How to store food without plastic

How to store food without plastic

Plastic has seemingly become the number one way to store food and leftovers in the fridge, on the counter or in the freezer. Using ziplock bags or plastic wrap to store everything left and right. 

Most often we get the plastic from the grocery store like those little baggies for our produce and then we just leave our produce in those bags and plop them in the fridge.

But there has to be a better way. A better way to eliminate the overuse of plastic and help reduce food waste at the same time. After all, food waste is a huge contributor to climate change. 

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Here is your ultimate guide on how to store food without plastic:

At the grocery store:

I know this is a post about storing food without plastic but it all begins with how you get your food. Most people purchase their fruits and veggies using those little plastic baggies that the store provides and then just store those items in those bags in the fridge. 

There’s really little point in using those bags only to throw them out and store them without plastic.

Why not cut out the middle man altogether and use some reusable produce bags

In the fridge:

Now that you’re not using those plastic baggies, you may be wondering how to store your produce. Do you just put it in the fridge uncovered? Well, you could. But when was the last time you cleaned the inside of your fridge? (Yeah…me too.)

There are a few different ways to store your produce and different items need different storage solutions. 

1. In water – Produce like carrots, celery, leeks, and asparagus can be stored in water. You can use a glass jar filled with water to stand them upright or you can use a glass container to submerge the product in water. Submerging works best for carrots, I’ve found.

If these items have already been in your fridge for a little with and are feeling a little limp or rubbery it’s best to slice a small chunk from the bottom of the veg and stand it upright in water for revival.

It’s best to change the water every few days for this method.

how to store food without plastic

2. In a towel – For lettuce and leafy greens, make a small towel or tea towel damp, lay the greens down and then roll them up in the towel.

This keeps the leafy veggies moist and crisp while still allowing it to breathe.

how to store food without plastic

how to store food without plastic

3. For leftovers – Usually, the first thing we reach for when it comes to leftovers is plastic wrap. 

Now, I don’t like most plastics but when it comes to plastic wrap or those produce bags from the grocery store, I just get really upset. They’re the thin, useless, awful plastic that I can’t seem to justify.

So instead of that, try beeswax wraps instead. They’re all-natural and biodegradable and perfect for wrapping up loose veggies and food items, covering cups and cans and work really well for when you can’t find a lid for the bowl you’re using. 

Another great solution is silicone stretch lids. These can stretch over almost any bowl or container if you can’t find a lid and the smaller ones work perfectly for slipping over vegetables, fruits or drinks. 

how to store food without plastic

In the freezer:

Glass, glass, glass! It is probably the number one way to store food in the freezer!

Now, I know almost everyone reading this right now is thinking “Glas?! Omg! That could break!” And yes, yes it could. But I have some amazing tips on how to prevent that and as long as you’re not throwing your glass into the freezer, it shouldn’t be a problem, trust me. 

1. Jars – You can freeze just about anything in jars from leftover lasagna, bread, cookies, fruits, veggies, and liquids.

If you can fit it in a jar, you can freeze it in a jar. 

Here are a couple of things to remember when using a jar in the freezer:

  • Don’t use jars that have a narrow mouth. Try to use jars with mouths as wide as the jar itself. A little tapering is ok, but don’t use anything too dramatic.
  • Never fill your jar all the way to the top. Especially when freezing liquids. Liquids naturally expand when they freeze and if you don’t leave enough room, the jar will break. Try to least a least an inch of space at the top if not more.
  • Don’t put hot jars in the freezer and allow your food to cool slightly before putting them in the jars. 
  • Do not thaw frozen jars in hot water. Let them defrost at room temp.

Make sure to choose a quality jar to ensure the glass can withstand temperature change and don’t forget to label your jars! I swear by this label maker

how to store food without plastic

2. Glassware containers – Alternatively you could store food in the freezer using these glass containers. Because they have a plastic snap lid I don’t recommend freezing liquids in them. 

3. Stainless steel containersStainless steel is also really great for freezing food in and is less breakable than glass. (If you’re a little nervous.)

4. Stasher bags – I’m surprised it took me this long to talk about my stasher bags. I’m obsessed. Stasher bags are basically reusable silicone ziplock bags and they’re amazing. You can use them for just about any kind of food storage and they work really well in the freezer too. 

how to store food without plastic

5. Ice cube trays – Ice cube trays are amazing for freezing liquids and herbs. You can also use it to store tomato paste or jam that’s about to go bad. One section is the perfect portion size. 

Related reading:

10 Zero waste swaps you’ll actually use

Zero Waste kitchen

Why the zero waste movement isn’t sustainable

I would go as far as to say that plastic is completely unnecessary when it comes to storing your food. As long as you have the right equipment.

It does take some extra thought to break our old habits of using plastic wrap and plastic baggies, but it is possible.

I hope you found this post helpful! If you did, please don’t forget to share this post and follow me on Instagram for daily low waste living tips. 

how to store food without plastic

 

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