Friday, September 11, 2015

Food Storage

Someone asked about safe food storage containers and cookware in a group I'm in, so it inspired me to show you what I use regularly.

canning jars, vacuum canisters & snaptop glass storage containers

Part 1: Storage Containers

The storage container I use most often is the lowly canning jar. You can buy a case of them at almost any grocery store or Target, Walmart, etc. They come in a variety of sizes, ranging from tiny 2 oz jars all the way up to 2 quarts.

I use plastic reusable lids for them since I'm not using them for canning, and the regular lids and bands rust over time. You can get some here:Reusable Lids. There are also flip top lids available for pouring liquids. 

I also use glass storage containers with plastic snap lids. They are available at Costco, Target and similar stores. While all of my glass containers have lids, not all of them have lids that truly seal. Some of my glass dishes are suitable for the oven, which is a big plus.

I have a vacuum sealer that I use to extend the shelf life of many items. There are plastic vacuum bags which work great for freezing, flours, and things you don't open often. Meat will keep longer without freezer burn, if vacuum sealed in the bags. There are canisters of various sizes for things like rice, flours, beans, etc.

If I make a big batch of soup or vegan chili I freeze it in a vacuum bag that is clipped shut with a binder clip. Once it is frozen solid I seal it. I still cook meat for my husband, and one of his favorite dishes is beef stew. I brown stew meat and seal it in vacuum bags and then chop stew veggies and sealed them. I store a bag of meat and a bag of veggies together in a zipper bag in the freezer. Then when I want to make beef stew for him, I simply empty the bags into the crock pot with some liquid and spices and voila! I can prep several batches of stew at once and not have to deal with browning meat again for months.

I've bought nuts in bulk and vacuum sealed them in bags and stored them in the freezer. I've also used the bags for freezing firm fruits and vegetables. I freeze individual servings for hubby's dinners when I will be away. All he has to do is heat them up. (never microwave in plastic, btw)

The bottom line is that I use mostly glass for food storage. The plastic vacuum bags that I use are reused until they become too small to be useful, and I never reheat food in them. 

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