Food storage
September 1, 2021 6:15 PM   Subscribe

We have a cabinet overflowing with random food storage containers. We would love a modular set. What's your favorite? Glass preferred but not an absolute necessity. We want long-lasting. And easy to store.
posted by bookworm4125 to Home & Garden (23 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
my favorite are the rectangular and square ones from ikea. cheap; three useful sizes (but the small and medium ones share the same lid.) lids do not seem to disintegrate over time as the rubbermaid ones do from freezer + dishwasher use.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:34 PM on September 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

posted by aniola at 6:53 PM on September 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Ditto on some large glass jars like aniola links to. Pro tip: buy a bunch at once so they match.

For smaller things, a lot of Ball jars - half pint, pint, 20 oz, quart - because they're relatively uniform, cheap, easily available, and both jars and compatible lids are easily found if they don't just appear in your house. Bonus: can also be used in the freezer.

Downside: circle packing density.
posted by troyer at 8:06 PM on September 1, 2021

Rubbermaid brilliance containers are legit. You can get a set of them with some big and some little, they aren’t too expensive as glass containers go, but sometimes they go on sale.
posted by Mizu at 8:18 PM on September 1, 2021 [5 favorites]

Some bale jars are squared off. I prefer them to avoid aforementioned circle packing density.

Anchor hocking makes these square buddies though. They are what I'm slowly replacing larger bale jars with, because they're more square-er and fit my particular shelves very well.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:18 PM on September 1, 2021

+1 to canning jars. Our local goodwill sells them for 20 cents each. There’s no more economical food storage unit out there. Bonus: you can also use them to preserve food, y’know - canning?
posted by dbmcd at 8:30 PM on September 1, 2021

I'm a fan of Snapware; they come in both glass and plastic. I use the glass set mostly at home and the plastic ones for lunches, picnics, or when taking food to gatherings. If you buy them at Costco, they're about $5 bucks cheaper in the store.

They also have a great warranty. The company will replace lids or any piece that cracks or stops functioning properly, even after a few years.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 8:31 PM on September 1, 2021 [6 favorites]

I am planning on migrating all my baking storage to Rubbermaid Brilliance, my cousin has them and loves them. I have OXO Pop containers and I hate them (the only thing of theirs that I don't like!). They are really inefficient (the lids take up so much space) and they don't stack nicely.

We use glass Snapware for storing leftovers and such, they're great as LuckySeven~ mentioned.
posted by radioamy at 8:36 PM on September 1, 2021

We have Lock and Lock containers that are steadily outlasting other makes, and they’re pre-2006 some of them. Nothing like as pretty as jars, but square enough.
posted by clew at 8:39 PM on September 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Snapware is definitely my favorite, I use it every day and it holds up well (glass and plastic).
posted by emjaybee at 9:08 PM on September 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

I’ve been using a combination of the round and rectangular Pyrex glass storage containers for almost all my dry food storage, eating off of, leftover storage, and reheating to eat out of for a while now. I don’t think I’ve eaten out of a bowl that wasn’t one of those in over a year. They stack as long as you nest smaller ones in larger, and are easily replaceable as single pieces or a set. Anchor makes these as well, and they’re close enough that the lids are interchangeable, although I find the finish on the Pyrex ones is a little nicer, the Anchors more often have rough edges.

Mason jars for liquids or anything that needs a more secure seal, as well as things like dry rice or lentils.
posted by Jawn at 9:23 PM on September 1, 2021 [4 favorites]

Tattler lids and seals are indefinitely reusable for mason jars.
posted by aniola at 9:32 PM on September 1, 2021

Now that you mention it, our brilliance containers are years old and still do look like new. I never actually noticed it till now. Huh.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:45 PM on September 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

They are not glass, but Tupperware has a reputation for a reason - when we were in the Australian Army the only way removalists would agree to pack and move dry goods (which could be in transit for weeks) was if they were in Tupperware branded storage. I have some that is coming up on 15 years old and is still very good.

However, if you want to go with glass, I also have a lot of pyrex - mainly for storing leftovers or for cooking directly in, and I agree with all Jawn had to say.

Jars are pretty, but if you have limited space square/rectangular containers are much more space efficient.
posted by Megami at 2:47 AM on September 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Snapwear glass and plastic versions are 90% of my storage for food leftovers or premades. The lids fit either. I have glass locking lids containers from IKEA and Ball jars for things that stay on the counter (flour/protein powder) and for fridge things like pickles I make and then plastic tall restaurant soup containers (from Amazon) for freezing broth. Unfortunately I have never found a set of one size fits all for myself but this works for me.
posted by ReiFlinx at 5:00 AM on September 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

+1 to square/rectangular over round for best use of space.

