What Do You Look For in a Food Storage Container?

What Do You Look For in a Food Storage Container?

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Help us out with a simple poll showing what’s most important when buying food storage containers

We need your help deciding the most important aspect of a food storage container.

Whether it’s packing up leftovers or toting lunch to work, food storage containers are an important tool in your kitchen. Is it price? Easy organizing? A leak-proof lid?

We’ll be researching and testing all of these variables (and more!) in The Daily Meal’s test kitchen, but first we want to know what’s important to our readers.

So what’s the most important thing you look for in food storage containers? Let us know in this quick poll!

Click here to take a quick poll on the qualities you look for in food storage containers.

Here are the brands we're testing: Aladdin, Anchor, Ball, Bentgo, Bormioli Rocco, Collapse It, Cook Pro, Crate & Barrel, Glad, Joseph Joseph, Lifefactory, OXO, Prepworks, Rubbermaid, Snapware, Thermos, Up & Up, Weck, and Ziploc.

Feel free to follow up with any qualities we missed or your favorite brands and varieties of food storage containers in the comment section of this story.

We’ll reveal the results of our testing on March 10 with a complete ranking of different varieties and brands of the all-important food storage container.

The 15 Best Meal Prep Containers for Keeping Food Fresh

Meal prepping is hard, especially for beginners. One of the best places to start is with the right containers. You don't want anything that's going to leak all over the fridge or spill as you take it to work. You might prefer glass over plastic, or you might want a container with multiple compartments for portion control.

There are a lot of high-quality options, which is never a bad thing. But these 15 highly-reviewed containers have all proven themselves to keep food fresh while remaining leak-proof, oven and microwave safe, and spill-free.

These high-quality Fitpacker containers ensure that you'll be able to pack the day's meals neatly into place. Even better, they'll stay in place thanks to the patented SureLock seal, which clicks closed for leak resistance.

This is a solid, and affordable, investment that will last you years. The high-quality plastic resists stains, feels sturdy, and doesn't leak. You'll look forward to heating up those leftovers.

S'well now makes food containers that are perfect for meal preppers. Each set includes a plastic microwavable and freezer-safe bowl that fits inside a larger container. If you're eating on the run, stick the plastic bowl inside the microwave. Then pop your lunch in the stainless steel bowl, which keeps food warm.

Glass food storage containers tend to be easier to clean and they don't hold a smell. These glass meal prep containers from Finedine have amassed hundreds of five-star reviews for a reason.

Enther's containers are packed with compartments to separate different foods, perfect for a bento box meal. They help with portion control as well as keep those who hate mixing at ease.

For those who like glass containers but require compartments, these are the solution. They're split into two parts, one for a larger main portion and the other for a smaller side.

Make meal prep easy with EZ Prepa's three-compartment containers. They're microwaveable, stackable, and dishwasher-safe.

Prep Naturals calls its locking technology the "smartest" out there. It's air-tight, keeping bacteria out and your food in. That's exactly how it should be.

SimpleHouseware champions simplicity and straightforward design &ndash something over 1400 people have given a five-star average on Amazon. Sometimes you don't have to reinvent the wheel for big results.

There's nothing worse than a soggy salad. These OXO containers keeps your lettuce separate from tomatoes, chicken, and other ingredients that lead to wilted lettuce.

Durahome containers are extremely durable, obviously. Throw them in your bookbag, toss them around the car, or stick them in the dishwasher when they need deep cleaned. Either way, they'll hold up and hold your food in.

The hard-plastic construction will ensure no cracks or breaking along the way. The leak proof lids will tightly seal the food containers for meal prepping, preventing any annoying leaks or spills in your bag or freezer.

This set has everything you need to make a week's worth of meals. These hold up even after freezing, microwaving, and many cycles through the dishwasher.

Each container is made from Pyrex glass which is microwave safe, dishwasher safe, oven safe, and freezer safe. Lids are BPA-free and microwave safe.

This bento lunch box container set is made with heavy duty BPA-free stainless steel. The lids include a double sealing element, ensuring that no food liquids will leak out of the box. In addition, a smart airtight clip is used for high efficient sealing.

