5 Ways to Store Food Without Plastic
About 8 years ago I stopped using all disposables in the kitchen - Ziploc plastic bags and plastic wrap included, and I’ve never looked back. Here are a few reasons I love plastic-free food storage:
- It’s easy! Storing food without plastic is simple and straight forward. Most of the time all you need is a jar.
- Produce lasts longer. Contrary to popular belief, produce needs to breath. When fruits and veggies are stored in a plastic bag, they spoil faster.
- It saves money and time. Never again do I need to run to the store to replace items because I’m not buying them in the first place.
- It keeps toxins away from food. Some plastics leach chemicals into food, depending on how you use them. Why take the risk?
- It doesn’t make trash. Most plastic used for food storage cannot be recycled because it’s contaminated by food particles and too flimsy to be processed. Also, because most plastic isn’t recycled anyway, so all of this single-use plastic most likely ends up in the trash.
Here are 5 of my favorite methods to store food plastic-free:
- Use glass containers of all shapes and sizes to store leftovers. Anything from dinner leftovers, a block of cheese and a half apple can be securely stored in a glass jar. I prefer jars with a wide mouth and glass canisters with the lid attached (so the lid is always easy to find.) It doesn’t matter if your jars match - old pickle or pasta sauce jars are perfect for storing food.
- Wrap leafy greens and fresh herbs in a damp tea towel. Leafy greens and herbs like to be wrapped in something that lets them breathe, and they will last longer and stay crispier this way. Just get a cotton tea towel a little wet, wring it out if necessary, and wrap up the herbs and veggies. No more buying herbs for one recipe, then watching them rot in the fridge before you get a chance to use them again!
- Cover bowls with plates. When I need to cover some leftovers until the next day, I usually put the leftovers into a bowl and stick a plate on top. This is my go-to! I also have a few large glass stackable containers for times when I have a lot of leftovers.
- Cover plates with with beeswax wraps. If I need to cover a plate or a casserole dish, I’ll grab a beeswax wrap instead of plastic wrap or aluminum foil. One beeswax wrap can last up to a year. You cover the item, press down, and the wrap stays firmly in place.
- Reusable stainless steel containers and silicone bags for on-the-go. Sometimes, a snack or meal on-the-go is a necessity, in which case a stainless steel box or a reusable silicone bag comes in handy. I also have some old Tupperwares which I continue to use for snacks and picnics just because I have them already.
I really recommend using up what you have before buying new, or givING things you no longer want to a friend who will buy it anyways. When you do buy new reusable items, go for non-plastic and quality items, as they will last for much longer than their plastic counterparts!
What about freezing food?
Freeze food in glass. Freezing food in glass is absolutely possible and your jars will never break if you do it correctly:
- Make sure food is completely cool or room temp before freezing;
- Only fill jars 2/3 to 3/4 to top, especially if freezing liquids; and
- Keep jars with liquid upright until frozen. Berries, veggies and other non-liquids can be filled closer to the top. It’s all about making sure the food has room to expand in the container when thawing.
Silicone bags also work great for freezing.
If you want to go even further, you can find my full list of zero waste kitchen swaps here.