I also like snapware (glass and plastic), and I had several lock & lock containers (plastic) that I loved for years but eventually changed out simply because most of them were round. I still have and use a couple of the rectangular ones that are at least 15 years old.

Those Anchor Hocking jars are beautiful, and we bought a set that we used for several months or maybe a couple of years, until we found bugs in the contents several times. It could have been that they came in with the contents, but it happened in enough different jars that we suspected they were not airtight and switched back to snapware.
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 5:35 AM on September 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

nthing snapware. I also use a mixed collection of plastic and glass - pyrex for home, plastic for lunches and such to save weight. Sometimes I use the pyrex bottoms as cereal bowls as well, hah.
posted by mosst at 6:04 AM on September 2, 2021

If you like the idea of canning jars but don't want the expense - start saving any glass jars from stuff you buy at the grocery store. Rinse them out, dunk them in a sinkful of hot soapy water to soak the labels off, give 'em a clean and reuse them. About 30% of my own pantry storage system is recycled jars from the Wegmans' pasta sauce my roommate eats.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:27 AM on September 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

Jars are for people with cellars. Maybe walk-in pantries.

I went with a solution you probably don't want, but I could NOT take the non-nesting multi-lid solution anymore. I ultimately ended up with deli containers in 8, 16, and 32oz sizes, and to preserve longevity we do two things: we do not use them in the microwave longer than it takes to defrost enough to decant (this is even easier if you oil the inside before putting in the stuff you're going to freeze) and I put those standing fatigue mats in front of the fridge to keep dropped containers from shattering, which they definitely will with frozen stuff in them.

One step up from those, and sturdy enough to legitimately last for years even with microwaving and dropping, are the Ziploc Twist-n-lock round screw-top containers, in pint ("small round", 2C, 16oz) and quart ("medium round", 4C, 32oz). Those use the same lid, or at least used to; I just bought some "mini"/"extra small" 4oz by accident and they are flimsier and have a smaller lid - I'd use them for yogurt or lunchbox stuff but I wouldn't freeze or microwave them much, and they don't have the same lid so honestly I do not want them at all and will put them in our camping supply box.

Target makes a store version of the Ziploc containers; they are not as good and the lids do not quite tightly seal on the Ziploc ones, so mix-and-match is bad.

I only went with deli containers over the slightly higher price point of a reasonable number of Ziplocs because I meal-prep and have started getting more serious about portioning. I have a couple dozen deli containers in the freezer right now, and still have a couple dozen on ONE SINGLE LAZY SUSAN on one cabinet shelf, plus an extra stack of lids. I use them a lot as prep bowls when cooking, and I "size down" refrigerator containers of stuff as it is used up, which is only really feasible if you have a lot of containers.

Ultimately round containers, unlike the black take-out/meal-prep boxes I did use for several years and mostly liked, are much more space efficient on the top rack of the dishwasher. This was my pain point with square Snapware/Lock And Lock containers too, along with the lid management, plus the weight made it difficult for me to take down a stack of them from the cabinet to remove one and put the rest back, which was generally necessary thanks to our weird short cabinet shelving.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:31 AM on September 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Rubbermaid Brilliance are not glass. (That was important to me, because I was looking for something I would feel okay microwaving in, as I was starting to get a bit freaked out about all the plastic I must have consumed over the years.)

I bought this set on Amazon and love them. The lids don't really nest, but the containers nest pretty well (there's a review photo of them nesting). I agree that the IKEA glass containers are really great too. They nest about the same way.
posted by nosila at 10:46 AM on September 2, 2021

Rubbermaid Brilliance are not glass

It looks like they have 2 or 3 types, and 1 of those is glass?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:57 AM on September 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Nthing brilliance and yes, they do also come in glass. We have the plastic and we have all sizes that we were able to find. Just love them.
posted by getawaysticks at 7:39 PM on September 2, 2021

One more voice for Snapware glasslock for leftovers. I got mine at Costco, and use them constantly. I've even used the warrenty to replace a lid that a flap broke off of, and some bases that chipped. Low hassle, and much appreciated.

For the freezer, I use a mix of deli containers (especially for soup like things), because they're so interchangable and use the same lids, and vaccum seal bags for things I want to make sure don't freezer burn.
posted by lorimt at 9:16 AM on September 4, 2021

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