Food Storage Container Buying Guide
What is Food Storage Container?
There is a large variety of shapes, sizes, and types of food storage containers on the market to choose from. Seeing all these choices may be overwhelming to some, especially if they are not sure which ones would serve their needs the best. We have outlined the different types below and provided some information about each of them.
Types of Food Storage Containers
- Food Storage Boxes – These containers are designed to hold larger amounts of food. They have a large capacity and are stackable to maximize storage. Food storage boxes are good for transferring food into from the original packaging. These types of food storage boxes often have sliding lids available so they can be operated with one hand.
- Food Storage Containers – These smaller sizes are great for storing leftovers and for doing prep or marinating tasks. If you are looking for containers that are easier to stir and mix in, the round shapes will be better. If storage space is the prime objective you will want to look for square containers.
Shapes and Sizes
There is a large variety of sizes available in food storage containers. There are also three basic shapes: round, square and rectangle. There are benefits and limitations to each of the shapes. Many households get food storage containers in all shapes to cover all of the needs that they provide.
- Round – Round storage containers are great for storing sauces and other things that will need to be stirred up before eating again. The round shape is much easier to stir and mix things in.
- Square – Square containers maximize your storage space and allow things to be stacked on top of each other neatly which means you’ll have an organized refrigerator.
- Rectangle – There is not much difference between square and rectangle except for the fact that rectangle containers are longer. They are still very good for maximizing storage space and are stackable as well.
Now that you have chosen the shape or shapes you want to get, let’s take a look at sizes that are typically available. They come in a variety of sizes ranging from 2 cups all the up to 22 quarts and anything in between.
The sizes that you will need will be determined by what you will be using them for. You can keep sauces, soups, pickles, jams, dry ingredients, fresh produce and more.
There are different special features that food storage containers can have. Some are unique to certain brands only, others are not. We’ve listed these special features below.
- Lids – Lids are important for many reasons and are very convenient to prevent spills and foods from spoiling. There are many different kinds of lids that you may encounter that go with food storage containers.
- Cambro Seal Cover Lids – This type of lid is tight fitting and spill resistant. They have inner and outer seals that allow the containers to be tipped all the way over without having any spills or leaks.
- Snap-On Lids – There are also snap-on lids that are in general, airtight and spill resistant but they don’t offer the same turn over/no leaks ability that the Cambro Seal containers do. Some lids are color coded with each size having its own color which makes for quick identification.
- Graduations and Measurements – Many food storage bowls have graduations or measurements that are printed on the outside or etched onto the side to help cooks keep track of how much liquid, ingredients they are putting into the containers. This also allows you to see how much you have left of something without having to measure it out.
- Stackability – Food storage containers should be able to be stacked to maximize the space you have to work with. When the containers are not filled with food they can usually be nested inside each other which maximizes your storage space. Once filled, they can still stack on each other easily.
Cleaning Food Storage Containers
There are several things you can do to keep your food storage containers clean and looking good as new.
Getting rid of odors – Odors are a common problem with plastic food storage containers. Dissolving 4 tablespoons of baking soda in a quart of warm water and then immersing the container in the solution for 30 minutes will help banish these odors. If the container isn’t small enough to immerse, pour the solution into the container and put the lid on. Rinse thoroughly and dry completely before putting away. If it still has odors, crumple up newspaper and put it inside and then put the lid on. Remove the newspaper after a day or two and wash the container in hot, soapy water, rinse and dry.
Getting rid of stains – If you need to remove stains from your plastic food storage containers you can do that by mixing a solution of 1 tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach per cup of warm water. Make enough so when you pour it into the container it will cover the discolored portion completely. If the lid is stained as well, place it flat on the bottom of your sink and pour the bleach mixture on that too. Soak the container and lid for 30 minutes until clean. Wash thoroughly and then rinse.
Preventing stains – To reduce the chances of staining your plastic food storage containers, spritz the container and lid with nonstick cooking spray before you put any tomato based foods into them. You will also want to check and make sure that the food storage containers are microwave-safe. If they are not and they are microwaved, the plastic can break down and they are more likely to stain and retain odors.
Food storage containers are invaluable for storing food, preparing food and transporting food as well. With so many different types, materials and sizes available you will be able to find what you need for your own kitchen‘s needs fairly easily. The hardest part of choosing may be deciding whether you want round or square or deciding how many you want.
The information in this buyer’s guide is designed to provide you with the knowledge you need to sort through all of the choices so you can purchase the sizes, shapes, and sets you need for your own cooking and food prep needs.
With the right information you will have no problem choosing one or more sets of food storage containers and can feel confident about your choices. If you have not had good quality food storage containers in your kitchen before, you will truly enjoy the ease and convenience that they provide and will want to get more.
There are so many different uses for food storage containers that you will wish you had gotten them sooner and will likely buy many more sets.