Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Green Alternatives: Food Storage
Green Alternatives is a series that shows you the green alternatives to normally wasteful/toxic products. I use all of the featured products in my own home. I am not being paid to endorse any of the products in this series, I just really like them! In my opinion, a green alternative falls into at least 2 of these categories:
1. They contain no toxic chemicals/fragrances/etc
3. They contain less or no plastic
4. They are produced by ethical companies who care about my health and the environment
This week's Green Alternatives will be covering food storage. I have slowly been trying to wean or pare down our plastic food storage for three reasons. One, it is very hard to remember what exactly is in the fridge, especially when all of the leftovers and various other things are stored in plastic yogurt containers that all look the same. Two, it kind of freaks me out that my food is sitting in plastic, having who knows what leeching into it. And three, since I have a strict "no microwaving of any plastics, no excuses!" rule in the house, it is a pain to store food in plastic only to have to transfer it to another non-plastic container to reheat. I don't like to do more dishes if I don't have to. I still keep all of my yogurt containers for freezing things like soup and vegetable stock, and there is no way I have the money to entirely replace all of my tupperware, but I figure replacing it little by little, I am making some difference. I also will not be purchasing any more plastic food storage systems. Glass all the way. So here is what I use for food storage in the fridge:
These nifty little containers are made by Anchor Hawking, a great source for all things glass. The best thing about their products is that you can find them almost anywhere! Well, I can at least. Also, all of the lids that come with their products are BPA free, even better. And they are super affordable! I just got a glass set of 4 custard cups (with lids), a 9x9 glass baking dish, and a 9x13 glass lasagna dish on sale at Canadian Tire for $8.88. So this is a very affordable way to phase out your tupperware. Now, I am by no means suggesting that you should immediately banish all things plastic from your home. By keeping this in mind, maybe next time you need to purchase a new food storage set, you will look for glass. I can hope, anyways, right?
Now as far as dry goods go, I have a mostly glass pantry. The two biggest exceptions that I have are what I store my flour and sugar in. I buy my flour and sugar at Costco, so they come in giant bags. 20 kg of flour at a time, and 10 kg of sugar. I buy the sugar there because it is cane sugar, and the flour is unbleached and from a local company. I have never seen a glass container big enough to hold even half of the sugar, never mind the flour. So I use big plastic tubs from D's work. Does anyone know of a source that I could locate a glass alternative? Right now, about half of the flour goes into the big tub, and the rest is sporadically placed in the biggest glass containers I have throughout the kitchen. The sugar all fits into its big tub. But for the rest of the pantry I have collected glass storage sets and also use mason jars, as well as recycled jars. For the mason jars, I simply reuse my old canning lids that I cannot seal again, or put wax paper over the top so that I don't have to buy new lids. Yes, they have random things like "Pears 2010" written on them, but I have enough faith in myself to be able to distinguish between pears and navy beans. Here is a small sample of my pantry storage ( I am much to ashamed of the state of my pantry to actually allow you in there right now haha) :
I always label my "whites", like baking soda and icing sugar, to avoid baking disasters! Otherwise, I mostly rely on my memory to remind me of what things are. In the picture there is spaghetti, flaked coconut, and baking soda.
This post has inspired me to organize my pantry and take you for a tour. Maybe next week? We can set up a date, I will keep you posted!