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This or That: Roasting Pans vs. Turkey Bags

Now that you've prepped your turkey, it is time to put it in the oven. Have you considered whether you ought to use a roaster or a bag?

I love the text convo above a friend shared with me. It captures how perplexed I am (as was she) by the idea of cooking in a plastic bag. I decided to share the benefits of baking in a roasting pan versus a bag. 

This: Turkey Bags

Everyone I’ve talked to who is a fan of turkey bags like them because it means they have one less dish to wash. I get it, doing dishes isn’t generally my favorite activity. But let's put the one extra dish aside and consider…

Oven bags, also known as roasting bags, are typically made of food-grade polyester or nylon. They are generally BPA-free, phthalate-free, and approved by the FDA for cooking. However, despite this they are not toxic free. Several studies have confirmed that chemicals leach from them at high heat. This study said the highest concentrations of leached chemicals were in the skin and juice. Which means you won’t be able to use those delicious juices to make your gravy, unless you want some extra toxins with your meal. recommends against using roasting bags precisely because of the leaching issue. And another study points out that when it comes to plastic household items, BPA-free doesn’t mean risk-free: “Most plastic products release estrogenic chemicals.” Beware, too, “nonstick” roasting bags, which are treated with Teflon, also known as PTFE.

That: Roasting Pans

The old fashioned roaster. Yes, someone will need to wash the roasting pan. I suggest this task be delegated to someone who did not spend the day cooking in the kitchen - a win-win for everyone.  You can elevate your turkey on a rack, which will also need to be washed, but you won’t eat chemicals that can store in your body for long periods of time or that can alter your endocrine function. A simple roasting pan is a great tool to utilize in your kitchen throughout the year.

This article appeared in the December 2014 Savor Your Health Newsletter. Sign up in the Sidebar to get more tips, tricks and delicious recipes delivered to your inbox every month.

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