho Potato do recommend wrapping the baked potato in aluminum foil if you need to keep it warm after baking. That way, for example, you can wait as guests sit down around the table without fretting that the potato will cool.

You shouldn't store the potato in foil, however

Wrapping a baked potato in aluminum foil, as Idaho Potato recommends, is fine for a few minutes. However, you shouldn't store the baked potato in foil.

Food Safety News explains that the issue with keeping a freshly baked potato overnight in aluminum foil arises from the same reason why Idaho Potato recommends keeping it in the foil for only a few minutes: It stays warm. Because the foil does not allow air to pass, this makes the potato a good host for botulism, a disease that grows in areas that lack oxygen. It is so potent that Food Safety News claims a teaspoon could kill 100,000 people.

A separate issue to keep in mind, which is brought up by the Michigan State University, is that potatoes are naturally spawning grounds for bacteria because they have a high pH. So, a baked potato that is left to sit at room temperature for a prolonged period of time could become a host to a horde of germs.

All is not lost for our baked potatoes, though. Food Safety News says that one just has to eat one's potatoes within two hours of cooking, keep them at 140 degrees F, or put them in the refrigerator without aluminum foil. Once you retrieve your potato from the fridge, make sure you cook it at 140 degrees F or hotter before consuming the leftovers.