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How do you store your left overs?

 
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Bachelor member of Tuperware Team checking in -- namely those red, snap-together Easy Find lids.  I've purchased 2-3 "sets" of those plus extra 2c boxes, and right now I have 4 bowls (2c) and 2 mugs (1.25c) of frozen soup in my freezer.

I don't like the idea of disposable plastic either, but so long as the boxes don't get a gravity assist, they're fine.  I've lost two in the last five years, and they get regular workouts from freezer storage to daily lunchbox organization.

I will use ziplocks when freezing meat.  I use plastic grocery veggie bags, but I make a point to stuff them in my grocery pack and reuse them several times.  I'm nowhere near the 173 reuses of a cloth bag for the material breakeven, but I'm nontrivially closer.

I've used Pyrex before.  It's heavy, chip/break prone, and sometimes grows legs from the office fridge.  It's really the weight that concerns me, oddly.

...

As for _heating_ leftovers, if you use a microwave, look into a plastic or ceramic plate cover.  Reduces splatters, reusable, dishwashable.  A former roommate had one, and it was on the short must-have list when I moved out.
A close second is the frying pan.  If I'm not heating something obvious like soup, sometimes I'll chop everything fine and run it through a stir fry, maybe with something new and fresh to keep the dish interesting.
 
pollinator
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Lorinne Anderson wrote:***warning, not necessarily "true" permie friendly!
Laurel,
I too am a batch cooker, with my life it is the only option.  Like you, I freeze things individually, by portion and ingredient so things are easily mixed and matched to create a multitude of finished products.  I too tried the multiple versions of glass storage containers and silicone reuseable bags but as you found, they seem to all have plastic lids and/or did NOT like the freezer or traveling.  They chipped, cracked, leaked or otherwise failed in the freezer to table journey and I would find us slipping back into the blasted disposable zip locks, plastic film, single use plastics, and the worst - prepackaged frozen meals.  So I compromised.

Yes, they are plastic, but, I have been using them for a year now without a single failure. I bought three bulk kits and a bunch of smaller kits (about $200 in all) - something that would not have been affordable in any glass option for the quantities I require.  ALL the other containers went to thrift, every blasted one, so NO MORE SEARCHING FOR LIDS!!!

After much research and thought about what I disliked MOST about the 'mish mash' of plastic containers/lids filling over three cabinets I chose the Rubbermaid line of Easy Find Lids  ( https://www.rubbermaid.com/easy-find-lids.html ).  Not only are they quite economical when bought in kits, SOMEONE finally cracked the storage issue of 'food storage' containers; they come in three basic sizes for EACH size of lid, GENIUS!!!  Now one lid fits three containers with the same dimensions, just different volumes (they get taller), all three of each size stack together perfectly, and the lids (if you choose) snap to the bottom of the container.  Last, but not least, the mid size one comes with a VENTED lid for use in the microwave, pop the center vent and go from freezer to table without ever messing with a frozen container.  I get it, neither microwave use or plastic use of any sort is ideal, or permie.  At times one must compromise for the sake of family harmony and the reality of the world many of us live in.

For liquids, rice, cooked ground meat etc. I put directly into the containers; other items like cooked chicken parts are frozen on a metal sheet, then transferred to containers.  I am never happier then when my 21 cu ft "meal ready"/upright freezer is packed full!

Most offices/workplaces do not offer any option for reheating food that is NOT a microwave, sad but true.  In this instance, my choice was for healthy, home cooked food over packaged crap and horrific waste; a compromise that may not suit everyone, but I prefer to focus on the benefits rather than beat myself up for not being perfect - part way is better than no way.

https://www.rubbermaid.com/easy-find-lids.html



We came to the exact same conclusion about 8 years ago. We use the same type and brand of containers too.  I also like the Zip Loc Twist and Lock  containers for short term liquid storage.   While I would love to switch to glass I have hand grip  and proprioception problems  that make glass containers a frequent breaking hazard.  Glass containers with condensation on them are a real problem for me in my humid climate so we use plastic containers to reduce trips to reduce the need for stiches.  
 
