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8 Ways to Store Food Without Plastic

Zero Waste Kitchen

Last Updated on April 9, 2020

As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m sure we all have one thing on our minds… leftovers.

Oh, wait – You said, “Gratitude”? Well, ya know, I’m pretty gosh darn thankful for soooo much food that results in lots of leftovers.

8 Ways to Store Food Without Plastic from #zerowaste #ecofriendly #gogreen #sustainable #storefood #plasticfree

The week after Thanksgiving is the best. Plates are piled high, full of mashed potatoes, stuffing, and of course gravy! My mouth is already watering.

I’ve hosted Thanksgiving for the last four year now, and I LOVE it! I love waking up early to set the table, chopping veggies while watching the parade on TV, and then sitting down to a delicious meal.

You can get my entire Zero Waste Thanksgiving Meal Plan!

I find Thanksgiving is pretty easy to keep zero waste if you focus on lots of fresh, local produce. The problems don’t start to arise until after the meal is over…. how on earth are we going to store all of the leftovers!? EEK!

Even more of a conundrum…. how are we going to send home leftovers?

Whether you’re attending a Thanksgiving Dinner or you’re the host, I’ve got some tips for you!

1. serve in your mixing bowls:

If you’re hosting. Think about serving the food in mixing bowls with lids. I have this set of four glass mixing bowls with lids*.

The mixing bowls are simple glass bowls so they’re perfect for serving and storing. They seamlessly move from preparing food to serving food and then storing all your leftovers.

They’re aesthetically pleasing and can pass for serving dishes, unlike many other mixing bowls.

I try to place all of my leftovers in glass containers so I can see what’s inside. If I store leftovers in containers where I can’t see what’s inside, I tend to forget about it and let the food go bad.

2. snapware:

It’s no surprise that I love my pyrex snapware containers!* I talk about them all the time, and I use this set daily.

Snapware is just incredibly functional. They’re freezer and oven safe giving you a myriad of options. They’re leak proof so I can easily take lunch with me on-the-go or get takeout without creating any waste.

3. tiffins:

I LOVE my tiffins, but they’re not the most ideal for storing leftovers because you can’t see what’s inside of them. However, when Thanksgiving rolls around it’s time to break out the BIG tiffins.

When I see these tiffins, I know there’s leftovers or takeout inside. It’s a four tiered tiffin* perfect for parties, leftovers, takeout, or even a large lunch!

4. if it’s got a lid:

It really doesn’t get much easier than putting the lid on it.

If you’ve been cooking anything in a pot and have some leftover, just plop that lid right on the pot and store it in the fridge. I’ve even stored leftovers in my crockpot and salad spinner.

If it’s got a lid, it’s liable to become food storage.

5. beeswax wraps:

You know when you load up a plate full of leftover goodies, but you just can’t finish? So, you put plastic wrap over the plate and put it in the fridge to heat up at a later time?

Nix the plastic wrap and cover it with a beeswax wrap*! You can rinse the beeswax wrap and re-use it over and over again.

Beeswax wraps also work great for wrapping up leftover bread or covering large pie dishes.

6. put a plate over it:

If you have a bowl, you can place a plate over it and it acts just like a lid! Voila! It’s an instant and easy way to store small portions of leftovers.

7. silicone bags:

I have a drawer full of Stasher bags* and I especially love them for the freezer since they lay flat unlike mason jars.

The bags work great for storing leftovers like rolls or roasted veggies. While you could put mashed potatoes or gravy inside, I’d probably save that for a jar unless you were going to be freezing it.

8. you’ve been hoarding mason jars for a reason:

Mason jars* have to be the handiest of all kitchen items. I use them for everything!

They’re inexpensive, stackable, microwaveable, are leak proof, and they’re pretty easy to find second hand/come with food you might buy anyways like salsa or pasta sauce.

RELATED: 13 Unexpected Uses for a Mason Jar

I store a lot of my leftovers in mason jars because they’re so easy to come by. During the year I save all of the glass jars I get when grocery shopping to send leftovers home with people.

If you’re afraid you won’t have enough, you can always call your friends and family and ask them to bring a tupperware container or two to your house to load up on leftovers when the party is over.

If you’re a guest, then maybe stash one or two leftover containers in your bag or in your car. I personally, love this nesting set!

What are some of your favorite ways to store leftovers? 

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  1. I have Corningware ceramic and glass dishes that have lids. They are pretty enough for the table. The ceramic ones are not see through but it doesn’t matter to us. Love that the ceramic ones can go from freezer to oven to reheat. The glass ones can’t but can be microwaved. We ask guests to bring their own storage containers as we don’t have many to spare in our tiny kitchen.

  2. Rather than throw away the durable plastic bags that come in cereal boxes, l cut the frayed edge off, rinse them out and use them to hold leftover bread, baked goods, salad or anything that doesn’t spill. I just secure it with a bag clip. Even dreaded plastic waste can be given another life.