It's no secret that we live in a world of plastics. Everywhere you look, plastic dominates everything from packaging to products themselves. Unfortunately, all this plastic has a real-world impact, with literal tons of non-biodegradable waste clogging up landfills and collecting in massive patches in the ocean.
So, it's no surprise that many people want to limit their plastic usage as much as possible. But that's much easier said than done. When it comes to food storage, plastic bags and storage containers are the norm, but are they the only option? You may be wondering, what can I use to freeze food instead of plastic?
Fortunately, there are quite a few options available, so let's break down all the eco-friendly solutions you can use for storing food in the freezer without plastic.
A Primer on Plastic Containers and Freeze Storage
Even if you're not worried about the environmental impact of using plastic bags and containers to store food, you may be concerned about the impact on you and your family's health. Plastics are made from various petrochemicals, many of which are toxic and stay inside your body for years without decomposing. Making matters worse is that these elements can build up over time, causing various health issues.
As a rule, if you have to use plastics for freezer storage, make sure they're freezer safe. Not all plastics are created equally, and those without a freezer-safe tag may deteriorate at sub-zero temperatures. Not only can they leach chemicals into your food, but they can also make it easier for freezer burn to set in.
Although many plastic containers are generally regarded as safe for freezer storage, you can utilize many alternatives to remove all doubt and worry from the situation. So, let's look at how to freeze food without using plastic.
Top Non-Plastic Freezer Storage Ideas
Glass is almost as abundant as plastic, but it doesn't come with any of the harmful side effects because it's made from sand and other binding agents, not petrochemicals like BPA. So, you can use and reuse glass containers without the risk of leaching anything into your food. Some examples of glass storage options include:
- Mason Jars - Some food items come inside mason jars, or you can buy packs of them at department stores. These jars work well for liquids and solids, and you can even drink from them if you're so inclined.
👉Premium strong high quality glass jars with silver lids -- 12 pieces 16 OZ mason glass jar set with silver screw lids,which is made of the highest quality materials for maximum durability and conv...
- Glass Tupperware - Pyrex is a leading brand that makes high-quality glass food storage containers. The best thing about Pyrex and other similar brands is that the containers are so versatile, including for microwave use.
24-PIECE SET: 12 Containers with 12 lids with various sizes and shapes for meal prep, storage leftovers, and all food storage needs. Set includes: 2 (12 oz), 1 (21.5 oz) 1 (35oz ) 2 (11 oz) 1 (17.5...
- Repurposed Glass Product Containers - Some products, like olives, come in glass containers can you can wash and reuse. Alternatively, if you're freezing these products before using them, you can simply stick them into the freezer as-is without transferring them to a new container.
Any Downsides to Using Glassware for Freezer Storage?
Glass expands and contracts based on temperature changes. As a rule, if the temperature changes too quickly from cold to hot (or vice versa), the material can shatter. Fortunately, unless you're using a commercial-grade blast freezer, you shouldn't have to worry about glass containers breaking in the freezer.
Instead, you have to be careful about damaging the container when thawing its contents. For example, if you run a frozen container under hot water, it could break in your hand, causing a huge mess and potentially cutting your hand. Similarly, you don't want to stick frozen glassware in the microwave to heat its contents.
Another potential downside of glassware is that it can break. While heavy-duty options like Pyrex are shatter-resistant, you must be careful when handling any glass containers. For example, microwaving this material can make it scalding hot, so you have to use heat-resistant gloves to remove a container.
Use Stainless Steel
While stainless steel food storage containers are not as common as glass or plastic, they are much more durable and versatile. When cleaned and cared for properly, stainless steel will last forever. Also, its composition means it doesn't rust, so you don't have to worry about damaging these containers when freezing and unfreezing them regularly.
FOOD FRIENDLY STORAGE-This set of food storage containers bring extra protection to your meals! Our airtight and leakproof lids seal in the freshness like no other. Leftovers or meals made for the ...
Unlike glass, stainless steel doesn't crack or break from sudden temperature changes. So, you could theoretically take a container from the freezer and pop it on the stove to heat what's inside without damaging the container. Conversely, if you cook something inside stainless steel, you could put it directly in the freezer. However, in this case, make sure the food cools down properly so you can avoid bacterial growth.
Any Downsides to Using Stainless Steel for Freezer Storage?
This material is much more stable and easier to use than glass, and it's built to last a lifetime. The primary issue is that stainless steel containers often cost much more than glass. However, considering that they'll last for decades and you won't have to replace them, the higher price might be worth the investment.
Another potential issue is that you can't put these containers in the microwave to heat your food. Instead, you have to transfer their contents onto a plate first.
These days, silicone is becoming more and more widespread as people are discovering its benefits. It has many of the same convenient benefits of plastic and glassware with almost none of the downsides. Like glass, silicone is made from sand and it doesn't leach chemicals into your food. For this reason, many baby products are made from silicone.
NOT JUST FOR SANDWICHES SANDWICH BAG: Whether you’re packing your lunch, meal prepping, or just trying to keep your makeup from exploding in your gym bag, this Stasher is as versatile as it is port...
Fortunately, these containers come in all shapes and sizes, and many of them are microwave and freezer safe. So, you can transfer containers from one to the other without the risk of breaking or cracking the sides.
Another advantage of silicone is that you can find flexible, resealable bags for liquids and other food items. These bags are perfect for freezer storage because they don't take up as much space, and you can open them more easily than a container with a lid.
Any Downsides to Using Silicone for Freezer Storage?
Like plastic, not all silicone is made equally. So, you have to make sure to use "food-grade" materials since they don't contain any extra chemicals.
Another downside of silicone containers is that they can pretty hot when microwaved, so you have to be careful if using them to reheat your food. Also, verify that the container is "microwave safe" before using it, as unlabeled containers may melt or break down inside the microwave.
The Bottom Line
As more people become aware of the environmental and health issues associated with plastics, alternative solutions will only become more widespread and easily accessible. Fortunately, you can find glass, steel, and silicone containers in any size or shape you could need for all your food storage needs. Now, you can do your part to save the environment, one piece at a time.