When I go over to a friend or family members house, I hate to admit it, but the first thing I do is go straight to the refrigerator or the pantry. I know, I know I should at least say “hi” first!…I eat a lot throughout the day, what can I say! Usually, however, I find myself playing a game of Tetris with the Tupperware. And when I try to reassemble the puzzle, nothing fits anymore. I began to realize, time after time, that a common, and easily fixable problem, with home cooking isn’t the cooking itself, rather figuring out how to store your food!!
Hear me out! Cooking is a lot of fun, right? But how can it be fun if you first have to organize or clear through debris every time you want to make a meal or find leftovers? It’s true, I heard it in culinary school, and I still believe it to this day: Organization is one of the most important parts about being a good cook!
Kitchen organization isn’t something that seems like that big a deal, but can get out of hand pretty quickly, and when it does, there is one thing that can make life soooooooo much easier: Having the right containers! I know that doesn’t sound like the fix-all solution, but it absolutely is. And don’t think that I’m not guilty too. For example, I can’t say how many times I stored my soup by just covering the pot and putting it in the fridge for later. Doing that makes a lot of problems… a pot is way too big for my fridge, and what If I need that pot for something else? This example might not sound all that bad, but I know I enjoy cooking a lot more when I don’t have to deal with little pesky problems that can snowball as a result of disorganization. You would actually be really surprised how much food you can fit in your pantry and fridge with the right containers on hand, and how much easier it can make your cooking experience!
All that being said, what are these magical containers that I’m talking about? Well, Most people use re-sealable sandwich bags and plastic Tupperware style containers. The problem with these is that the sandwich bags are really fragile and can get holes pretty easily and leak everywhere. And the Tupperware …well, when I used to use these, I would end up eventually having a dozen mismatching containers and lids floating around, and they would take up a whole cabinet just to store…and I would never have the right size that I needed. Too many variables for me. No thank you!
When I started working in restaurants, I was turned on to the way that the professionals store their food, and realized that this works just as easily at home. Restaurants use containers like the ones pictured above. There are a lot of benefits of making the switch to professional style containers. First off, they are cheaper than commercial containers you will find elsewhere…That alone should be enough! They are also more durable, and will more than likely be the last ones you will ever have to buy. They are easy to wash, and store even more easily…I could go on, so I will! They are see-through or transparent and also have volume marks on the side so that you can put a number to how much food is in the container. They fit in your cabinets or refrigerator much more uniformly which means no more Tetris! And lastly, they have color coded lids so that you will never have to again do trial and error in trying to find the right top. …Ok, for real, that is one convincing argument…
There are basically 2 categories of containers as I see it: For storing large stuff, and for storing small stuff. The larger containers (the ones with the volume markings) are made of a very durable plastic and have very tight fitting lids. These can cost in the range of $5 – $20 and the lids come separately, but only run couple bucks a piece. As I said, these are more for storage of larger items like roasts, large batches of soups or other liquids. They are great to store lettuces and whole fruits or vegetables, and even make great bins to store sugar, flour, beans, pasta, and other dry or pantry items. The smaller deli style containers are made of a flexible lightweight plastic (you have probably gotten one if you ever ordered food to go from a restaurant) and also have tight fitting lids. They are great for storing leftovers, using as containers to take to work for lunch, and also using as dry storage and pantry containers. The lids also come separately. These deli containers are less durable but cost something like $3 for a stack of fifty, are safe to reuse, and wash easily in the dishwasher. So, really, beat these up as much as you can, it will take you a long time to go through a stack of these
When buying, first check out restaurant supply stores. They have everything you will need and more then likely there is a store near you. If you can’t find a store that sells these, you can also try the internet. You may have to wait for shipping, but may be able to find an even better deal.
Speaking of deals, I decide to compile a list of all the containers I think you will ever need and approximately how much that will cost you. Keep in mind, this is just a guide. You may need more of each style and/or different sizes, but this is a good place to start.
The containers I recommend buying are:
1 of these 7.5 quart containers with lid
1 of these 4 quart containers with lid
2 – 4 of these 2 quart containers with lids
1 stack of these 1 quart deli containers
1 stack of these 1 pint deli containers
1 stack of these deli container lids
Total cost: $40.41
This price might vary somewhat depending on where you live and where you buy, but it should be around $40, which compared to alternatives is a steal!
Like I said, This may seem like a silly thing to write a post about, but having these containers will for sure make your life a lot easier. Which is great because you will want to cook more, and will find you kitchen to me a much more enjoyable space! Give it a try and let me know what you think!!