What is a food storage container?
A food storage container is an appliance that used to store food and drinks for some future need. The container is used for a diverse of purposes, which includes storing left over food in the refrigerator, storing food for use in the future or simply preserving food from going stale. Essentially, a food container can be used to store food for months and even tears. With a food container, you can comfortably shop for bulk food and using the containers, store the food in the refrigerator. This will among other benefits, save you the time that would have been spent in stopping at the mall each day to shop for food. In addition, Food storage containers are used for simple purposes such as carrying your lunch.
The common types of food storage containers are plastic and glass. The use of plastic to make food storage containers has for a long time been the subject of health criticisms. Many consumers are weary of the effects of bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a common chemical in plastic that is used in the hardening of plastics. Essentially, we come into contact with this plastic when we eat foods from containers with the chemical. Not to worry though, various studies have been carried out to show that there are no health risks posed by the exposure of BPA in the current low levels. In this regard, the European Food Safety Authority carried out a study of the risk assessment of BPA in 2015. The study found out that the exposure to BPA poses no health risk to consumers in any age group.
The plastic industry has however stopped using BPA in its products. Moreover, currently, the governments have regulated the plastic industry to ensure that only safe plastics are used in the food industry. In addition, the levels of plasticides that come into contact with food are very low.
Food storage containers are available in many shapes, that is, square, rectangle, and even rounded containers. Some other fancy shapes are also available.
Food storage containers are used for a number of reasons. To this extent, they may be used for home storage purposes and even commercial storage. If you are in the food industry for instance, food storage containers must be one of your must have equipment. Commercially, there is a growing trend for restaurants to sell packed foods. This business is growing tremendously perhaps because people’s lives have become too busy to allow them time to cook at home. This trend is most common with the young and unmarried persons. Carrying packed food has the benefit of relieving you the stress involved in cooking and washing the used utensils. More so, such storage containers are designed for a one time use after which you can just throw away the container.
Food storage containers are available as transparent or translucent pieces. Transparent containers are ideally clear enough to show the food contents. Transparent containers are on the other crystal clear.
Ideally, food storage containers offer just one method that you can use to store your food. Other food storage accessories include food pans, food boxes, dough boxes, food canisters, food jars and food crocks.
Why you need a food storage containers
Every home and any person in the food industry need a best food storage container. Not only does a food container help save food for future use but must also ensures that foods nutrients are retained. It is pointless to consume food that lacks the likes of vitamins, fats and all the minerals our bodies need for healthy growth and development. After all, It is common to have food remain after a meal or any cooking. A food storage container helps you store such left -overs.
Apart from storing left overs, a food storage container can be used to carry in food to be eaten away from home. These containers provide you with the best method to carry in your various types of foods and drinks that you intend to use during the picnic with your friends. Parents with school going kids particularly need a food storage container to pack in their kids food for lunch or a snack.
Moreover, if you are working away from home, using a food storage container to carry in your need cannot be overstated. First it is a cheap option for your lunch plan as compared to eating out in a restaurant. Simple maths of the amount you spend on your lunch as compared to carrying your homemade lunch will show tremendous amount difference. In the end, you will realize the money you previously spent on the long run put together can be channelled to other areas. More so, it offers a healthier option because you will carry home cooked food that is healthily cooked.
A food storage container also offers a perfect alternative to junk food. Most teens are addicted to eating fast foods. Junks foods have been shown to be the cause of some of the chronic illnesses such as heart diseases. This is so because such junk foods contain lots of fats that ultimately clog the heart system. Junk food also causes obesity.
Ensuring to always pack some delicious and healthy meals for your teens when they leave for school will give them a healthy option to their junk food.
Disasters and emergencies are ideally natural occurrences that are likely to happen from time to time in our living. The most common of these unfortunate events may lock you up in your house unable to go out for a couple of days and even weeks. Political unrests are one of those common happenings. For instance, In the case of a coup de tat civilians are advised to keep house for security reasons. Natural disasters are also common. With the advance in technology, it is now possible for these unfortunate happenings to be predicted. At such times, you may not be able to access the mall and food joints to purchase food stuffs. To help you adequately prepare for these times, you need best storage containers.
