Which food storage container is best?
If you’re a leftover lover looking to cut down on waste, or an organizational wizard looking to bring your kitchen to the next level, food storage containers are essential.
The containers you choose will ultimately come down to how much space you have and how much food you need to store. Whether you’re preparing some yummy meals for the week or decluttering your cabinets, you can’t go wrong with the Rubbermaid Brilliance Storage BPA-Free Clear Food Containers.
What to know before you buy food storage containers
Benefits of food storage containers
Food storage containers are wonderful kitchen aids that aren’t just for storing leftovers. In addition to reducing waste, these convenient vessels are great for packing lunches on the go — from full meals to condiments.
Food storage containers also make an excellent preventive measure against pests. If you’ve ever had mice or cockroaches, then you know how important it is to limit food access. Airtight containers provide an alternative to pantry items such as open cereal boxes so gross critters don’t have a reason to come in.
Food storage container uses
There’s no limit to what you can save with a plastic or glass food storage container. These don’t just have to be reserved for the Chinese food you ate last night.
- Organization: You can also use food containers to clean up your kitchen, partitioning and labeling your dry goods like pasta, nuts, spices and herbs.
- Batch cooking: For those who like to cook in bulk, glass mason jars are great for freezing (just leave some room at the top so they don’t crack).
- Condiments: Amateur salad-dressing or hot-sauce mixologists will love how food storage containers facilitate their inspired food adventures.
Storing leftovers can cut down on waste. But leaving your food in the back of the refrigerator for months can also birth a biohazard. Most leftovers can be safely kept in the refrigerator for three to four days, after which the chance of food poisoning increases. Most frozen foods can be kept in the freezer for one to two months. Keep a permanent marker on your fridge to label your containers so you don’t lose track of when you put leftovers in.
What to look for in quality food storage containers
Cheap and easy to use, plastic food containers are the go-to of many big brands. They’re stackable, durable, available in bulk and are easy to manufacture in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
One drawback to plastic, however, is its susceptibility to heat. If you want to reheat your food without dirtying dishes, you’re better off with glass, as plastic can warp in your microwave or dishwasher. Plastic can also stain, so watch out for those curries, sauces and soups. Lastly, if you’re worried about plastics leaching into your food, look for BPA-free options.
Those after the best container for leftovers need look no further than glass. When rated for high temperatures, this material is the perfect two-in-one option for storage and reheating. Glass is heavy and a little bulkier, however. It can also shatter. So it might not be the best option for rowdy households or travel. Expect to pay more for these containers than plastic.
With so many sizes available, which you use will depend on your eating and cooking habits. Smaller containers (1.3 cups or 300-550 milliliters) are useful for individual items or packed lunches. Medium containers 4-6 cups or around 1,250 milliliters) have enough room for another meal or two and make great leftover storage. And large containers (9 cups or 2,350 milliliters) suit big-batch cooking for a week or party’s worth of meals.
How much you can expect to spend on food storage containers
Food storage container costs depend on the amount of pieces and the material. For smaller sets of plastic containers, expect to pay $5-$20. Larger sets and glass containers typically cost $25-$50.
Food storage containers FAQ
What containers are best for meal prep?
A. If you’re cooking for the week, try a set of plastic containers like those you get with takeout. Cheap and purchasable in bulk, these stack neatly and can hold a full meal.
Can I put plastic containers in the microwave?
A. Microwaving and heating up plastics can cause harmful chemicals, such as BPA, to leach into your food. Even if your plastic storage container is labeled as microwave-safe or BPA-free, it’s best to avoid heating it. Use glass instead.
What are the best food storage containers to buy?
Top food storage containers
What you need to know: This 14-piece set is perfect for snacks and leftovers and should be a staple in any modern kitchen.
What you’ll love: You get seven containers with airtight, leakproof lids. Not only does this keep your food secure, but also limits bad odors when you inevitably forget your leftovers in the back of the refrigerator. Rubbermaid’s BPA-free containers come in three different sizes, from 0.5-9.3 cups.
What you should consider: The seals on the lids attract grime and require diligent cleaning.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top food storage containers for the money
What you need to know: These glass containers are the best option for reheating food on a budget.
What you’ll love: With a 2-, 5- and 7-cup dish, these are a great storage solution for dorm rooms and apartments where leftovers are a way of life. The plastic lids are microwave and dishwasher safe. They’re also easy to clean and resist stains, making this a durable, long-lasting set. If you need more capacity, there are 14- and 16-piece sets available as well.
What you should consider: The plastic lids may say microwave-safe, but they droop when heated. You’ll want to find a separate, non-plastic cover for reheating.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Rubbermaid improves upon their trusty, standard plastic food storage container with vented lids for mess-free reheating.
What you’ll love: Made from BPA-free and nontoxic plastic, Rubbermaid claims that these containers are microwave safe. By adding a vented lid, you no longer have to crack a corner and warp the plastic to avoid splatters. These are sized best for leftovers at 3 and 5 cups, and the sets come in two packs all the way up to 30 packs.
What you should consider: Heat low and slow in the microwave, and avoid foods rich in fat and sugar (such as syrups) to prevent warping.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Karl Daum writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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