Friday, August 29, 2008

Making a Meal Last - Storage Solutions for Leftovers

Air is the enemy of food. Being able to store your leftovers in an air tight way will allow you to store them safely until you want to eat them. There are a LOT of options out there. Getting started might be expensive if you are starting with nothing, but it doesn't have to be. Let's go over some of the options there are nowadays.
  • Disposable Options
    • Plastic Bags
    • Plastic Wrap/Tin Foil
  • Reusable Options
    • Containers like rubber maid or Tupperware
    • Containers like ziplock or gladware
    • Containers from products you already buy
The disposable options that I listed are going to give you a smaller start-up cost, but in the long run, you might be spending more money. Personally, I reuse plastic bags, plastic wrap, and tin foil whenever I can. Rinsing a plastic bag and letting it dry out is not that difficult and it saves the bag from the landfill for at least a few more uses.

The reusable options will have more of an up-front cost, but they also have the added benefit of, well, being reusable. There are many sizes and shapes available. However, they will take up some space in your kitchen. Using containers from products you already buy - margarine tubs, yogurt containers, and anything resealable - does not come with any additional cost, however, I would not advise freezing or reheating in these containers as many are not meant for extra use.

Personally, I use all of the above options. I have slowly amassed quite a collection of containers from shopping sales an using coupons. I have also bought Tupperware at yard sales and thrift stores.

Containers can be used for:
  • portions of dinner from the night before
  • loose cereal, beans, or rice when the bag breaks

Plastic bags can be used for:
  • portions of pretzels, chips, or cut fruit or veggies in a packed lunch
  • keeping homemade cookies from getting stale
  • keeping flour and sugar in to keep the bugs out
Plastic Wrap and Tin foil can be used for:
  • wrapping meat in meal-sized portions to be frozen
  • wrapping uneaten block cheese
  • wrapping anything that might be an unusual size/shape
  • covering a plate of food to bring to a relative or friend

What are your favorite food storage solutions? Please share them in the comments section!

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