Whether you're transporting a hot casserole dish to a potluck or simply taking a meal for a sick friend, packaging your food in the correct food container can help to ensure that it not only doesn't spoil but also preserves its freshness. Furthermore, you don't want all of your efforts to be in vain. In this blog, we'll go over the several types of food containers that are used to transport food items, as well as the best selection for you. Let's get started.
Types of Food Storage Containers
Mentioned below are some of the most common types of containers that are used for food storage:
1) Plastic Containers
Credit: Envato Elements/ karandaev
Plastic containers are a popular alternative for airtight food storage and are frequently utilized for a variety of storage needs due to their multiple sizes. They are useful for meal prepping both wet and dry food. They are made of lightweight materials and can be stiff or semi-stiff. While stiff containers keep their shape and can carry a variety of solid meals, semi-stiff containers are better suited for dry and some liquid foods, such as pasta sauces. However, keep in mind that plastic is neither dishwasher nor microwave safe.
While plastic containers are extremely convenient for food storage, they are not the safest materials. Storing extremely hot dishes in plastic containers, for example, might cause the containers to melt and deform. Furthermore, constantly reusing the same plastic containers can cause the material to degrade. This can contaminate your food.
2) Stainless Steel Containers
Stainless steel is a long-lasting material that is ideal for food storage. Because it is non-reactive, it will not leach chemicals into your meals. Additionally, it's dishwasher-safe and freezer safe. But keep in mind that this material is safe to use in the oven but not in the microwave. Stainless steel not only prevents heat from radiating through your meal when in the microwave, but it can also harm your device and possibly cause a fire.
When shopping for stainless steel containers, look for those with tight-fitting and leak-proof lids. Often, stainless steel containers include plastic lids to ensure a tight fit. This keeps your food fresh and prevents spills.
3) Ceramic Containers
Credit: Asian Oriental Furniture
Ceramic is another safe food storage option. It will not catch odors or flavors from your food since it is non-porous. Additionally, this material is easy to clean and reusable. While ceramic is not the finest material for transporting hot food over long distances, it is ideal for short distances. When shopping for ceramic containers, look for those that are oven-safe and lead-free.
4) Glass Containers
Credit: Envato Elements/ FabrikaPhoto
Glass food storage containers are both practical and safe. They are non-porous and have a good seal. This helps to preserve the freshness of the food. This material can also withstand temperature changes at both extremes. As a result, they are safe to use in an oven or refrigerator.
Additionally, glass is a non-toxic and safe material that will not leach toxins into your food. It's also easy to clean and can be reused multiple times.
When selecting glass containers, make sure they are tempered or heat-resistant. Glass containers with bamboo lids are a great option.
Which Is the Best Material for Transporting Food?
If you've cooked a hot or cold meal and want to retain its temperature, stainless steel is the ideal material to use. It not only keeps your food at the proper temperature, but it also does not react with it or absorb odors like plastic.
While ceramic, glass, and plastic are good for cold food storage, they are not suitable for storing hot food. When exposed to extremely high temperatures, plastic tends to melt, whereas glass and ceramic can crack. Because of its high thermal inertia, stainless steel can preserve freshness. As a result, your meal will last longer. Furthermore, stainless steel will last for years, saving you money in the long run. It's a low-maintenance, recyclable material.
Factors to Consider When Shopping for Food Storage Containers
Whether you choose plastic, stainless steel, glass, or ceramic, there are a few factors to consider to get the best value for your money:
Credit: Envato Elements/ LightFieldStudios
Durability is an important factor that will determine how long your food container will last you. Just because a food storage container is a best seller does not guarantee that it will last you for years. To ensure the durability of the material, look for reviews and do your research.
2) Thermal Insulation
Credit: Super Healthy Kids
Do you want to buy a container that can keep your food warm for a long time? The best container for retaining heat has multiple layers of insulation. When it comes to stainless steel containers, you can choose between 2 and 6 layers of insulation. The former can keep meals hot for up to two hours, while the latter can keep meals hot for at least 24 hours.
3) Look for BPA-Free Alternatives
Many food storage containers contain dangerous chemicals, such as BPA, which can seep into your food. To avoid this, search for "BPA-free" containers that are safe for food storage. Additionally, avoid using containers made of PVC or polycarbonate.
4) Airtight and Leakproof
Credit: Envato Elements/ ellinnur
If you are going to be traveling with your food over long distances, you should invest in a food container with a tight seal to prevent spills. A good seal not only helps to provide a leakproof framework but also helps food keep fresher for longer.
Credit: Envato Elements/ tenkende
If you are going to be using your food container to transport food, the shape of your food container is crucial. You want something that can stack neatly and isn't too bulky that it will take up too much space. When carrying soups or other liquids, avoid using wide-mouth jars to avoid spills. Choose food containers with a medium but not too small mouth to avoid having to pack your meals in multiple containers.
When it comes to transporting food, you have a plethora of options to choose from. Before making a decision, make sure to consider all of your possibilities. And, if you want to keep your food cold for an extended amount of time, use dry ice packs from Nice Packs. These ice packs can last three to four times longer than ice cubes or gel packs.