Short Term Everyday Food Supply

Start by building your short term food storage. We recommend that you store at least 3 months of shelf-stable foods that you eat every day. Canned goods, boxed mixes, condiments, cereal, crackers, and anything you eat on a regular basis. For ideas to help you build your short term food supply click here.

The most challenging aspect of starting your 3 month supply is creating a good place to store it. Ideal storage will be a cool, dark, dry location stored on heavy duty shelving. The goal is to be able to live off what you have on your pantry shelves for 90 days without going to the store. For great ideas on where to find space for your food supply click here.

Supplier Recommendations for Short Term Food Storage

The best place to purchase food for your 3-month food supply is wherever you normally shop. Take advantage of sales to stock up and purchase a little extra each time you go to the grocery store. You will be amazed at how quickly you can accumulate a supply of food.

Some items may be less expensive to purchase at a warehouse store like Costco or Sam’s Club. We like to stock up when Costco has their sale offers. I usually purchase a year’s supply and that will ensure that the item will likely go on sale again before I need it so I can avoid paying full price. Not all items are less expensive at a warehouse store. If you shop wisely, you will find that building a food supply actually saves you money in the long run.

Case lot sales are also a great way to stock up if they are available in your area. Be sure to check the prices. Just because it is on a case lot sale doesn’t mean it is necessarily the best price. Keep an eye out on those weekly ads for the best times to stock up.

I personally count the food that I have stored in my freezer in my 3 month supply. We definitely should be prepared for a power outage, but for most events and everyday life the meats and vegetables I have in my freezer come in pretty handy. They play an important part in our storage plan. I prefer a chest freezer because it is less likely to be left ajar than an upright freezer.

How to find the best food storage container

Before you start scrolling, here are some details to consider when shopping for food storage containers:

  • Material: Glass and plastic are two of the most common food storage options. Glass tends to have more uses and can often be used in the oven, while plastic cannot. The trade-off is that glass is heavier and can break, which doesn&rsquot make it the best for taking on the go. Though most plastic is now BPA-free and perfectly safe, some consumers still believe glass to be the "safer" option to avoid any possibility of chemical leaching.
  • Shape: Most food storage containers are round or rectangular. Round are more ideal for salads and liquids while rectangular ones are great for meats and sides, plus the straight edges stack neatly without wasting space. Round or rectangular, we love containers with straight edges versus flared to avoid hogging up extra, unnecessary room in your fridge and cabinets.
  • Lids: A lid that doesn&rsquot seal is a dealbreaker. Some simply press down to close while others have clasps on the sides. We tend to prefer lids without clasps because they&rsquore thinner and store easier, but it's worth noting that the clasps offer an extra source of leak-protection.

Below are the best storage containers you can buy in 2021:

16 Food Storage Hacks For Stretching Your Groceries As Long As Possible

We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

10 Refrigerator Food Storage Mistakes That Are Costly and Wasteful

The refrigerator is a magical box a modern convenience that allows us to keep food fresh much longer than we would be able to otherwise. But it is also a master of deceit that can easily swallow up the abundance of foods we feed it, turning them into alien life forms and things that look like they belong on the forest floor. This is especially true in the era of the ginormous fridge (and one of the reasons we advocate for smaller refrigerators around here). Big box shopping doesn’t help, either.

Misusing the refrigerator helps Americans reach the sad milestone of wasting nearly a pound of food every day, which works out to around 30 percent of the average American's daily calories – not to mention the expense. Fortunately, a little know-how can help save a lot of food from an ignominious death in the icebox. Here are some of the more common mistakes to avoid.

1. Putting the Wrong Produce in the Fridge

Not all produce wants to be in the refrigerator. Keep tomatoes, melons, potatoes, garlic, citrus, and onions out – the fridge can affect their taste and texture. Only put bananas, nectarines, pears, peaches, and avocados in the fridge if they are threatening to become overripe. (The peel on bananas will turn black in the fridge, but the flesh will be ok.) In the meantime, apples look good in a bowl on the counter, but they prefer the fridge.