Kate Muller
pollinator
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For freezer bags I buy 4 mill thick zip top bags from a restaurant supply web site for use in my freezer.  They are food grade and more durable than ziplock brand freezer bags.  I like that I can wash and reuse them several times before they start springing leaks.  While they are not as healthy as glass containers  they do allow me to store meats from local pasture raised animals and my own home grown produce.  

These are the bags I buy.  I also use the half gallon and the 2 gallon size.  
https://www.webstaurantstore.com/10-x-12-1-gallon-heavy-weight-seal-top-freezer-bag-pack/130F41012K%20%20100.html
 
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john mcginnis wrote:

jeff Swart wrote:

I am, however, rather disgusted with the canning jar rings and lids available over the past decade or so - they rust almost immediately and then become difficult to use - been meaning to write the companies about that e.g., Ball - danged obsolesce engineering

Cheers



If rusty rings are a turn off, go stainless steel. Gosh even Walmart (cough, cough) have them. They are pricey, but considering they are reusable if care is taken, the cost would not be that bad over a lifetime.



Thanks John
It's one of those things I grouse about every time I have a hard time opening a rusty lid (ring) but haven't got around to searching for alternatives. I like the stainless idea, and, by the way, as an alternative to Walmart & Amazon I just came across them at True Leaf Market - True Leaf Market
and at the 12 pack rate they're cheaper than one's I saw at Walmart!!!
 
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Skandi Rogers wrote:
I have a couple of wax wraps but I really don't find much use for them, they can't be used with anything that actually is "dirty" since they cannot be cleaned properly, (cold water is not considered proper cleaning by the dishwasher in this house) and cannot go in the freezer. they get wrapped round bread and sometimes over one of the larger mixing bowls.



We've got a few beeswax wraps and I use them for bread making and pie crust wrappers. I feel like the slightly soapy cool water isn't hurting my wraps too much. Rarely it'll be used to cover something else in a mixing bowl, but it's not touching anything.

We use lots of pyrex for leftovers and lunches. I'm not a fan of the snap type lids, but my partner is. My older set of pyrex has the regular kind of plastic lid and on ebay I've found a fellow who makes replacement lids should mine crack or get microwaved, warp and die. The shipping makes them a bit more than I'd like to pay, but then the life of my glass bowls is again for years. And thrift shops often have the containers sans the lids of course. So it's just a matter of ordering lids.

If your glass is cracking and chipping, it wasn't made to be used like that. Not all glassware is created equal. Dishwashers are really hard on them I've noticed from other households.

I've got some vintage pyrex with the glass lids too. Those are more for cooking in than storage though.

We've got some reusable plastic containers too. I haven't been replacing those once they die. A few make their way to the greenhouse to hold dirt or seeds when they start to break down. You know that kinda bubbled, scarred look. When we moved to save space, most of those got recycled. I've only got handful left.

Mason jars galore! Soups, broths, salsas, veg puree, sometimes even snackies if we're going places. Way better than a Ziploc then we use it something else or even a glass to drink out of. I really like seeing the bento boxes or the metal container, but can't pop those in a microwave. I'm surprised at the number of folks who didn't know about putting glass in the freezer.  Non canning jars seem to bust in the freezer for me. Another one of those not all glass is created equal thing I believe.
 
gardener
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jeff Swart wrote: I like the stainless idea, and, by the way, as an alternative to Walmart & Amazon I just came across them at True Leaf Market - True Leaf Market
and at the 12 pack rate they're cheaper than one's I saw at Walmart!!!



Thanks Jeff and bonus points for not being on Amazon
 
pioneer
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I use pyrex glass, and mason or other jars, re-using the used two part lids that were used for canning previously.  All used for leftovers, lunches, freezing.  I do use freshsaver bags for freezing meat and soup/chili/stew.   Those get washed and reused multiple times.

Oh and YES to the microwave lid!  I even brought one to work for the microwave there, back when we went into work, but some people did not seem to know what it was for.. even with a note on the microwave lol

Sandy
 
pollinator
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Kate: YES to the ziploc twist lids!  That was the single product that as not removed when we got the Rubbermaid EasyStore sets.  I use them mostly for food that stains  (tomatoes,  watermelon etc), as it irks me that they just don't "look" clean!
 
