While the food we eat is important, what we store our food in is also something we need to pay attention to. Food storage containers often times contain chemicals that can leach into our foods and most of the time the transfer rate is unknown, so we really don’t know if/what finds its way into the foods we eat.
The most common container you’ll find at the store is plastic. It seems that most of them labeled for food storage are now BPA free, but that particular chemical had to have been replaced by something else. And we may not know the repercussions of the new one for many years to come.
I use glass for almost everything when it comes to food.
Over the years I’ve slowly been adding to my collection of glass storage containers, both Pyrex and Anchor.
- Small rectangular pieces (plastic lids) for leftovers and sending lunch to work with Todd.
- Glass bowls for larger items
- Mason jars (a great find at garage sales!) for liquids, sauces, grains, beans, seeds, and herbs. (I’ve even put cheese in them)
At first I was worried about breakage, but it hasn’t been an issue at all. Now, all of my jars and containers do have a plastic lid, so I make sure that the food isn’t touching the lid and that it’s cooled off first.
The one thing I haven’t been able to completely give up are ziploc bags as I still use those for freezing summer produce.
Can’t Afford to Switch?
One of the biggest issues I had with trying to store my food in non-toxic containers was the cost. It was expensive to spend five or six dollars on one small container! But I have also found that the glass containers hold up a lot better than their plastic alternative, so they definitely save money in the long run.
While you transition, you can also choose to use safer food handling practices even when you don’t have glass storage.
The leaching usually occurs when the food is hot, so allow the food to cool before placing in a plastic container. And if you have the option, choose to store fatty foods in glass and things like produce and grains in plastic.
So how do you handle food storage without compromising your position to keep your food toxin free?
I also use glass jars for just about everything. The most common thing that I do NOT use them for is freezing….do you have any tips for freezing foods/liquids in glass?
@Sarah, You can freeze food in wide-mouth Ball jars. You just have to leave plenty of head space. But they don’t crack because the mouth is as wide as the jar and the food just expands straight up. Just be sure to let the food cool before putting the jars in the freezer. I have several jars full of pumpkin puree frozen in my freezer right now and haven’t had any breakage. I also regularly freeze food in my Pyrex bowls (some with glass lids, some with plastic). They’re great because you can prepare meals in them and then just stick them in the oven when it’s time to cook. So fast and easy!
I have learned to freeze soup and broth in glass jars. Of course, the thing to look out for is not filling the jar too full (learned my lesson the hard way on that one). What I usually do now is leave about 1.5 inches of space at the top of the jar, freeze the contents and THEN the next day screw the lid on. I usually see a bulge in the top of whatever it was I froze as the liquid expanded. Keeping the lid off until after it is frozen ensures that you won’t have an issue with too much pressure building up inside the jar. If too much pressure builds up, the jar can break, trust me. Hope this helps!
Initially, I bought some mason jars, but couldn’t afford to get too many. Since then, I’ve just been cleaning out and saving glass jars from products I buy at the store (salsa, pasta sauce, etc), and now my stock of glass jars is growing quickly.