Maintaining a high-quality set of plastic or glass food storage containers is easy, as long as you follow the right procedures. You may find yourself washing your hands a little more often, but trust me when I say it’s worth it to not have to put everything in a pile of discoloured containers from tomato sauce (or worse, having to throw out a week’s worth of beautifully made food because they expired too soon). See our top picks for food storage containers here, and then adhere to the fuss-free maintenance guidelines that follow.
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How To Make Food Storage Container Last Longer
Ensure the safety of your containers in the microwave
It is important to reiterate that heating plastic containers that are not marked as “microwave safe” can be hazardous. Another aspect that many people seem to take for granted is microwave safety, which isn’t the case for all storage containers.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the label on containers, so be sure to look for it before cooking or reheating anything in the microwave.
The FDA states that some plastic containers should not be used because heated food may cause them to melt. Using glass, ceramic, and plastic containers that are marked for use in microwave ovens is advised by the FDA.
Plate leftovers before putting them in the microwave
Transferring leftovers especially colourful, highly acidic, and/or fatty items like spaghetti and meatballs will prevent your priceless food storage containers from becoming permanently damaged or deteriorated, even if you’re confident that they can technically be heated in the microwave.
It’s a good idea to plate leftovers before reheating them to preserve the quality of the container. Naturally, you’re good to go if your container is made of glass; just make sure to take off the plastic lid.
Apply a thin layer of cooking spray to the container
This is a somewhat unexpected tip for keeping plastic containers stain-free: Before you fill the container with food, lightly cover the inside with cooking oil. Even when storing the gravest of leftovers, the oil creates a thin layer between the food and the plastic that helps prevent stains from occurring in the future.
Use only the top rack in the dishwasher and make sure they are safe
Once more, read the labels carefully and only put clean, clearly marked “dishwasher safe” items in the dishwasher. Even dishwasher-safe lids may deform due to the intense heat of the appliance; therefore, you should hand wash your most valuable plastic containers.
If you must, however, throw them on the top rack of the dishwasher; however, keep in mind that the bottom rack is closest to the hot element and is, therefore, more likely to melt the plastic.
As soon as the containers are empty, give them a quick rinse
As with your cookware and dinnerware, the longer food is allowed to dry in a food storage container, the harder it is to clean and the more probable it is that the surface may be stained for months thereafter by the leftovers of your roasted vegetables. Rinse the container with hot water as soon as you spoon leftovers onto a serving plate.