I’m back with an update on my favorite reusable food storage items. This post was originally published two years ago when I was just beginning to change some of my habits in the kitchen to create less waste, from food storage to food itself. Two years later and I’m still at it, working to keep our trash heap as minimal as possible, composting as much as possible. Because there’s an understood rule of the trail— through the worn path up a mountain and down the driveway on trash night—leave no trace. I know this rule from Kev, who likes to backpack. It’s a rule much easier to follow when you only have a couple things on your back. It’s a rule that looks a little different in a home. Below are my favorite reusable food storage items that make this task more doable.
This post was created in a long term partnership with OXO, a brand that I’ve had in my home since day one of adulthood. I’m grateful for an ongoing partnership with a company that I buy with my own money.
My Favorite Reusable Food Storage
OXO SMART SEAL GLASS CONTAINERS
I store all leftovers and prepared food in these containers. They are leak-proof, airtight, durable, and stack nicely in the fridge and the freezer. Over the last couple years, I’ve added a couple more containers in the sizes we use most often to match the weekly needs of our kitchen. With that said, these are sold as a set or as individuals so you can customize to your needs. Dishwasher safe.
REUSABLE PRODUCE BAGS
Reusable produce bags took some major getting used to. I’m on my second batch of bag trials, but these bags are thee bags. You can see the produce through the bag, they wash and dry easily, and they list the weight (tare) of the bag on the side that’s deducted at the register. Once I get home, I store certain produce, like berries and greens in my OXO GreenSavers, as seen in this post. NOTE: Due to COVID, you might not be able to use reusable produce bags at your local grocery store right now.
SILICONE FOOD STORAGE BAGS
We’ve been using these bags for over two years with great luck. They wash well—by hand or by dishwasher. There’s no tiny crevice for food to get stuck in. They’re easy to seal and leak-proof. They don’t stain or hold on to odors. They also do a great job keeping cheese fresh. (Cheese doesn’t like a tight hug. Moisture gets trapped between its surface and the hug, producing mold more quickly. These bags give a nice, loose, awkward hug–just the way cheese likes it.) I also use these gallon-sized silicone bags for larger storage needs, like storing kale.
OXO REUSABLE LIDS
Reusable lids, to replace plastic wrap, has been one of the hardest things to successfully replace. OK, maybe every one-time use item was hard to replace at first. We tried waxed canvas wraps for over a year and just couldn’t get them to work for us. They didn’t seal food off as well as needed, and they were so hard to clean, as you can’t use hot water or scrub too hard without rubbing off the protective wax coating. The silicone reusable lids, however, have been a great replacement. They seal for freshness, clean easily, store flat, wash well, and allow you to stack in the fridge. You can buy these in a multi-sized set or individual sizes to meet your kitchen needs.
WIDEMOUTH BALL JARS
I store all things liquid (like quick-pickled vegetables, dressings, sauces, etc) in these jars. I’ve swapped all the 2-piece metal lids with the BPA-free plastic lids. I know, plastic. But I’ll be using these lids for a lifetime based on their performance these last couple of years.
OXO COMPOST BIN
When we first started composting through the city, there weren’t a lot of great compost bin options for the kitchen. I bought the only one available at the time, and it was far from perfect. I was so happy when OXO came out with a compost bin. It solved all my grievances like hiding the compost bag. It tucks into the grey band of the bin to keep things looking tidy. Speaking of tidy, the lid detaches for easy cleaning, which needs to happen so often when storing compostables. Finally, you know how TV cooks always have a convenient discard bowl? This compost bin is that for me. I tote it all around the kitchen, and it’s also compact enough too to store away under the kitchen sink when needed.
These bottles have been with us since the beginning of Hal’s life and are now being used with Linnie. They grow with you—from bottle to sippy cup to snack container. The silicone insert converts the bottle to a container. We keep ours full of homemade trail mix, and carry it everywhere and all the time.
I love these reusable bags for two reasons—they’re sturdy and fold up into a small pouch. I keep two in my purse, where I also store the produce bags. Speaking of, my purse doubles as a shopping bag to hold groceries. NOTE: Due to COVID, you might not be able to use these at your local grocery store right now.
Do you have any favorite reusable food storage that’s helped to cut down on waste? I’d love to hear it. PS—we’ve been using these compostable smoothie straws for the last year. We haven’t gone the reusable route here because I know they’ll sit in the kitchen sink all week and drive me mad. PPS—If you see me sorting your trash, just ignore me.
