With family gatherings on the horizon, cookie baking season looming, and stress eating in the here and now, food prep and storage has been on my mind. If your family was anything like mine you probably grew up using a lot of plastic containers and cling wrap in your food storage, but maybe you’re looking to opt for more plastic free food storage options now-a-days.
I’ve still got a healthy collection of decades old Tupperware containers and re-purposed take out containers at home, but they aren’t always my first pick when it comes to food storage, especially if I’m going to have to prep and store a LOT of food at once and might want some more flexible options.
Fortunately there are so many sustainable options for food storage and prep on the market now, and they really meet my flexible storage needs. Four of my absolute favorite are:
1. Food Huggers
Food Huggers are silicone disks with a lip all the way around to essentially act
as a cap for whatever you’re storing. They’re ideal for when you just need a portion of an ingredient, or need to seal off a container with a round opening (cans, cups, carafes, etc…) For example:
- Half an onion, tomato, apple, cucumber or any other vaguely round fruit or veggie? Pop a food hugger on it.
- Just need 2 tablespoons of butter? Cut straight through those measuring lines on the paper and cap off the rest with a little baby butter hugger.
- Cake only need half a can of pumpkin? Slap a food hugger on it.
- Didn’t finish that cup of coffee but want to save the rest for later? Make that food hugger a cup hugger.
In addition to their regular round huggers they have a few more specialized huggers including avocado huggers, cheese huggers, and butter huggers.
These little cuties are designed to nest, meaning that when they’re not in use you only need to find room to fit the largest one.
2. Wax Wraps
Wax wraps are pieces of cotton fabric infused with bees wax and (in the case of our wax wraps) pine resin to create a sticky coating that enables the wrap to mold itself around objects and act in the same way that cling wrap would.
Where wax wrap shines in comparison to plastic wrap is in its breathability. Plastic wrap traps moisture against whatever it encases, be it half a veggie, cheese, bread, your sandwich, etc… As you store these items excess moisture contributes to mold growth and sliminess.
My personal favorite things to use wax wraps for are storing cheese and bread, but they are good for more than just storing single ingredients. They work fabulously as plastic-free bowl covers, wrapping up a sandwich to go, making a folded snack bag, and more!
The only things that wax wraps don’t stand up to well are heat, extreme cold (like freezing), and raw meats and seafood. Aside from that they’re super easy to care for: just gently wash with cool water, soap, and a soft cloth. If you have a lot of oils or crumbs stuck to yours you can use a gentle abrasive to give them an extra deep clean.
Much like Food Huggers, wax wraps also store away super compactly. Just allow them to fully dry, fold them up, and tuck them away. I personally like to store mine inside of an old takeout container or a stasher bag so that nothing gets a chance to stick to them while they’re between uses.
3. Stasher Bags
Stasher bags are a power-house of plastic-free food storage and prep. These reusable baggies are made of platinum grade silicone and not only do they give you all of the storage capabilities of a plastic bag, but they are heat safe up to 425 degrees, and freezer safe as well! The initial investment on a Stasher bag is high, but for me their versatility and durability make them worth the investment.
Because Stashers are heat safe up to 425 degrees they are great for moving seamlessly between food prep, food storage, and even reheating. Somethings you might not have realized you can use a stasher for are:
- Marinating your veggies/meats/tofu (and maybe even just popping directly in the oven when you’re done marinating! I’ve done this with salmon and it was so mouthwatering and juicy)
- Making microwave popcorn
- Steaming veggies in the microwave
- Sous vide-ing to your heart’s content
- Freezer storage (you can even take whatever you’re freezing and put the whole stasher directly into boiling water or the microwave to thaw/reheat it)
Clean up is super easy too. Hand washing is a breeze since they are non-stick, but they are also dishwasher safe if you’re in a rush.
This one is definitely more of a food prep star than a food storage star, but they make it on to the list with good reason!
Silpats are silicone baking mats with a fiberglass mesh woven through the mat for extra support and durability. The silicone is naturally non-stick, so they are a great replacement for single use tray liners like aluminum foil or parchment paper in your roasting or baking plans. That means no additional oil or greasing is needed to ensure that your veggies, cookies, salmon, muffins, or whatever you’re baking comes off clean.
Not only are they oven safe, but they also stand up to freezing temperatures as well, so you can use it in place of parchment when freezing fruits, veggies, grains, and more.
Care is simple: wash with warm soapy water and a soft sponge, allow to fully dry and store flat or rolled (just don’t store anything on top of it if you roll it).