2. Washing Produce Incorrectly Before You Store It

Many people swear by doing weekly meal prep and washing all the produce as soon as they get home from the market. This can make using up your vegetables easier – but if they are not thoroughly dried, the residual moisture can lead to bacterial growth, mold, and the dreaded slime. I like to wash my greens and spread them out on a big bath towel on the counter, let them dry for a while, and then finish the job by rolling up the towel to get all the last bit of moisture out.

3. Keeping Bread in the Fridge

The refrigerator pulls the moisture out of bread and other baked goods, making it stale and much less appetizing. The secret miracle trick is to keep it in the freezer and bring out what you need when you need it it thaws in no time and tastes as fresh as the minute it went in. If you have a whole loaf or baguette, slice it before freezing.

4. Keeping Herbs in a Bag in a Drawer

Nobody likes to reach into the bag of herbs to discover a handful of cilantro-flavored pond scum. Store your herbs in a glass of water with a bag loosely covering them. I keep my “vases” of herbs in the tall shelf of the refrigerator door where the milk usually goes. See #5

5. Using the Door Shelves for More Perishable Items

Even though the obvious place for milk is the tall shelf in the door, experts suggest that this is not the best place for the more sensitive items. Like milk. It is the place in the fridge that sees the most fluctuations in temperature. Things like dairy, eggs, and meat should live in the colder parts, which is usually in the back.

6. Letting Your Greens Become Slimy

Much like herbs, greens can become slimy. One trick is to throw a paper towel in the bag with them to help absorb moisture. Once it is damp, remove it and let it air dry so you can use it in the next batch. (We don’t use paper towels at my house, but I have had luck using small absorbent dishtowels.)

7. Putting New Food in Front

The oldest food should always take center stage. When you get home from the market, take the old food out, put the new food in the back, and then replace the old food in the front.

8. Keeping Canned Things in Cans

Even if you cook as many things from scratch as possible, there may still be occasional things in cans. Maybe it's chickpeas, maybe it's tomatoes, maybe it's chipotle peppers. And it may seem more efficient to keep those things in cans once they're opened why dirty a storage container when the food came with its own? But there is a very good reason to decant your canned food and put in a new container: If you leave it in the can, it will begin to taste . canny. And stale, metallic-tasting food is a quick candidate for the trash. (Epicurious explains that it's not a health issue, by the way, which is interesting.) Just make sure whatever you're transferring the food to is nice and clean I find that little recycled jam jars are perfect for the occasion.

9. Hiding the Leftovers

You know what doesn’t get eaten? Little bits of leftovers that are hiding in covered dishes or packets of aluminum foil in the back of the fridge. Invest in a good set of see-through glass storage containers that allow your leftovers to plea for your attention.

10. Not Having a Scraps" Container

A little leftover onion here, a half a carrot there – it is easy to toss disparate prepped leftover bits nonchalantly into the fridge . or trash. If you keep a storage container or bag in your produce drawer, you always have a place for them to gather. It can work as a wonderful secret stash when throwing a meal together the bits can go into soups, sauces, beans, omelets, pasta dishes, even the glorious leftovers tart. Check the container regularly to make sure nothing is going south and if things start to go sad or limp, make a beautiful vegetable stock with it all.

Bulk Food Storage Build your FoundationOn the Basics

Every storage plan should include bulk food storage items. These basics are needed in everyone’s home storage. Long-term food storage is cheap, and healthy.

These provisions are your survival foods. At the bottom of this page, I’ll show you a simple six-step plan to enhance your bulk food storage. You’ll want to add in the extras it will make all the difference in your emergency food supply.

Is the economic depression affecting your family? You can implement the ten money saving ideas and save lots when buying food. The price for whole grains compared to other food is very low. Your food budget will stretch a lot farther if you will buy and use these bulk foods. You can even feed your family on A Dollar A Day per person.

One Year Supply For 1 AdultMormon Food Storage

This list is a guideline for storing the bare minimum. The picture below shows you how much food you’ll get to eat everyday if you follow this guideline. And this is all you’ll get to eat. That is why I call it survival rations. You will stay alive, but eating probably won’t still be your favorite pastime.