Thanks for pointing out that reusable silicone food storage bags can be useful for preserving fruits. I’m thinking about adding healthier snacks for my husband’s meals on a daily basis so going for fruits would be an easy way to do that. Since he tends to take breaks late in the day, I can make sure that apple slices would still be fresh with the right storage bag.
A terrific resource, once again. Thank you!!
Yes! The pura bottles are my favorite. Factor in the different spout options, silicone sleeves- they’re genius. And they’ve lasted through 4 rough kids, who could destroy wrought iron. Weirdly enough, I haven’t seen ANY other moms tap into their awesomeness. Kudos!
Same! I never hear people talk about these amazing bottles and we couldn’t love them more! Have you tried the sport top? We’ve only used the nipples, sippy cup, and sealing disk inserts.
I’m curious what you think of those produce bags. I tried that particular style and didn’t love them. It was always hard for the checker to tell what was in what bag which increased checkout time. I loved everything else but that because a pain.
I love them! I bought all the same size so they could apply the same weight to each of the bags, which is listed on the outside tag of the bag. A lot of people use similar produce bags at the store I shop at (a co-op), so the employees are in the rhythm of checking for it. Funny enough, they always comment how much they love these particular bags at checkout. However, I’ve never used them at Target or another grocery store. I think I might have a very similar experience to you!
You can marinate and/or Freeze in these beauties! https://www.target.com/p/stasher-reusable-silicone-bag-for-anova/-/A-52598383
Really helpful, thanks I got rid of plastic wrap completely 5-6 years ago – just decided one day I wouldn’t allow myself to buy it anymore and that I’d have to figure out ways to make do with containers, lids, etc. In the end, I find there’s almost nothing that actually *needs* to be fully sealed with plastic wrap, or any kind of wrap for that matter. I use containers for everything, and just put veggies and fruits cut side down on a small plate or in a small container most of the time. A bowl of food can just be covered with a plate or lid. I bought sandwich-sized silicone storage bags from a brand called Stasher and I used those to keep cheese, cold cuts, anything else that doesn’t need a bulky container (and I’ll be looking into the brand you use!). I’ve been thinking of trying the beeswax wraps just to cut down on the bulk and save space in the fridge, but haven’t really needed them yet!
I’ve heard awesome things about stasher bags but have never seen these, so I’m excited to try them out! And hopefully will also add another glowing review 🙂
I’ve heard excellent things about bees wrap! I definitely want to look into it!
Thank you for this, I plan on trying those silicone storage bags. We switched to glass straws which I keep in the car, at work, and home. These are nice and made in the USA…. https://www.amazon.com/Hummingbird-Glass-Straws-Clear-Pride/dp/B00KM61F88/ref=pd_lpo_vtph_121_tr_t_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=B08858SQJ436G7X62STH
I just store cut fruits and veggies as is, and then I cut the outer layer that has dried out (or not always, some stay fresh long enough!). Bee’s wrap also works for that.
I marinate meat in a glass container like you oxo containers.
For cheese, I use this: https://www.tupperware.fr/produits/6529/B16Caveafromages#prettyPhoto
I’ve completely banned plastic wrap and zipploc bags from my life, and straws too. I stopped purchasing packaged food. I feel like sometimes, there’s no need to “replace” stuff by something else.
I didn’t know the silicon zipplocs though, thanks!!
Also it’s pretty easy to make your own bee’s wrap, and much cheaper too.
Thanks for raising awareness about this issue, and for the link to the National Geographic article!
I’ve been using my plastic mason jar lids for over 20 years and haven’t had to throw one away yet. Yes, plastic, but I think I’ll have them forever. Maybe give them to my grandkids. They are great for bulk items at the coop.
As for marinating and pounding – I do it like my grandmother must have. I marinate in a bowl and pound meat and roll out pastry directly without plastic.
Avocados? I place them cut side down on a plate in the fridge. Same with other cut fruit.
I’ll have to check out the silicone bags esp. for cheese. Thanks!
Re: widemouth ball jars. I use them for everything! Our own bees’ honey, Breast milk storage, freezing homemade chicken broth… but having learned from experience, the quart size isn’t freezer safe!! (I had several crack even though I left plenty of space for expansion) You have to read the side of the box to see which ones are.. the largest ones that are freezer safe are 20 oz tall widemouth.
At the store I buy all my produce without baggies. Just a pile of apples rolling down the belt, or peaches 😉
We use stainless steel straws and love them. I have a pack of paper straws in my car.
