So this is a big one. Plastic storage is used extensively in the kitchen & the place where it really shouldn’t for health reasons. Here are some simple storage tips that you can start to put into practice to lessen your plastic storage in the kitchen.
First rule KEEP IT SIMPLE!
This is the best piece of advice I can offer across the board. Think about how your grandparents stored items without all of these extra gadgets & wraps & contraptions we have on offer today. Sure some of these gadgets are handy but do we REALLY need them? Think about it next time you eye up that fancy garlic skin remover or avocado do-da. I recently had a wonderful conversation with my Grandma on my trip home to NZ, what a treasure that was. I will share those little treasures in a post soon. Going Plastic free doesn’t have to be a spendy exercise either, reusing is often the key.
Here is a list of my top items I recommend for storage…….
Pudding or cereal bowls
First up though, get rid of those plastic lightweight takeaway containers really quick!!! Storing & heating food in them releases all sorts of nasties that are very bad for your health. Get rid of them & avoid purchasing or using them ever again! They contain the nastiest of chemicals & I’m certain you would have heard about BPA’s before now & the damage they do not only to the environment but to your health.
GLASS JARS FOR PANTRY ITEMS
Start saving all of your glass jars that pre-packaged food comes in; pasta sauce jars & the like. These make the best storage jars for your dried bulk foods & the majority of my jars are ones that I bought something else in. This way you reduce, reuse & save money!
Check out your local op shops as people often drop their unused glass jars in or keep an eye on your local buy, swap sell pages for them. I recently came across a lovely lady who was getting rid of her grandfather’s glass stash he had accumulated over several years, quite the treasure trove!
GLASS CONTAINERS FOR FRIDGE BITS
Begin to replace your plastic containers with glass as they end their life. There are some great alternatives out there at reasonable prices. Pyrex do glass containers with glass lids but they can be spendy & hard to come so start with glass bottoms & plastic tops. Better than the full plastic as longs as you remove the plastic lid when heating food. Also keep your peepers open for the vintage, cheese & butter dishes with lids in op shops, real treasure there so snap them up! These are ideal for meal leftovers, nuts, flours etc. for fridge storage as well.
PRESERVING JARS for FREEZING FOOD
These are not only great for storing dried bulk food but PERFECT for freezing food. The lids allow for the expansion that occurs with freezing so they are ideal. I had read a few articles about freezing in glass so i thought i would give it a try. I already had some preserving jars tucked in the back of my cupboard so I experimented with soup. Surely the best option to clean up if it went pear shaped right?! Anyways it was fine & now I regularly use them. I’ve also had some luck with regular jars as well. They often have that squishy seal on the inside of the lids so try them out.
So the 2 very important rules you need to follow when freezing food in glass are…….
Use preserving jars or containers that have the squishy seal around the inside of the lid
Leave enough room in the top of the jar; I can confirm that filling things to close to the top leads to tops popping off…no breakages but tops popping off. A couple of cm’s is fine from the neck of the jar.
I store vege in the reusable mesh sacks in my crisper. The mesh bag allows for air circulation but I try to buy only what I need for the week to avoid waste & food spoilage. What I love is I can shop with them & store in them, multipurpose means less “stuff”.
Buy Local. If you’re buying market fresh veg, chances are they are freshly picked & local so will last a lot longer. Supermarket veg can kept in cool stores & travel for miles to get to your plate. Bonus here to is that you will be able to buy your goodies loose & free from plastic.
These completely replace the need for cling wrap. I stopped using this years ago when I watched it melt over my hot food & thought “that can’t be good” & it’s not, super nasty chemical cocktail there.
So these little gems are made with wax from our lovely bee buddies bees are the perfect substitute. There are a few out on the market you can purchase & I’ve made a few batches of them myself. These are great for covering bowls of food, wrapping cut veges, cheese & butter, sammies & fruit; if you can wrap it use them! As you can see the one in the snap above is well loved. I need to whip myself up some more but I’m working on some for the shop first!
They will also keep you avocado from going brown if you wrap it nice & snug…I had one last for 4 days & stayed tasty & fresh.
Pretty much all of us have pudding bowls or cereal bowls in the cupboard right? Well these are ideal for leftovers if you pop a side plate on top to seal it & keep food smells from getting crazy in the fridge. If you really want to get fancy pop a Bees Wax wrap over.
Good old fashioned tins. Goodness these come in many shapes & sizes & perfect keeping crackers & cakes airtight & fresh. Also super for loose leaf tea storage.
OTHER HANDY STORAGE TIPS
Leafy greens like lettuce loads better washed & wrapped in damp towels, I recall my Grandma doing this pre Tupperware. I love the mindfulness & care this process take as well. Washing & wrapping the veg in its snug little bundle & putting loads of good juju into it as you do. Makes for an excellent salad.
Store Kale & other stalky greens, washed & in a glass of water in the door of your fridge…like a nutritional bouquet!
Check out this great article on food storage from the wonderful blog “Paris to go” on how to get keep your food fresher for longer in the fridge.
Cheese & Butter
Store Cheese & butter in glass containers. I found a great vintage cheese container in the op shop for a few dollars & wrap it in my beeswax wrap first as its stores for longer without the edges getting dry.
I store my Flours in a separate draw in my freezer in either a paper bag or calico sacks, stops bugs creeping in. These are easy to whip up if you are crafty or your local bulk food store like Scoop have them for sale.
Another super suggestion is to have a chat to people from your grandparent’s generation & see what tips they have. I’d love to hear any other tips you might come across as well.
So there you have it, hopefully some helpful tips to get you started on your #Plasticfree journey that don’t have to be hard on the pocket.
Remember, it’s a process to make the change from plastic so take your time to do it in small bits & pieces. Replace things with glass as they end their life (you may want to end it sooner) & soon enough you will find your kitchen is looking a whole lot healthier!