You get 1 cup Wheat, 1 cup Oatmeal, 1/2 cup Rice, 1/3 cup beans, 2 Tbs Oil, 1 glass Milk (2 T powdered milk), 1/3 cup honey, and 2 tsp salt per day. Your daily menu might look something like this:

Breakfast: Hot oatmeal with honey & milk
Lunch: Tortillas and Sprouted Wheat
Dinner: Rice and Beans

With that said, whole grains are still the foundation of your food storage. You can use them in almost everything you cook. These are the dollar stretcher foods. I can feed my family of 12, breakfast every day for a month on one 50-pound bag of oatmeal (costs about $20). Add peaches, milk, and honey for taste, and you have a nutritious breakfast that children love. A one year supply for 1 adult should include: 400 lbs of Grain, 60 lbs of Legumes, 16 lbs of Powdered Milk, 10 Qts of Oil, 60 lbs of Sugar or Honey, and 8 lbs of Salt.The shelf life on these items is included in the chart below.

The chart shows how much it costs for a one-year supply for 1 adult. Adjust it to your individual needs. For example: rice and oats are a lot easier on a child’s digestive system compared to wheat. Store more of these grains for the children.

See Bulk Food Storage Containers to learn how to store your bulk food.

NOTE: You don’t want to start using wheat when that is all you have to eat. It will be hard on your system. Slowly add it to your diet, my family has been eating wheat for years and we don’t have any problems with a whole-wheat diet. Even my babies eat wheat and do great.

Cost of One Year Supply for 1 Adult

This chart was created in 2009. Because the price of food fluctuates, prices might be different than the ones represented in the chart.

*Not all olive oil lasts this long. Research the shelf life of the oil before buying it.

Wow, look at that. For $224.94 you can get a years supply of bulk food storage if you go with the cheaper sugar and vegetable oil. If you go with the Olive Oil and Honey, it will cost you $410.76. Getting your bulk food storage is a great place to start, and it's cheap!

I found everything on the chart except for the oil, salt, and honey at the LDS Bishop's Storehouse - bulk food storage at great prices.

All are welcome. The shelf life of the food is also listed on their order form. Check it out. Bulk food has a very long shelf life – about 30 years. Find a location near you in the USA or Canada.

A Note About Honey: When you are buying honey, make sure you can trust your source to give you pure honey. Cheap honey is actually corn syrup. You get what you pay for. Local Honey is actually the best option to buy if you have the opportunity because the bees are using the same plants and flowers that you encounter everyday. It helps you with your allergies.

Picture of a 1 year supply of bulk food storage rations for one adult.

Adding to the Basics

. . . Bulk Food Storage Expanded

Add some variety to your bulk food storage.

IF I HAVE Wheat, Powdered Milk, Oil, Salt, Honey or Sugar, Water
I CAN MAKE Popped Wheat ,Steamed Wheat, Sprouted Wheat, Cooked Cracked Wheat, Tortillas

IF I ADD Yeast, Baking Powder, Powdered Eggs, Baking Soda
I CAN MAKE THESE ADDITIONS: Custards, Puddings, Pancakes, Cookies, Waffles, Muffins, English Muffins, German Pancakes, Crepes, Egg Noodles, Pasta, Breads, Biscuits, Crackers, Mayonnaise. A lot more options huh? Keep reading.

IF I ADD Powdered Butter, Tomatoes, Powdered Cheese
I CAN MAKE THESE ADDITIONS: Meatless Dinners, Meatless Casseroles, Cream Sauces These really add flavor.

IF I ADD Unflavored Gelatin, Canned Milk, Canned Fruits
I CAN MAKE THESE ADDITIONS: Jello Salads, Whipped Cream Desserts, Baby Formula, fruit dishes Mmm, now we have desserts.

IF I ADD Soup Base, Rice, Legumes (Beans), Beef Broth, Chicken Broth, Alfalfa Seeds, Sesame Seeds
I CAN MAKE THESE ADDITIONS: Hearty Dinner Soups, Chili, Rice Puddings, Refried Beans, Rice Dishes, Fresh Sprouts, Gluten This would really expand your dinner menu in an emergency.