More so evidence has shown that once such disasters strike; there is poor supply of foods. This means that even if you would get a chance to access a foods selling joint, there is o food to buy. This scenario is similar to the recent economic crisis that hit countries. Arguably the most recent, example of a state running out of food supplies is being experienced in Venezuela. When finally the border between Colombia and Venezuela opened, Venezuelans poured into Colombia to buy food and other necessities.
In these hard economic times, Venezuelans need food storage containers to store in as much food as possible. More so, families with young ones must ensure that food is always available. To help in this, they should buy food in large quantities and pack them in the great food containers.
Food storage containers is of importance if you own a restaurant of an eating joint as they come in handy to aid in the preservation of food. With a food storage container at home, you will avoid wastage of food by ensuring to store any leftovers
Types of food storage containers
There are three most popular food storage containers. These are plastic, metal and glass containers.
Plastic food storage containers.
This type is primarily made from plastic. Plastic containers are popular for storing foods in large quantities. They are ideal for storage of dry foods such as pasta and noodles, popcorn and nuts, dried or herbs that are used for seasoning of teas or for medicinal purposes. Plastic containers are said to allow slow oxygen penetration over time through the polyethylene walls.
Some plastic designs can be hardened and closely resemble the glass texture. Other plastic container are however very flexible and light to the extent of being easily bent. The current technology in the manufacture of plastic food containers has ensured to mitigate some of the negative effects associated with plastic food containers. This advancement includes the use of polypropylene plastic.
Metal food storage containers.
Another type of food container is the metal type. Although they are not a common type, metal food storage containers can be used to store large quantities of food. Foods stores in metal containers tend to have a longer shelf life because of the vacuuming that is involved before they are closed. Moreover, due to its sturdy nature, a metal container can withstand some of the harshest environmental factors.
Glass food storage containers.
This is a common type of food storage container, preferred for its pretty look among other benefits. Glass containers, just like any other type of glass must be handling carefully to protect them from breaking. One great advantage of glass food storage containers is that they can be used repeatedly. Further, they are the most hygienic way of storing food because glass does not hind any bacteria.
The recent advancements in the glass food containers is the use of pyrex and tempered glass. This new versions are more resistance to pressure and are not likely to break with the simplest fall.
How to choose the right food storage container for you
The foremost factor that should inform your selection of a food storage container must be its size. The ideal size of your food container must be informed by the number of people you intend to store food and also the length of time. If storing lunch for your school going kid, you only need a relatively small food container. However, if storing food for the whole family to be used at a future time say in preparation of an emergency, you will need quite large food containers.
When selecting the size of the container, be sure to look at the design because certain designs though seem large will store relatively smaller volumes of food. If you wish to optimize on the container storage space, the square shaped container is the most ideal.
Another factor is the Type of food container.
While these may be a matter of appeal and preferences, it is noteworthy that the different types of food container have their upper side and down side. If buying a food storage container for your small kids, consider getting the plastic container instead of the glass type. To this extent, playful kids should use the plastic type just to reduce the chances of the kid constantly breaking the container.
In addition, you ought to consider type of food you intend to store.
There are a wide range of foods you my store with a food container. These may include cocked foods or raw foods. You may also sore dry foods, wet foods, hot foods and cold foods. If storing hot food for instance, go for glass type and f storing dried food go for the plastic type.
Another critical factor to verify before selecting a food container is the lid design . The ideal food storage container must have secure lids. An air- tight essential as it prevents humidity and the air from entering the container.
Also, a tight lid will protect the food from infestation by insects and microorganisms. There are various lid types to select from. This includes the seal cover lids and Snap-On lids. The seal cover lid type features an inner seal that provides a tight seal thus maximizing on spill resistance. Moreover, the tight lid prevents the popping up pf lids when there is a sudden pressure such as a fall. This lid type is ideal if you wish to travel with your food container say for a picnic. When purchasing a food container with the cover seal lid type, ensure that it has the thumb tab on all ends. Where the container is for the use by small kids, this lid type food storage container is the most ideal as it can withstand considerable height drops.
Moreover, you need to inquire what temperatures the container can withstand. Glass containers can withstand hot temperatures while the plastic type may not with the exception of a few plastic models. Closely linked to this factor is that you need to consider the type of storage. This means whether by freezer by a refrigerator or at room temperature.
