The blog of

Using stretch food film effectively

6,457 15/5 for 2 ratings
Grade this page:

Last modified on: May 12th 2018

Using stretch food film effectively

Maybe you use food film in your own kitchen. You know, the very thin, clear plastic stuff that you can stretch, often used to cover food and protect it from the air. It’s become so widely used that it’s now an essential item for pros. They even have a verb for it in French: “filmer”: to wrap or protect with this famous stretchy film.

strech film

An indispensable aid in a professional kitchen, it’s also very useful for amateurs like us. If we need to put something in the fridge, such as leftovers, it’s very convenient to cover it with film first.

So let’s imagine that you have a portion of shepherd’s pie left (for example), still in its serving dish, and you want to keep it in the fridge for later in the week. You leave it to cool completely, just as you should, then cover with film and pop it in the fridge.

Naturally, you will cover the dish by stretching the film across the top, pull it down tight over the edges to seal it, then into the fridge it goes – quite normal.

But this method, though it does work after a fashion, is not very effective – and that’s what this post is all about. When we wrap or cover something with film, the idea is to seal it off from the air to reduce oxidation (of fresh produce) or stop it drying out (cooked food). If the film is simply stretched over the top of the container, some air (even if only a little) will be trapped inside with the food and the protection is not very efficient.

Here’s the trick: to protect food effectively with film, it is better to have the film in direct contact with the food. Stretching it doesn’t help; on the contrary. Pressing the loose film onto the food isolates it completely from the air.

Let’s look again at the shepherd’s pie example: you should lay the film over the top, of course, then make sure it follows the “cut” edge down, over the shape left by the serving spoon, to protect this exposed part.

Here is an illustration showing a strawberry coulis. This tends to oxidise rapidly if prepared in advance. The photo on the left show the “traditional” way to cover; the one on the right shows the film in direct contact with the coulis which, protected like this, will keep both its red colour and all its flavour.

strech film not close to food strech film close to food

To sum up: To protect food with plastic film, it is best to have the film in direct contact with the food.

Back to top of page

Lasts posts

  • The 3 essential knives
    The 3 essential knives

    You must have heard a chef or cook say: "There’s no good cooking without good ingredients". This ...

  • The mock CAP baker's certificate exam
    The mock CAP baker's certificate exam

    The next instalment in my life as an apprentice baker at the French INBP professional school. I’m ...

  • Rosemary in recipes
    Rosemary in recipes

    Rosemary, as I’m sure you know, is a culinary herb: It is one of the famous French "herbes de ...

  • The Holy Grail of French bakers
    The Holy Grail of French bakers

    While browsing through the recipes on this site, you may have noticed that while I adore cooking ...

  • Is it really necessary to cream egg yolks?
    Is it really necessary to cream egg yolks?

    Let’s try and answer a question that crops up in cookery and patisserie, even if it verges on the ...

  • Egg yolks and caster sugar
    Egg yolks and caster sugar

    We often come across recipes where we need to mix egg yolks with caster sugar. This would appear to ...

  • The golden-brown finish on puff pastry
    The golden-brown finish on puff pastry

    Let's take a look at the tricky matter of producing puff pastry with an attractive, golden-brown ...

  • Fats for cooking
    Fats for cooking

    If you need to fry or sear anything a frying pan or saucepan, the temperature is likely to be high. ...

  • Other articles

  • See all posts
  • Random post
  • RSS feed

Other pages you may also like

Post your comment or question

I am not a leaving thing

Your 1 comments or questions on this page

Follow this page

If you are interested in this page, you can "follow" it, by entering your email address here. You will then receive a notification immediately each time the page is modified or a new comment is added. Please note that you will need to confirm this following.
I am not a leaving thing
Note: We'll never share your email with anyone else.
Alternatively: you can subscribe to the mailing list of , you will receive a e-mail for each new recipe published on the site.

Back to top of page