IF I ADD Canned Meats, Dried Potatoes
I CAN MAKE THESE ADDITIONS: Dinners, Casseroles, Sandwiches. This may not sound like a lot but a meaty flavor can make all the difference.

EXTRAS: Oats, Raisin, Nuts, Peanut Butter, Granola, Juices, Corn Starch, Soup Mixes, Spices & Flavorings, Lemon Powder or Juice, White Flour, Shortening or Margarine, Cream of Tartar, Junket Rennet Tablet, Molasses, Karo Syrup, etc. These are small things that you could do without but really add variety to your diet.

3. Flour storage shall be airtight.

This is absolutely key, since the flour spoilage that you are trying to avoid comes from oxygen. No air, slower spoilage. Yes, those paper bags that the flour comes in are fine for the store, but once you get them home, even if you leave them unopened, you are in a race against time. At a minimum, put the whole bag into a three-gallon zip-top plastic bag and remove as much air as possible before sealing and storing in your cool, dark location.

If you are storing a lot and don&apost need access to it all right away, you can also use a vacuum sealer and large vacuum bags to preserve whole unopened bags of flour, or even portions of bags, until you need them.

My personal storage routine for all flours goes a little bit like this: I buy flour and immediately put in the freezer for four days to kill off any possible pest activity. Once frozen, I transfer whatever I will need for one to two weeks of baking to the easy-access canisters in my kitchen. I store the rest of the flour in a tightly-lidded new container, which I label with the date I opened the flour. I put these containers in coolers for longer-term storage. I usually try not to buy more flours than I think I will use in a four- to eight-week span, and I try not to overbuy flours that are specialty, since I will go through them slower.

Flour Storage Guide

Most types of flour keep well in a sealed container in a cool, dry, and dark location. The original paper packaging used for many types of flour is fine for long term storage as long as the package has not been opened. Once open, the shelf life decreases. Many types of flour are now marketed in resealable plastic bags that increase shelf life.

The refrigerator is a very good storage area for flour, but the use of a sealed container is even more important to prevent the flour from absorbing moisture as well as odors and flavors from other foods stored in the refrigerator. The freezer compartment can be used for long-term storage, but when using a sealed container or a freezer bag, make sure it is full to eliminate as much air as possible. Most types of flour can also be tightly wrapped for freezer storage, but wrapping is often an awkward method for storing large quantities. Wrap the flour tightly in plastic followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Avoid refrigerating or freezing flour in its original paper packaging because paper is porous and the flour may absorb moisture and odors, however if the flour has not been opened, the paper package can be stored in the refrigerator of freezer if the package is tightly wrapped with plastic.

Flour milled from whole grains does not keep as long as highly refined flour because the germ portion of the whole grain can cause the flour to become rancid over time. Flour that does not look or smell good should not be used. It is best to buy smaller quantities of flour if you are finding it necessary to continually discard the flour due to spoilage.

  • The original paper packaging is fine for long term cabinet storage as long as the package has not been open.
  • Most types of flour keep longer in a cool, dry cabinet if stored in a sealed plastic or glass container.
  • The refrigerator is a very good storage area for flour, but the use of a sealed container is even more important to prevent the flour from absorbing moisture as well as odors and flavors from other foods stored in the refrigerator.
  • The freezer is usually the best location for long term storage. Use sealed plastic containers or freezer bags for optimum freshness.
  • Flour that does not look or smell good should not be used.

Shelf- Life: for cabinet storage, up to 8 months if properly stored in a sealed container or if tightly wrapped, and for refrigerator storage, up to one year.

Shelf- Life: up to 6 months in the freezer if properly stored in a sealed container or if tightly wrapped.

Other Considerations: will not keep well if it is stored in a warm location or if it is exposed to sunlight. The flavor and aroma of amaranth flour will become bitter if it is stored improperly or for an excessively long period.

Shelf Life: up to 4 months in the freezer in a sealed container or if tightly wrapped. The flour has a short shelf life when stored in a cabinet.

Shelf Life: several months in a cool, dry cabinet when stored in a sealed container or if tightly wrapped, and up to one year in the freezer.