Lorinne Anderson
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My favorite replacement for plastic film is the stretchy, round, multi size silicone 'lids' (buyer beware,  not All are silicone) for every thing from direct application to the 'cut edge' of fruits or vegetables, to lids for tins (pet foods, tuna, soup cans) or large casseroles and bowls.

They require little to no storage space, wash easily,  ate inexpensive  and bonus, they create replacement lids for expensive containers whose lids are lost, damaged  (thrift store finds) or never came with one.

The largest ones easily snap over the cut end of watermelon,  the mid size is great for cantaloupe, the smaller ones for cut onion, orange, lemon, apple.  The smaller one is also cup or mug size, and was a solid solution as a lid for a scouring powder (Bartenders Friend - saves everything from corroded pots/pans [copper,  stainless, aluminum,  ceramic...] to glass topped stoves: oxalic acid based) that would have quickly become useless if not covered by plastic film and a rubber band.

***tried to add pictures but there must be a bug somewhere that is not allowing me to "choose file" from my phone... will try to edit  and add from computer.


20220118_144046.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20220118_144046.jpg]
 
pioneer
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Edward Norton wrote:... so replaced them with glass containers and now I don’t even have a microwave.
What do you use?


I bought a bunch of square plastic containers in a variety of sizes. Leftovers and bulk-made meals go in the containers, but I reheat in a pan on the range or in a glass or ceramic dish in the microwave.  I don't put plastics in the microwave at all. In fact, I don't actually use it for anything except reheating.

Yeah, it creates one more dish to clean but I don't mind that.

For veggies, I generally open the bag that I purchased them in and stand them up in the vege bin.  I also have some "green bags" that work like a charm and will last me for the next 10 years or more.

For freezing things, I'm using freezer plastic bags for the most part, but at least they are reusable.  Can I use the waxed cloth you're talking about as a freezer wrap? Lord knows I have enough old cotton pillowcases and beeswax (leftover from a failed candle-making attempt) that I can at least give it a roll. I'll look up more info in the forums here.

Thanks!
 
master pollinator
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for stuff in big pots or pizza bought in we're willing to leave stuff on the stove or counter for 2-3 days as long as it isn't a cream-based soup or something (we don't use meat-stuff). We're OK freezing stuff in plastic tubs as long as it won't be heated later; so let it thaw and flop it into a porcelain bowl or pan or whatever. But mostly for 1/2/4 servings of something we have these glass bowls with silicone and glass lids that work great and stack OK up to 3-high. Stuff like half an unused onion might get wrapped in a wax/linen thing or might go into a sandwich baggie. An unfinished block of cheese is usually wrapped in plastic.
 
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I store my leftovers in my tummy.  Honestly, I never understood why people cook more than they can eat.  I understand cooking in bulk and freezing or otherwise storing meals for future use, but leftovers?  Pay attention to portion size and clean your plate!  This is a hot button for me since I stopped using refrigerators and freezers several years ago.  It has been very liberating!
 
pollinator
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jack - We are very fond of leftovers. I cook quite elaborate meals and we like eating the leftovers for other meals, like lunches or breakfasts. I love soup for breakfast. I would not want to have to cook something fresh for every meal. Also, I don't always know how many of us will be here for dinner or how hungry everyone will be.
 
jack vegas
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Stacy - I appreciate your position.  In fact it reminds me of some of the positive reasons I miss refrigeration.  Some things actually taste better the next day after flavors have blended and matured.  Maybe that's why some are traditional "leftover" foods.  Things like meatloaf, soups, stews, curries, and pasta sauce come to mind.  I used to make a Marsala sauce that we didn't even eat the first day.
 
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I have a friend who's family will not eat leftovers. So she keeps her pressure canner on the stove and at the end of the meal she cans the leftovers. They go on the shelf and the next time she pulls them out they are not leftovers but fresh canned food.
 
