Friday, March 09, 2007

Storing leftovers

The babies are getting better at opening drawers and unloading the contents on to the floor. That means that all the things stored down low are now stacked on top of the things that are already stored up high. It's a mess.

The lowest drawer contained the plastic food storage containers. Even before the babies, this drawer was my nemesis - hard to keep organized, difficult to put things away, hard to get out what you need, and impossible to find a lid & container that match.

Now, those items are stored on a shelf that really didn't have the room to spare. (The picture on the right is the result of a dedicated organizing effort on that shelf; many of the items are either holding food in the fridge, or scattered around the house.) Frustrated by the chaos I can't control, I'm looking for something better.

Today I use mason jars for liquids (kombucha, milk, yogurt, kefir, and low-viscosity soups), as well as for fermentation, but they don't work well for, say, cheese. They're also a bit heavy and fragile for carrying in a backpack to a festival or something, and of course, they don't stack.

nesting. Nesting keeps things compact. You can often buy sets of plastic food storage containers that nest, but they only nest in one way. I want a set where each item nests in another of the same size & shape.

stacking lids. I need lids that have a sensible home, too. They should stack.

only a few sizes. Instead of a set of 20 items, each one of them different, I want only two or three sizes/shapes. This way it's easy to find a lid & a container that match, and I don't have to think very hard to select a container for the job. If I had two sizes, I'm guessing they'd need to be about one cup and one quart.

transparent. I want to be able to see what's inside without opening the lid.

durable with secure lid. Putting the container in my backpack shouldn't mean that everything else gets a taste of the contents. On a related note, removing the lid shouldn't be so hard that the contents go flying.

no sharp edges. I'm surprised I even have to write this, but my "disposable" Glad containers have rough edges, as a consequence of being made out of minimal materials.

glass or ceramic. I find that hand-washing plastic is hard - it never really feels clean. I am concerned about the chemical reactions between acidic foods and plastics, as well as the leeching of plastic compounds. I don't own a microwave, but I've heard concerns that microwaving in plastic can be dangerous, too.

Looking at my list, I don't think it's possible to find one item that can meet all of these needs. Right now, the best plan I can think of is a composite one:

  • Mason jars continue to do what they're doing today.

  • Keep a few of the plastic Tupperware-style containers for the backpack, in various sizes.

  • A set of glass 1c and 1qt containers with good lids, similar to:

    That's the best that I can come up with. What do you recommend?

1 comment:

Blue Lass said...

I have no immediate recommendations, I'm afraid, but I did want to concur about the difficulty in washing plastic. And once you've had olives in it, forget it.

Thanks for the tip on THE YOGA OF EATING -- I just finished it and will pass it along to my naturopath. She is all about the butterfat.

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