Keep it fresh!
I know it’s mundane, but when I find a good-looking and efficient food storage container, I’m actually thrilled. Your pantry probably looks like mine – multiple plastic storage bins, all mismatched, alongside plastic zip lock baggies, the original bags the food came in, rolled up, and the original boxes the food came in, scrunched. They do their job, but the pantry looks a fright. Here are some attractive and effective airtight food storage canisters.
The Prepworks ProKeeper is great for storing baking ingredients. Each container has a special ingredient-centric feature – a leveler for measuring flour, a dusting wand for powdered sugar, a terra cotta disk to keep brown sugar moist, and more.
The brown sugar keeper has airtight storage and a removable terra cotta disk to keep sugar from drying out. It is $12.99.
The flour keeper holds 4 quarts and has a silicone seal for airtight storage. There is a leveling bar across the bin for easy measuring. $18.00.
This three-piece set by OXO includes one 2.5 qt. container, one 1.5 qt. container and one .5 qt. container. The top provides an airtight seal and one push of the top button will seal the containers, another push will open it. The top buttons are large enough to also serve as handles to remove the lids. $49.95. The containers are also sold separately.
Another OXO product, Greensaver Produce Keeper, is great for fruits and vegetables. It has a carbon filter that absorbs ethylene gas and keeps produce fresher longer. It has an elevated basket that increases airflow which prevents rotting. The medium size has a 4.3 qt. capacity and is $19.99. It comes in small, medium and large.
The Emsa Clip & Close storage containers have the reputation for being the most effective. They stay airtight for up to two weeks, can go from the freezer to the microwave and are dishwasher safe. They are great for keeping items like chips from getting soggy or preventing foods with sauces from leaking or dripping. They come in many sizes and they nest for easy storage. A 18.6 oz. rectangular container is $9.90.
These Prepara Evak glass food storage containers come in small, medium and large sizes. Push down on the handle to remove air and seal, pull up on the handle to open. The glass container is dishwasher safe, the lid is not and must be hand-washed. They are best for dry-storage items like flour, pasta or coffee. The large size is $24.99.
The Rubbermaid Lock-Its food storage canisters get high marks. Each one has four locking tabs to create an extra tight lid seal. They are microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe. They come in many sizes and colors. This 12 piece set in red has 6 different sized canister each with a lid. $19.11.
Tips for storing foods:
- Use the smallest containers possible to minimize the amount of air which causes foods to spoil or become stale.
- Keep your fridge at 37°F and your freezer at 0°F or lower.
- Refrigerate perishable foods within two hours. Onions, bananas, tomatoes and potatoes lose flavor if stored in the refrigerator.
- Temperatures vary within your fridge. The door is the warmest area so don’t store anything that can spoil, like milk.
- Store natural products with oil that separates, like nut butters, upside down so the oil will move through the jar.
- Wrap cheeses in porous cheese paper or parchment paper.
The USDA’s Food Keeper app gives storage advice for more than 400 food and beverage items. Find specific storage timelines for all products.
A sampling of food storage:
Ground coffee – 3 – 5 weeks
Cereal – 2 – 3 months
Nuts – 2 – 9 months
White flour – 6 – 8 months
Tea bags – 6 – 12 months (this was a shocker)
Dried pasta – 12 months
Ground Spices – 2 – 3 years