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I can't imagine not eating leftovers, though honestly as a single person you could easily call what I make 'batch cooking'. I've been trying to move to storing in glass and beeswax wraps. but it's very hard to get away from the plastic. I think I need to find a few bigger pieces because most of mine are too small for things like large batches of soup and I end up using far too many mason jars.

Though honestly, and this may be a little weird to people, I'm coveting my mom's flour and sugar jars because they are the best - large, glass, with sturdy glass tops. Of course, usually we don't tell people that they are my great-uncle's old specimen jars from when he was a dean of anatomy at University of Pennsylvania. My great-uncle still has a few in his house and when he passes away (hopefully not for a very long time because he is the sweetest man you have ever met and the world will be a greyer place without him in it), I'm going to have to fight my sister for them. I figure as long as I give them a few good cleanings it doesn't really matter what was in them in the 70s, right?
 
Saralee Couchoud
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I use gallon glass pickle jars. We have a little mom and pop place that sells pickles individually and then sells the empty jars for $1. For a while I had a connection with the sports snack bar at school and got the empty ones their. They are great for leftovers, flour, sugar and lots of things I want to keep bugs out of
 
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We use vintage refrigerator containers, some of which are Pyrex, others not. Each has a flat lid and they stack well. We got them at thrift sores, antique shops and ebay. They're not expensive, glass, so won't leach, and you aren't buying at a big box or chain store. They come in all sizes, colors, or clear.
 
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How do I store leftovers? I usually use the pot cooked in or dish served in, or combine all the leftovers into the smallest serving dish. Use either the top to the pot, inverted with knob down so that other things may be placed atop it in the fridge. Or, I find a plate that fits the top of the serving dish. that way I don't have to wash that pot or dish yet, and it can be used tomorrow to reheat the food too. Who else does this? It means we don't have to buy any official storage containers. We also reuse packaging, of course, the quintessential quart yogurt container that stacks easily in the drawer. Lately I have been looking at food packaging before purchase, to determine if it can double as food storage. Maybe someone else has already brought this up. I haven't read all of the comments yet, just about 10.
 
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I haven’t used disposable plastic in about 2 years since getting a bunch of Stasher bags. I freeze them, stick them in the oven.

Otherwise I use mason jars and glass bowls with lids.

I did just have my first Stasher somehow get a hole, I believe it’s repairable with aquarium grade silicone. But I’m not sure if that inhibits its thermal ability to go in the oven, for instance.

If that’s the case, I now have a broken Stasher.

As a lonely vegan with no one to share the burden, I often cook complex meals that last 4-6 days and I pickle tons of vegetables, so the fridge is always crammed. They are usually so good that I do not tire of the meal and always have leftovers.
 
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I've read through this thread and haven't found much about freezing meat without plastic bags or plastic-coated butcher paper. I live in a rural desert area and try to limit my trips to town to twice a month, so those are grocery stock up days. I've used butcher paper for years, but it's plastic coated and single use. Ziplock bags would be a step forward since they can be reused.  Does anyone have a better solution that will keep frozen meat safely and without freezer burn?
 
Saralee Couchoud
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I saw something on one of those homesteading sites about coating fabric with bees wax and using that. When done just wipe off. If the wax starts to wear just recoat it
 
Jeff Steez
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Missy Hall wrote:I've read through this thread and haven't found much about freezing meat without plastic bags or plastic-coated butcher paper. I live in a rural desert area and try to limit my trips to town to twice a month, so those are grocery stock up days. I've used butcher paper for years, but it's plastic coated and single use. Ziplock bags would be a step forward since they can be reused.  Does anyone have a better solution that will keep frozen meat safely and without freezer burn?



The Stasher bags I mentioned are endlessly reusable as long as you don’t rip them. But they’re not that suited for large quantities. They do have some bigger ones though.
 
