We've been using way too many plastic bags to store our leftovers (in the refrigerator, not the freezer). Now my mother wants some ideas for holiday gifts for DH and me, so this might be a good time to invest in some glass storage containers.
I have seen glass ones with plastic fitted lids. Are those any good? I like the idea that we can re-heat the food right in the container. Do those come in different sizes? For the plastic lids, we will want something BPA-free.
Which ones should we put on our wish list?
I love my GlassLock containers. (glass with plastic lids.)
Here they are at Bed Bath and Beyond:
but I have found a set of them at Costco for cheaper.
We have a couple of sets of Pyrex glass with plastic lids - one round set and one rectangular set, similar to this set at Amazon. I think the lids are BPA-free, but I admit I'm not too worried about it because they don't come in contact with the food since I never fill them that full. I"m mostly happy with the Pyrex. There's a nice variety of sizes. They are fine for use in the refrigerator or cupboards, but DH and the kids complain that they leak when they carry them for lunches. I guess the lids aren't entirely leak-proof and the containers bounce around in lunch bags and backpacks.
I understand that the Lock'N'Lock storage containers don't leak, so I'm going to get a few for lunches, picnics etc. There is a little plastic in the lids, but again, I believe they are BPA-free.
If I was starting out again, I'd probably just buy a set of the Lock 'N' Lock instead of the Pyrex.
I use Pyrex too, because that's what's available in stores around here. Whatever you get, you should just make sure it's oven-safe because some of them aren't. It is really nice to be able to put a little water in it and pop it in the oven. I have seen the Pyrex lids get looser over time, and if you turn a container of soup on its side it will probably leak. So, I agree that something else might be better for sloppy things in lunches. I love having all different sizes and shapes for the fridge and freezer -- it is also very helpful in the refrigerator to be able to see what's in there.
There are also great stainless steel storage containers:
http://lunchbots.com/ (these have a silicone seal on their leak-proof models)
I think storing leftovers and lunches are 2 separate things. I expect different behavior from lunch containers than from fridge storage. We use stainless for lunches, and glass for the fridge. Since my DH is good at banging up the stainless, I don't really trust him with much glass. I will occasionally put a small canning jar (plastic lid) in his lunch with a treat (4 oz jar of pudding), but other than that, lunch is all stainless (tiffins and Klean Kanteens).
I have random glass dishes and bowls for the fridge - for larger things like salad (coleslaw, potato salad, etc), I like the Pampered Chef batter bowls with lids. They do double duty as mixing/serving bowls too. All of my baking dishes are glass, so they go in the fridge as is, no transferring, no getting a 2nd dish dirty. If you're looking to change over, I'd look at Pyrex and/or Corningware. If you can find it, I love my Visions, but it's hard to find. I don't like the stuff that only comes with plastic lids because I do a lot of covered baking (braising/slow roasting), and want an oven-safe lid, so plastic lid is secondary for me.
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We use Pyrex bowls and containers with those plastic lids. Most are tight enough for non-liquid food. We also have a few of those airtight lids that you can fill the bowl with soup, shake it around and it doesn't leak. I give them to DH and kids to take lunch as well, none of them have broken any. Pyrex is sturdier than normal glass I think.
We do not bake with Pyrex stuff however so if they're oven proof or not doesn't matter.
I like containers that serve multiple purposes - to be able to go from storage to transporting lunch. It's easier to pack up leftovers after dinner into the lunch containers and then the next morning, dh and the kids can just grab them and go. It also cuts down on dirty dishes, at least a little.
Pyrex is pretty tough and works fairly well for lunches, aside from the leakage problem. Breakage hasn't been a problem at all. The only time we've broken one of the pyrex bowls was when it fell out of our van onto a cement parking lot when someone left it balanced precariously on top of all of our camping gear and resting against the rear hatch door. Still, the leakage problem only had to happen once or twice to convince me that Lock 'N' Lock is better. Sponging off messy textbooks, re-doing a homework assignment and washing out a stinky backpack is not fun.
Stainless isn't really an option for lunches here, because DH and the kids sometimes microwave to re-heat the leftovers they take for lunch. I like the look of tiffins myself, but they are not really practical for us.