I didn’t know about the silicon bags, I want to get those to eliminate sandwich bags that I used from time to time.
Oh, and I find placing avocado, onion,lemon, whatever, cut side down in a bowl is all I need to store it in the fridge.
Have you tried stainless steel straws? I’m a big fan. Bought a little tiny scrub brush to clean them, now I use them daily in my smoothies.
One more avocado idea ….. rub or brush all cut surfaces lightly with oil … can be avocado oil, olive oil, whatever. Air is what makes the cut surface oxidize, so the oil keeps the air out. Then you can drop it in your wide-mouth jar and store it in the frig for days. 🙂
Stainless steel straws (I got mine from Amazon) also work great. They come with a tiny brush so you can clean it easily.
foolproof avocado saving-place cut avocado in a container with a cut onion. works beautifully.
Trying all these avo ideas. I’ve been doing it wrong all these years!
We’ve been trying out some similar initiatives in our house…and feeling pretty good about it! The beeswax works like a charm on half an avocado…no need to use plastic wrap. Also, I wash and reuse old glass jars (jam, mustard, etc), in place of buying new ball jars for dressings and such.
Does the avo stain your bee’s wrap? I need to get over the staining ?
I use Abeego, another brand of beeswax food wrap products, and I have never been able to store/save an avocado as well as when I wrap it in my beeswax. No need for storing it with a cut onion or brushing it with anything. I’ve never noticed the avocado staining my wrap. I also wash the wraps with Seventh Generation dish soap in cold water.
Very helpful tips! I use plenty of these, but I’m very fond of my food huggers too … I use them for cut fruit and veggies, but also if I just need to quickly cover a bowl of leftovers or a mug with whatever. I think they even make them for avocados specifically 🙂
I’ve never heard of food huggers until now! Funny, I used that same analogy with cheese. This seems like such a smart product. I always have a half a lime floating in one of the large silicone bags. Might have to give these a try!
I just put limes and lemons upside down in a ramekin. I also find that Envirosax are the best because of the opening/handle situation. I have three or so sets of them and have had for years.
Great post! I just saw paper, sealable, sandwich bags at Target yesterday! I haven’t tried them so I’m not sure about how great they are, but they might be worth a try for replacing plastic sandwich bags!
Oh interesting! I’ll have to check these out.
I’ve been thinking about how I can implement changes like this, as well! I would love to hear about your experience with composting.
The city of Minneapolis offers compositing pick up, so we don’t have to do much other than to bring it to the curb once a week. They give a reduction on your trash bill if you compost, too. Win, win!
Out of curiousity, do you have any tips pertaining to the Minneapolis Organics program? I’m trying, TRYING to be better about using it, but I’m having a really hard time figuring out how to store the organics until trash day. My Tupperware in the freezer fills up pretty quickly, and I don’t want to just start putting stuff out in the curb can when it’s so dang hot!
We have a small stainless steel compost bin that I line with a compostable bag (I store it under the sink and pull it out during meal times). I place full bags in the city bin. During the couple hot weeks of the summer, we get maggots (gross) in the outdoor bin and have to wash it out. Otherwise, we have zero problems storing it in the outdoor bin (housed in our garage). I should mention, we don’t eat a ton of meat. Not sure if this makes any difference. We haven’t converted our bathrooms yet. That’s a work in progress. Here’s a little guide, you may have already seen this, from the city. Hope this helps!
Whaaat? I just found your blog earlier today and was looking through old posts researching food storage ideas and then you post this! Amazing! Just ordered your book too 🙂
The stars aligned! I hope you enjoy the book!
nice work. you can also use unbleached parchment paper to wrap sandwiches instead of plastic bags. and you actually don’t need an airtight seal with a cut avocado: if it’s a half that has the seed it just place alone in a small glass container with lid and will be perfect even after a few days; and with a half without its seed, rub it with some lemon juice before storing in a small glass container with lid.
Oh! Trying this avocado trick out. Thanks!
I actually don’t use any storage container at all if its the half with the pit remaining. I just set it in the fridge pit side up, and it will keep for about 2 days, the exposed edge gets a little dark and leathery, and when I’m ready to eat it, I just slice off the thinnest sliver to get rid of the dried leathery part, and the rest of the avocado underneath is perfectly fine.
This is great! Thank you for such a comprehensive round-up! I’ve been wanting to make the switch to reusable silicone food bags for some time.