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Storing leftovers without plastic is totally possible. You just might need some guidance on where to start. Here you can read some tips on how to store in the fridge, freezer and on the go.
Do you need a cheat sheet on the best places to store fruits and vegetables?
In the refrigerator
Clingfilm or aluminum foil used to be the go-to option for storing leftovers in the refrigerator. Instead of these disposable products, you could opt for a reusable bowl cover to store your leftovers. A bowl cover is made from PUL and can be washed over and over again and can be used to cover bowls, plates, and even pots and pans.
A beeswax wrap is an option if you don’t want to use any plastic at all. If you are vegan and not ok with beeswax, you could use glass or stainless steel jars to store your leftovers in the fridge.
In the freezer
Yes, you can store your leftover in glass in the freezer. You just need to follow some rules to prevent breakage (and a big mess).
- First, you need a good quality jar with thick glass. I personally use jars that had peanut-butter (yes, we have that in glass jars) and tomato sauce. These have been working fine for me. The thicker glass help to withstand the temperature changes to prevent breaking. Avoid jars that taper a lot inwards towards the top (like for example a wine bottle).
- Never fill the jar all the way to the top. Fill it 3/4 max.
- Place the jars in the freezer without the lid. The content of the jars will expand due to the high water content of the food.
- Screw the lids on when the content is frozen (after about 24h).
Never put warm/hot jars in the freezer. Make sure everything is at room temperature or even better fridge temperature.
Still a bit worried about glass breaking? Use Pyrex glass that is freezer safe or use stainless steel containers.
On the go
Bringing your lunch with you is a great way to reduce waste and save you money by not going out for lunch. Reusable lunch bags are great for your homemade sandwiches. When not dirty (only crumbs) I just shake them out and use the bag again. When the bag is dirty, I turn them inside out and simply put them in the washing machine. These bags are made with PUL and can be used over and over again saving you a lot of disposable plastic bags. These bags are also great as a small snack bag for kids.
If you don’t like bread for lunch, you could opt for a stainless steel lunchbox. These are dishwasher friendly, lightweight and some even microwave safe (check beforehand!). Some are also insulated to keep your meal warm for hours.
I hope these tips help you save plastic and opt for more sustainable options to store food leftovers.
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