Jars of properly stored foods

Food Storage: Keep Your Food Fresh

Especially during the holidays, storing food and leftovers properly becomes a prominent issue. Depending on the types of containers you use, you can make your food last longer than you expected. With container conglomerates popping up, such as The Container Store, it can be difficult to choose what kind of containers to buy and what to store, so take a look at these frequently asked questions to decide what kind of food storage is best for you.

What types of food containers are best?

With food containers, you generally get what you pay for. The more expensive, name brand ones are going to be of higher quality, so they will keep your food fresh for longer periods of time. Rubbermaid, Snapware, and Tupperware are all great brands that employ the latest technology for keeping out air and maintaining your food’s freshness.

Are there certain kinds/materials that I should avoid?

First and foremost, avoid all plastic that does not say “BPA free.” BPA, or Bisphenol A, is a synthetic compound that has been shown to mimic hormonal activity and can cause health issues, especially for infants and young children. If you are going to be storing food for extended periods of time in the freezer, it is probably best to avoid plastic altogether since it contains other potentially harmful chemicals that may leach into your food over time. Glass and stainless steel are great alternatives.

How many different kinds of containers should I buy for food storage?

It’s best to keep around at least two different kinds, durable plastic and glass. Plastic is best for short-term storing, such as keeping leftovers in the refrigerator, but be careful; some plastic containers are not microwave-safe. Glass containers are the best versatile containers since they are microwave-safe and can be used for longer periods of time.  

Do I only need to store certain food items instead of all food items?

You’d be surprised at which food items you can safely store, even bread and eggs! These will actually stay good in your freezer for a matter of months if you keep them in airtight containers. Rice and other grains will keep for years in your pantry as long as you make sure no bugs or dust find their way into your containers.

Should I consider different ones for pantry, refrigerator, and freezer storage?

Food in your pantry or refrigerator can easily be stored using a variety of storage containers, including plastic, glass, steel, or even Ziploc bags. Freezer storage, on the other hand, should be limited to stainless steel and possibly glass. You can store food in plastic in the freezer for short periods of time, but try to avoid this as much as possible to prevent exposing your food to chemicals.

Last Updated: January 12, 2015