Plastic containers and lunch boxes are convenient for keeping leftovers in the fridge or freezer. But they can stain easily and, over time, retain strong smells that can taint your food.
They can also take up a lot of space - not helpful when you’re trying to make the most of your leftover food.
Here are some alternative ideas for storing leftovers in the fridge and freezer, and for safely storing grains, pulses and cereals.
Sturdy and non-toxic, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without these versatile beauties, good for much more than pickles and preserves.
Use to keep leftover soup, stock, chopped veg, grains - anything, really - in the fridge. Or keep extra smoothie mix. The jars are so pretty, you can serve as it is.
Larger mason jars are great for keeping dried grains, pasta, pulses and cereal too.
Stainless steel latch containers
Non-breakable, watertight and airtight, these are great for keeping large quantities of soup, stew or casserole in your fridge or freezer.
Aluminium trays with lids
These usually cheap, disposable baking trays are great if you’re bulk cooking and want to gift food to friends or family, or if you’re cooking in advance for a party.
You can freeze in the tray and throw the dishes away afterwards.
Snap lock glass dishes
These keep well in the freezer and should last for years. Best of all, they tend to be ovenproof so you don’t need to transfer to another dish to reheat.
Leave the lids off until the food is completely frozen, then gently seal to minimise the risk of breakage.
Natural hessian bags are an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic when it comes to storing dry foods like grains and bread.
A number of cloth sandwich bags are available too, so you don’t have to keep using plastic or lug around a bulky box.
Don’t want to spend money on a whole range of new containers? Buy silicon suction lids in different sizes to turn everyday bowls and dishes into airtight storage solutions.
Use to wrap solid cuts of meat or fish, and bread. The paper will protect food from the frost.
Look for collapsible containers that take up little space in your cupboards when not in use. Easy to stack in the fridge, too.
Not just for that split bag of peas and uneaten bread buns, zip-top bags are great for freezing liquids like soups and casseroles without taking up too much space.
Lay flat on a tray so they freeze flat then, once solid, you can stack vertically like books to squeeze more in.
A pricier option, but a great investment if you often freeze food. By sucking out all the excess air, it reduces the risk of frost and freezer burn and means your food keeps for longer.
Cooking a big lasagne or bake? Line your baking tray with foil before putting in the oven. Then, when it’s cooled, you can simply lift it out, wrap with another layer of foil and freeze in a bag.
Saves freezer space - and makes your washing up easier too.
Main image via Shutterstock: Madlen
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