Kitchen Essentials: The Humble Storage Container

Storage Containers

The humble storage container is a kitchen essential–even if it’s not as glamorous as some kitchen hardware.

Food storage containers don’t rank in the A-list of kitchen gadgets like sleek Kitchen Aid stand mixers and shiny All-Clad cookware.  In fact, a lot of us muddle by with a random assortment of  yogurt cups and take out tubs–with dozens of even more random lids that never seem to fit anything.  Hence this article.

If you are interested in meals with any of these attributes–healthy, efficient, affordable, stress-free and/or tasty–then you need decent storage containers.  The yogurt cups and take out tubs can (mostly) be recycled. So recycle them now and get a set of sturdy containers that will last for years.  The rewards are many:

  • Enjoy Efficiency:  Absolutely begin doubling the amount of pasta, sweet potatoes, potatoes, rice, chicken, etc., etc., that you cook.  Extras stored in good containers will last perfectly for days, giving a good head start on later meals.
  • Get Healthy:  The previous trick is especially helpful when it comes to vegetables.  As long as you’re set up for washing and chopping, cut and store extras (vegetables hold up quite nicely in tight-seal containers.)  Then see if you don’t find more vegetables weaving their way into your meals.
  • Save on Stress:  Square containers are the best because they stack conveniently and maximize space in the frig.  They leave the refrigerator organized, with everything easy to view and remove.
  • Save Money:  Americans pitch enormous amounts of food.  Instead of pitching, start capturing leftovers in convenient storage containers and see what affordable (and healthy) snacks and lunches they make.  Plus, when I finally started transporting our foods in actual containers, I no longer lost food that exploded and leaked from unreliable yogurt cups.
  • Please Your Kids:  Homemade lunches ensure that your kids’ mid-day meals are healthful.  Good storage containers ensure that lunch won’t be splattered all over their lunch boxes–and it minimizes waste.

No question about it, good storage containers are an essential.  But maybe you’re having a couple nagging questions:

  1. What about plastic containers–are they safe?  Valid concern, with all the press lately about the dangers of plastic.  This is my solution to date:  I use glass for storing hot leftovers and reheating in a microwave; tight-seal plastics for transporting foods and storing vegetables.
  2. How many containers do I need?  If you’re just starting out, 15-20 pieces is not too much, since some will always be in use in the frig and some will be in the wash cycle.  Should it prove too much, pass some along to a friend or child setting up house.  Alternatively, they can be used to store and organize an array of other household items, from batteries and crafting supplies to nails and sprinkler parts.

How About a Quick, “White-Free” Snack

The previous post offered some theories about why it’s so hard to get the white out of our diets.  While that’s being resolved (BTW, please be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts), here’s an idea if you feel yourself getting sucked into a 4:00 p.m. “White Snack” attack.

As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense.  In this case, that means having a ready, handy, really tasty substitute for the pretzels, crackers, cookies and Goldfish that call to us from the vending machine.  One great option:  Wild Thyme’s Black Bean & Fresh Lime Hummus with Jicima Sticks.

  • Find the hummus at Vitamin Cottage or Whole Foods.  It’s got a little kick which is good for making you feel full.  (Wild Thyme’s will have a website soon, but in the meantime call 303.447.2133 for news of additional outlets in your area.)
  • Jicima is a big, roundish, tan vegetable that resembles a way-overgrown potato.  Peel
    Jicima:  Many people think it tastes like a cross between an apple and potato.  At any rate, they can be quite large but usually grocers are happy to cut them in half.

    Many people think jicima tastes like a cross between an apple and potato. They certainly get large like a potato and some get even bigger. If I can't use a whole one, the grocer has always been happy to cut one in half.

    off the tough skin with a paring knife, then cut into dipping sticks with a chefs knife.

  • 4 oz. Tupperware Snack Cups are perfect to carry dip to work.  Sandwich containers are good for jicima sticks.  Call toll free to order:  1.877.394.1258.
  • For some pretty color, throw in a few carrot sticks (or mini-carrots if you haven’t yet overdosed on them.)

Want to know more about jicima?  I found the image above on Mark’s Daily Apple, by Mark Sisson, author of The  Primal Diet.  Find out more about jicima and some additional ways to use up these behemoth vegetables at his blog.   While you’re there, check out his website for a critical look at the role of carbs in the mainstream American diet–and think twice before digging into that plate of white pasta!

%d bloggers like this: