Three Things to Consider Before Buying Food Storage Containers

Food refrigerated inside airtight containers extends the shelf life of leftovers.

When it comes to storing leftovers, the truth is any used margarine or yogurt tub will do in a pinch. Just clean it out, load it up, and upcycle that non-descript plastic container with a clear conscience. But don’t put it in the microwave, or the freezer, or the dishwasher—unless you want a BPA-laden bowl to become part of your next meal. For maximum shelf life and utility, it’s best to keep a few purpose-built storage bins in rotation. They’re microwaveable, dishwasher-safe, and engineered to keep second helpings as fresh as the first. Here are a few things to consider before you buy more.

If you don’t want to clean a mess, reheat food in covered dishes that release steam or air pressure. Rubbermaid

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A food storage bin’s primary purpose is to keep freshness in and air out. To get the most out of your collection, consider microwaveable containers with vented lids. They stay sealed in the fridge, but thanks to a pressure-relief valve you can pop leftovers straight into the microwave without worrying the contents will bubble over or erupt in messy splatters. Just remember to open the vent before heating.

These airtight bins let you see what’s inside without removing the top. Rubbermaid

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When stocking a new kitchen, invest in a set of storage bins designed to work together. Having an assortment of sizes means you will always have just the right bin close at hand, and the pieces in a set usually nest or stack together to conserve shelf space and help keep your pantry and fridge organized.

These large boxes can hold large quantities of baking ingredients in your pantry. OXO

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While storage sets are the foundation of a well-equipped kitchen, owning a few large, individual pieces is important for staples like sugar, flour, rice, and pasta. Think about the volume of each that you usually keep on hand and size individual bins accordingly.