Another important factor to help you select a food storage container is whether you need the stackable sets or not. The market offers food storage stacked with up to 20 cups .
The shape of a food container is also important in selecting the right container. In this regard, certain shapes have larger volume than others. As stated above, square and rectangle shaped containers are ideal if you wish to maximize on the containers size. Square shaped containers are also easily stackable thus a better choice for persons with limited kitchen space. Shape choice also influences the efficiency of food storage. For instance, a round shaped container will undoubtedly ensure that the stored food, in addition to remaining intact, remains fresh for a longer period. By its design, rounded food containers allow for better air circulation causing better preservation.
The best glass food containers
* Some images product from Amazon.com
Here, we sample for you some of the best purchases you can make on storage food containers. Some of the food storage containers in our best glass food storage containers are:
The best plastic food Storage containers With Lids
Best stainless steel food storage containers
A cheap Food Storage Containers set for picnics, barbecues and parties
Most people love parties and such outdoor eating events but are weary of the stress in having to carry food to the event. However with Rubbermaid TakeAlongs 40-Piece Storage Set, you and a few of your friends can carry your food safely and easily.
The product is a set of 40 pieces. It safe to use outdoors thanks to its use of materials that allow increased durability and reduced cracking. More so, the product comes with a lifetime guarantee for liability in the event of any breakages or dissatisfactions.
You should pick Plastic or Glass ?
Wondering what kind of material should be used? Here’s Pros and Cons of 2 popular food storage container, it’ll help you make the right decision.
Pros of Glass Food Storage Container
Glass containers are available in clear, coloured glass and frosted.
The first advantage of glass containers us that they are safe to put in the oven, the fridge, the microwave and dish washer. This saves you the time and space that could be expended in changing the stored food to another container say when you need to reheat the contained food.
Glass food storage containers are easy to clean because they do not pick up fats, food flavours or their colours. Further, even if used for a long time, glass containers do not stain or change colour due to fading, scratch or such like factors.
Another advantage of a glass container is that it does not cause the stored food to stain or smell. This is because glass is non-porous therefore does not absorb the foods flavours. Essentially, glass containers do not also collect flavours of other foods contained in the other containers for instance in the case where food containers are stacked together. In any case, glass enhances the flavours and the freshness of food.
The glass type is ideal for home storage. By its delicate nature, a glass food container is susceptible to break if used if used. More so , using it to transport food will cause breakages due to the intense and sudden pressure that is occasioned in transport.
Glass containers are safe to store in hot foods as they retain the heat for a considerable time.
Further, glass is non-reactive with food colour and flavour. Therefore, it retains the original flavour and colour of the food. Furthermore, the glass type can be used in all kinds of storage that is whether I n the freezer, the refrigerator or at room temperatures.
Cons of Glass Food Storage Container
Glass containers are also heavier than the plastic type therefore not the best type for small kids. Moreover, glass containers are very delicate. In a busy kitchen like a commercial kitchen, breakages are likely to be common because a simple drop either causes the container to crack or break completely. You may find yourself spending large amounts of money in their replacements.
Furthermore, glass storage containers are expensive thus not easily affordable.
Pros of Plastic Food Storage Container
Plastic food containers are ideally light therefore ideal to carry around. They are the ideal choice for someone who carries food each day to the office, at school and even to the gym. In this regard, they can are light enough to be carried by the little school going children,
Another advantage of plastic containers is that they are easily stackable. Stacking involves the placing of containers on top of each other. This method of storing food saves on counter space in the case of a commercial kitchen. Stacking containers together will also save on the limited refrigerator space. This also eradicates the need for large space, if you have some little kitchen space, you can comfortably store your food.
Moreover, the containers are highly durable because they do not break even if dropped from a high height. Plastic food containers are a perfect accessory to store dry foods such as cereals and sell take out foods.
Plastic food containers also promote the principle of sustainability. If used for long, plastic can be recycled and used once again. Plastic containers are relatively cheaper when compared to other container types such as glass. Coupled by the fact that, they are durable, plastic containers will give you the real value for you money.