Shelf Life: 4 to 5 months when stored in the refrigerator and up to one year in the freezer when stored in a sealed container or if tightly wrapped.

Other Considerations: has a high oil content (because of the bran and germ), which causes it to become rancid if stored improperly or if stored for an excessive length of time.

Shelf Life: up to 2 to 3 months in the refrigerator and for 6 months or longer in the freezer in a sealed container or if tightly wrapped.

Shelf Life: up to one year in a cool, dark cabinet if properly stored in a sealed container or if tightly wrapped. The shelf life increases if the flour is stored in the freezer.

Shelf Life: 2 or 3 months if properly stored in a cool, dry cabinet in an airtight container that does not permit light to pass through. It will keep 6 months in the freezer.

Other Considerations: exposure to light will deteriorate the effectiveness of the omega-3 fatty acids in the flaxseed meal/flour, which are so effective in reducing cholesterol. When shopping for flaxseed meal/flour, look for packages that protect it from exposure to light.

Shelf Life: several months in the refrigerator and 6 months or more in the freezer if properly stored in a sealed container or if tightly wrapped.

Shelf Life: up to one year freezer storage if properly stored in a sealed container or if tightly wrapped.

Other Considerations: whole-grain Kamut flour usually lasts longer than whole-grain wheat flour because it has a lower moisture content than wheat.

Shelf Life: about one year if properly stored in a sealed container or if tightly wrapped in the freezer. It will keep several months in a cool, dry cabinet.

Shelf Life: millet flour will keep for about 2 months in the refrigerator and 6 months or longer in the freezer. The flour should be tightly wrapped for refrigerator or freezer storage. A completely filled and sealed glass jar also works well for refrigerator storage.

Other Considerations: can become rancid quite rapidly if it is not properly stored. It is usually best to grind millet as needed to ensure the best flavor.

Shelf Life: up to 3 months cabinet storage if stored in sealed containers or if tightly wrapped and up to 6 months if stored in the freezer.

Shelf Life: 4 to 6 months in the freezer if stored in sealed containers or if tightly wrapped.

Shelf Life: whole-grain rye flour should be stored in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped or in an airtight container, where it will keep for several months. It will keep in the freezer for up to a half-year.

Other Considerations: If stored properly, rye flour with the germ removed will keep for longer periods than whole-grain rye flour.

Shelf- Life: for cabinet storage, 4 to 6 months if properly stored in a sealed container or if tightly wrapped, and for refrigerator storage, up to one year if sealed properly.

Shelf Life: 4 months freezer storage if properly stored in sealed containers or if tightly wrapped.

Shelf Life: 5 to 7 months if properly stored, tightly wrapped or tightly sealed plastic or glass containers. The refrigerator or freezer are the best locations for storage.

Other Considerations: full-fat versions of soy flour do not keep as long as the fat-free versions.

Shelf Life: if stored in sealed containers or if tightly wrapped, spelt flour will keep for several months in a cool, dry cabinet and 6 to 12 months in the freezer.

Shelf Life: when stored in tightly sealed containers or if tightly wrapped, teff flour will keep for 4 months in the freezer.

Shelf Life: when properly stored, in a tightly covered container in a cool dry location, white rice flour may last indefinitely.

Shelf Life: 6 months to one year in the freezer if stored in tightly sealed plastic containers or if tightly wrapped. It will keep for only a few months if stored in a cabinet.

Other Considerations: a drawback with whole-wheat flour, regardless of the milling process, is that its shelf life is shorter than highly processed white flour varieties due to the presence of the wheat germ, resulting in an unsaturated oil content that is higher than refined flour. The potential for rancidity is greater if whole-wheat flour is kept for long periods and particularly if it is not stored under refrigerated conditions. It is best to store whole-wheat flour in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer.


Here’s another DIY chip clip idea – using a hanger:

BONUS TIP: If you don’t actually remove the clips from the hanger, then you can hang chip bags from the wire shelving in your pantry!

My favorite things to write about are topics that have to do with pregnancy, weddings, saving money, living green, and life with dogs. When I’m not writing, I love to spend time with my husband, read, create 3D artwork and Native American beadwork.