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vintage glass storage with loose but fitted glass lids from thrift stores are great and do stack In refrigerator

Vintage Pyrex with glass loose lid but do not stack great for shallow shelf in freezer, things like extra spaghetti sauce

Pan with lid, quick to reheat

Reuse bread bags for breads in freezer

Cracker and cereal liners shake out cleanly and can be wonderful for reuse for dry storage on counter, in fridge, or freezer

Plate to cover bowl in fridge

Serve one side in a large vintage thrifted “flavor-savors”  plastic container that has lid so most leftovers of meal can be conveniently put together for next meal

Thrift store and garage sale to purchase solutions …. Don’t buy new





 
pollinator
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If it is a leftover that was on my plate, I will just stick the whole thing in the fridge and make sure to have it the next day. Hubby wants the convenience of plastic, though. AAAargh!
If it fits in a Mason jar, like ratatouille for example I'll do that too. More problematic are pieces of chicken, pork chops, steak... Then I might use aluminum wrap, but I don't like that waste.
 
master gardener
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My question to those who use their cooking vessels for storage, what do you do when you've already had a meal or two, and there's still some left, but you want something else, for the next meal, but your pot/pan is in the fridge with not enough leftovers for everyone, but too much to waste/ compost? I can almost always find use for small amounts of leftovers, but often Move them to the freezer, until I've collected enough to do anything with. After a second meal of a particular item, I'm ready to move on to something else for a few meals, before revisiting those leftovers, yet again. Life happens, and sometimes (especially with livestock or large families, emergency room visits, escaped livestock, etc) it can interrupt a meal...
 
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Carla Burke wrote:My question to those who use their cooking vessels for storage, what do you do when you've already had a meal or two, and there's still some left, but you want something else, for the next meal, but your pot/pan is in the fridge with not enough leftovers for everyone, but too much to waste/ compost? I can almost always find use for small amounts of leftovers, but often Move them to the freezer, until I've collected enough to do anything with. After a second meal of a particular item, I'm ready to move on to something else for a few meals, before revisiting those leftovers, yet again. Life happens, and sometimes (especially with livestock or large families, emergency room visits, escaped livestock, etc) it can interrupt a meal...




I usually just turn previous leftovers into something new.  Simple curry become more complex curry, which in turn becomes even more complex curry.  Chicken kabsa becomes chicken masala.  Left over steak becomes pho.  So on and so forth.
 
Cletus Hatfield
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Missy Hall wrote:I've read through this thread and haven't found much about freezing meat without plastic bags or plastic-coated butcher paper. I live in a rural desert area and try to limit my trips to town to twice a month, so those are grocery stock up days. I've used butcher paper for years, but it's plastic coated and single use. Ziplock bags would be a step forward since they can be reused.  Does anyone have a better solution that will keep frozen meat safely and without freezer burn?



I'm working towards not freezing meat.  Different preservation techniques can easily see you through two weeks.  Filipino adobo, or any acidic braise, and last for days sitting on your stove top as long as it gets reheated.  The Indonesian dish beef rendang takes a mild beef curry and transforms it into something extraordinary in a process that could in theory last at least a week.  Curing, a la bacon, will preserve meats for weeks.  Biltong, beef jerky, etc.  Many options to avoid having to deal with plastic wrapped meat and/or freezers/fridges.  
 
pollinator
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I know this isn't the answer to the question asked, but I was wondering if you considered not having leftovers?  For me, all of my meals start with leftovers from the last meal usually still in the pot I cooked them in.  For example, leftover vegetables often become an omelet, an ingredient on a pizza, a quiche, burrito, etc.  For any leftover, instead of thinking of it as the final product, I think of the ingredients.  For example if it is a fruit, it might become pancake syrup or popover, or muffin ingredients.  If I am tired of it, it becomes, either chicken food, dog food or pig food.  Or, I used to have an ice cream bucket in the freezer where all leftovers got dumped in together and when it became full we had refrigerator soup for dinner with biscuits or corn bread.
 
pollinator
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Skandi Rogers wrote:I see a lot of over thinking here, leftovers go in the fridge in the saucepan they were cooked in with the lid on, if that is to big to fit then they go in in a bowl with a plate over the top.



This is what I do, too, mostly. I love my Corelle Livingware white bowls and plates, because they are designed to work together and stack efficiently, and they hold up well to microwave use. (Don't get their new Everyday Essentials line, which is very inferior to the original Vitrelle and has shattered on me several times in the microwave.)

