My kids like to take leftover casseroles to school. So last night I made a large batch of lasagna with spinach, homemade noodles and marinara sauce. This took a couple of days of planning to make sure I had enough of every ingredient and help available for the final assembly.
But when it came time to divide up the leftovers for freezing, I remembered that I don’t have enough appropriate storage containers. I could have used plastic or foil. But aside from my distaste for disposables, the kids couldn’t eat defrosted lasagna out of plastic wrap. And aluminum should never be used for storing acidic foods as the aluminum will leach into the food.
Usually our storage containers are made of glass or plastic, or occasionally of metal or ceramic. I’ll give a short summary of the materials and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
- May affect flavor of food.
- Wide variety of shapes and sizes available.
- Some types go from freezer to microwave. Sometimes a container is marked as microwave-safe, when the cover isn’t.
- May be difficult to remove grease.
- Large variation in quality.
- Often translucent so you can see what you have.
- Does not keep food as well as glass.
- Reuse containers from purchased foods, like ice cream or cottage cheese.
Note on BPA: You may have heard concerns regarding the safety of plastic containers. A few years ago, it was discovered that baby bottles were discovered to leach a type of chemical known as bisphenol A, or BPA. BPA has been shown in animal studies to affect neurological development in the fetus and infant. The dangers of BPA are still controversial, but it’s best to avoid it if possible. The hard plastic, labeled “7,” is most likely to contain BPA especially if it also says “PC”. BPA has also been found in the linings of many canned foods. I have not seen concern about BPA in food storage containers.
- Easy to clean.
- Breaks easily.
- Lasts forever if not broken.
- Air-tight seal with screw-top. With proper canning techniques, glass can be used for long-term storage.
- Excellent for microwave use.
- Heavy, so difficult for large quantities or for people with disabilities.
Ceramic is wonderful for cooking in, but the covers are not usually air-tight. Decorative ceramic containers are good for storing foods like sugar or pasta on the counter.
Stainless steel containers are excellent, but need an airtight plastic cover.
Please share your questions and ideas on food containers in the comments.
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