All of us at Remodelista have been trying to banish plastic from our lives for a while now, some more successfully than others. But without succumbing to containers with plastic parts, such as lids, how best to stow leftovers and kitchen staples? My clean-living brother, Rob, posed the question, and here are our answers.
Above: Julie has her eye on Kaico Maru Enamel Canister from Japan. Made of scratch-resistant enameled steel, they have a vacuum seal and range from $45 to $55 at Muhs Home. For more on the line, see Kaico Cookware by Koizumi Studio. N.B.: Vintage glass refrigerator containers are plentiful on Above: As a longtime collector of old kitchen things, my pick goes to Anchor’s vintage-style glass food storage containers—lidded boxes made from the company’s original 1932 molds. They can be heated in the oven and microwave, and stack well in the fridge. A 5-Cup Storage Dish with Lid is $27.99 on Amazon. eBay and Etsy in a range of shapes, sizes, and colors, often for less than $10. Also notable but pricier: vintage jadeite containers. Take a look at Martha Stewart’s Collection.
Above: Remodelista contributor Megan Wilson uses Indian tiffin boxes as lunch boxes and also as leftovers containers–read her Object Lesson on the Trusty Tiffin Box. This stainless steel Two-Tier Indian Tiffin is $15.89 from Amazon. Above: We singled out Weck Storage Jars from Germany in the Remodelista book as one of our everyday favorites. They come in a variety of sizes (a sampling from Schoolhouse Electric shown here, priced from $3 to $8). Sarah swears by her Weck collection for containing everything from last night’s pasta to soup to dried beans. She also likes 16-ounce Ball Jars for storing food, and notes, “The Weck tops fit on the Ball jars too, so really useful.”
Above: Designed in 1953 by Kaj Franck, these ceramic, Finnish-modern classics have been reintroduced by Iittala in colors to match Franck’s Teema Tableware. Oven- and microwave-safe, Purnukka Jars are available at Panik Design.
Above: A tiffin spin-off, the stainless-steel Divided Airtight Container has four compartments and is 7 5/8 inches in diameter; $30 from Food52. Above: Another classic canning jar, Le Parfait Jars from France are currently available starting at $5.49 each at The Container Store. Above: A favorite of Megan’s–and available at her shop, Ancient Industries–the Ice-Box Box, she says, is “for lashings of mash and peas,” and ideal “for those who have no intention of ever attending a Tupperware party.” Made by revived LA pottery Bauer, they’re 5 3/4 inches in diameter, 2 1/2 inches tall, and designed to stack; $45 each. Bauer also offers the containers in 15 colors. Above: “It’s hard to find containers that are countertop worthy,” says Janet. “I’m thinking about replacing mine with these Enamel Canisters by Riess.” Made in Riess’s century-old factory in Austria, they have ash lids with airtight seals and come in four sizes; $38 to $58 at Joinery. See more kitchenware by Riess in Object Lessons: The Pastel Enamel Pot. Read about a similar product in Justine’s post Above: A great cling wrap alternative, Bee’s Wrap is organic cotton muslin that’s impregnated with bee’s wax, jojoba oil, and tree resin–it warms to the touch and gets malleable and then stiffens and seals. Yes, it’s washable and reusable. Cheryl and Janet both swear by it for wrapping cheese, fruit, and vegetables, and for covering bowls (“It’s slightly adhesive; think Post-it note glue,” says Cheryl). It’s available in a range of sizes, including a Bee’s Baguette Wrap. A good starter, Bee’s Wrap Set of 3 is $20 from Food52. The line is also sold directly by Bee’s Wrap. Banish the Plastic Wrap: Bees to the Rescue.
Above: Portland, Oregon, studio potter Lillith Rockett makes these wheel-thrown Flat-Lidded Ceramic Containers of translucent porcelain with glazed interiors and unglazed, polished exteriors. For counter display and table use, an Extra-Small Container is $120.
For more ideas, including some good-looking glass options with plastic lids, see
10 Easy Pieces: Food Storage Containers.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on January 14, 2015 as part of our
Kitchen Secrets issue.