Cons of Plastic Food Storage Container
One disadvantage of plastic food container is that it easily breaks when subjected to high temperatures. For instance, you are likely to notice them wrinkle after continuous use in the microwave. In fact, it is advised that you should not microwave food using plastic food containers. Ideally plastic food containers are not designed to withstand high temperatures.
To this effect, certain food plastics are designed for only one-time use.
Further, plastic food containers cannot be used to preserve hot foods. When exposed to hot temperatures, plastic containers leach 55% faster than usual. Moreover, when plastic is heated, the some plastic chemicals might migrate and cause contamination of your food.
Moreover, hot foods lose heat within no time. More so, as the hot food cools, it causes formation of vapour. This vapour in turn drops on the food making it wet unnecessarily.
Further, plastic is reactive with food colours and flavours and thus is likely to alter the original taste of the food. Foods with strong flavours such as curry and tomato sauce leave flavours on containers making it very hard to wash off
Plastic food storage containers are also hard to clean. Fats and certain flavour are notorious on attaching themselves on the plastic. If not well cleaned this harbours bacteria that may contaminate the food thus creates the risk of food poisoning.
Further, although the plastic industry has advanced to remove certain chemicals in their products, some traces of these chemicals are still evident in plastic. Some of the common chemicals that may be in your plastic container are the Phthalates and Antibacterials.
How to care and maintain
If you wish to have your food storage stay for long, you need to take good care of the. The first rule of care and maintenance is to always ensure to wash the container thoroughly after use. Most containers contain a leaflet explaining how that particular piece should be used. In this case, ensure to follow the procedure provided evert time you wash the container. Some containers however are not packed specific instruction on their cleaning. In the latter case, washing via a dishwasher may not be ideal. Instead, wash the container thoroughly by had using some warm water and soap.
In addition, it is noteworthy that not all food storage containers are safe when used for reheating food. Plastic food storage containers must in this regard not be microwaved or used to store hot food. Glass containers are generally safe for use in the microwave. Certain glass containers can however only certain level of temperatures. Always ensure to read usage containers that are contained in the purchase pack to know the maximum temperature the container can withstand.
When handling glass containers you need to exercise caution as the pieces are very delicate. Dropping them will undoubtedly break them. Care also needs to be exercised in their cleaning. Glass containers are notorious in slipping away from the fingers when being used especially when you apply the soap. If the container is just coming out of the freezer, ensure to leave it at room temperature for some minutes probably 10 minutes. This is because going from one temperature extreme to another increases the risk of glass breakage.
It is noteworthy that not all plastic or glass containers are to be used for storing food. For instance, you will find for that people store foods using containers that are used for take- out foods in fast food joints and restaurants. Such containers are designed for one time use and thus may not be reused. When reused, they do not keep food fresh as it ought to be.
Finally, in order to achieve the maximum shelf life of any food, once you pack the food in the food storage containers, ensure to store them at the right temperatures and conditions. Generally, the room must be cool, well ventilated. The storage life of a food is cut substantially any time the food is exposed to high temperatures. Ventilation helps to circulate air in the room thus achieving optimal temperatures. On the other hand, cool temperatures reduce the degradation of enzymes and most importantly cool temperatures inhibit the development of decay producing organisms. With regard to storage of fruits, cool temperatures work to prevent the prevention of enzylene, an enzyme that causes natural ripening of fruits.
More so, the food containers must not be exposed to direct sunlight. Sunlight promotes oxidation which is the reaction that occurs when oxygen comes into contact with foods that contain fats and pigments. When these foods oxidize, they lose their nutritional quantities. Particularly oxidization of fats causes certain odours. When pigments such as red meat oxidize, they lose their original collars. Red meat in this case will turn to grey. A point to remember is that the lower the oxygen levers, the higher the efficiency of food storage.
If storing dry foods, you must ensure to place the storage containers some few inches from the floor. Placing the containers on the floor will cause condensation. Condensation is caused by the difference in the temperatures between the temperatures of the contact surface.
Finally, ensure to check that the food storage container has the NSF mark. NSF stands for National Sanitation Foundation. Established in 1944, the Foundation role is to ensure that any product in the food industry is certified as being safe for use by humans.