I tried the beeswax wraps, and I just really don't see the point in them. They seem like more of a gimmick than anything else. I do have some of the Stasher-type silicone ziplock-type bags, and of all of them, I think I like the ones that stand up because I can put things like salad veggie-type stuff in them and be able to see at a glance what I've got that needs to be used up soon.

I've got a ton of mason jars, and I do freeze in them, but my partner is very resistant to taking them out and defrosting them. He wants to be able to just nuke something. I'm going to try some of these for freezing up rice cooked in the solar oven and write RICE in big letters on the top and tell him just to pull one out and nuke it with his canned chili or beans or whatever.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09LYTTG4T/
 
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Instead of freezing extra leftovers as is, I dehydrate them. Sauces become like fruit leathers (works well for tomato sauce, tomatillo green sauce, etc). Beans and rice become crunchy. The volume is very much diminished. These are great for camping or for convenience meals. Some need to be refrigerated or frozen still. Some that are completely dry (beans or rice) can be stored in a jar at room temp.
 
Saralee Couchoud
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john mcginnis wrote:Same as a lot of people have mentioned:

* Overnights stay in the container they were cooked in.
* Soup left overs from the crockpot go into canning jars.
* hard cheeses we portion and dip in wax.

The one I have not heard mentioned is the use of silicone bags. Yes they are a bit pricey. But we have yet to lose one and some of them are approaching 10 years of use. We buy meats in bulk and portion them out into the bags. Can go from freezer to boiling water if that is a need. We don't have a need for 1 use plastic anymore with these around.



That's a good idea, where do you get the silicone bags. I've never seen them advertised
 
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Re: lids of canning jars.  Many of the standard store-bought food jars lids fit canning jars fine for in fridge storage (after opening the canned mason jars). When I give/loan a jar of my home canned jam I include one of those lids with it and ask for the ring back.  I often get the ring back that way
 
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This thread is a bit old, but I'd like to show what kind of jars we use: glass jars with glass lids. They are made for canning and I use them for that purpose. But I use them more often for food storage in the freezer or fridge. I even used the smaller jars in the oven to bake something like a small lasagne or pie.

I've chosen jars in different sizes (heights), with lids in all the same size. I've also got plastic lids; I use them for food like homemade mayonaise, but the glass lids are perfect in the freezer. And: they stack perfectly
IMG_20220731_150542589.jpg
jars in the freezer
jars in the freezer
 
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"That's a good idea, where do you get the silicone bags. I've never seen them advertised "

SaraLee I got my last batch off of Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Homelux-Theory-Reusable-Silicone-preserving/dp/B07QFNPD3W/ref=sr_1_9?crid=3IHTI4L2GKA72&keywords=silicone+bags+for+food+storage&qid=1659292025&sprefix=silicone+bags%2Caps%2C268&sr=8-9

I prefer the slider style closure it has never leaked.
 
Saralee Couchoud
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Thank you for the information
 
Rachel Royce
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Where do those amazing glass jars with glass lids come from?
 
karlijn vink
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Rachel Royce wrote:Where do those amazing glass jars with glass lids come from?



These jars are made for canning foods. We call it 'wecken', may be 'wecking' in English, because the brand name of these jars is Weck.
For canning you need a rubber seal between the jar and the lid and two or three little clamps to hold the lid until it is 'wecked'.
The clamps can be removed after heating and cooling down. The vacuum will keep the jar closed, unless your food goes bad and some colony of bacteria makes air.

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to link to a webshop. If not, let me know.
For now, you can see the jars I prefer here: https://weckenonline.com/weckpotten-en-inmaakglazen/weck-stortmodel

There is info about them on wikipedia:
wikipedia in Dutch: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wecken (just for the pictures, I guess you don't read Dutch)
wikipedia in English: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weck_jar

I use them for canning (wecking), but also for freezing or fridging food. The sort-of-cone-shape gives the food enough room to expand in the freezer, so the jars don't break. If you'd use other types/shapes of these jars, they could break.

 
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I use glass Pyrex, empty glass jars, anything that is glass.
 
The permaculture playing cards make great stocking stuffers: http://richsoil.com/cards
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