13 Different Types of Food Storage Containers

Keep everything organized and make the most of your kitchen cabinets and pantry by trying out one or more of these storage containers for your food.
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Different types of food storage containers.

Let’s face it. Keeping stocks of food can be quite a mess. Canned foods and and drink bottles can easily eat up space in the cabinets and fridge. And not many of us have much space for all that food and supplies. Not to mention that kitchen pantries nowadays are also shrinking.

We want certain food items within reach but sometimes reaching for the ones at the back also means knocking down and spilling that jar of spaghetti sauce. So we’ve collected these practical food storage containers to make every inch of your kitchen space work and keep everything as tidy and organized as possible.

Design Elements

When it comes to the design of food storage containers, you’ll find dozens of choices for your convenience, so whether you’re using these containers for personal use or for your commercial kitchen or restaurant, you should be able to find ones that are designed to make your job a lot easier. Designs that are available for food storage containers include:

Glass Containers

Glass containers that come with aluminum, glass, or wooden tops and which come in a wide variety of sizes, including short ones that hold small amounts of food and larger ones to hold items such as cereal or flour, not to mention ones that are made very tall and which hold products like pasta.

Glass containers.

Source: Container Store

Acrylic Containers

Acrylic containers that come in a variety of heights and shapes and which can include lids made of plastic or even wood. Like other designs, these can be rectangle, round, or square, and they are strong enough to withstand almost anything.

Acrylic containers.

Source: Container Store

Brushed Stainless Steel Containers

Brushed stainless steel containers that offer an elegant look for your countertop or cabinet. With matching or clear acrylic lids, these containers also come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and they are especially attractive sitting in a spot where people are sure to notice them. In fact, some of these containers have clear spots on the container itself that allow you to view what is inside of them, while others have writable surfaces that let you mark what’s inside, even allowing you to erase it at a later date should you place something new in the container.

Brushed stainless steel containers.

Source: Container Store

Ceramic Food Storage Containers

Ceramic food storage containers that are sturdy yet breakable and come with many different tops, including those that create a seal when you press them in the middle and those that close by locking them on either two or four sides. Ceramic containers also look nice and are a little fancier than many other types of containers. Many ceramic storage containers have an antique look, and some of them have etched designs on them to make them look even more exquisite. Designed mostly for the crowd that loves elegance, ceramic food storage containers are in a class all by themselves and lend a certain amount of ambiance to any home or business.

Ceramic food storage container.

Source: Wayfair

Canisters

Canisters that come in many sizes but have a unique top, including those that have unique locks that you press down on one side of the lid. Canisters have a kind of rugged look and are usually made of a type of acrylic or hard plastic, and they can hold everything from cookies to candy and sugar to rice or other grains.

Food canisters.

Source: Container Store

Unique Food Storage Containers

Unique food storage containers that are non-conforming in shape, size or general design. These include jars, water bottles, individual lunch containers, and pitchers that fit easily in your refrigerator. You can find some designed with gripper edges that make grabbing the container a lot easier, and container sets with three or more containers of various sizes that make storing food convenient for both individuals and restaurant owners alike. Some have handles, and some even have a strap on the lid for easier carrying, but since there are all types of designs when it comes to food storage containers, you are guaranteed to find exactly what you were looking for every time.

Unique food storage container.

Source: Container Store

Brushed Copper Food Storage Containers

Brushed copper food storage containers that offer a one-of-a-kind look and a sturdiness that is unbeatable. These are usually manufactured in stainless steel and are copper-plated, and they have an antique look that many people love. Many of these types of storage containers are found in sets and used for foods such as flour, sugar, and rice, and many are also hand-crafted by skilled artisans from other countries. They usually have some type of lid that seals perfectly to keep the food fresh, and you can often find matching items such as tool caddies and even bowls and plates, making it a perfect option for those who wish to have kitchens that follow a certain material aesthetic.

Brushed copper food storage containers.


Source: Etsy

 

Features

Food storage containers come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, but they also have a variety of features that differentiate them and make them unique. These include:

Lids

Of course, the main purpose of a lid for a food storage container is to make sure the food inside stays fresh until you’re ready to eat it or cook with it. Although there are several types of lids, the seal-cover lid is the most common. These lids fit tightly and are spill-resistant. They are made with both outer and inner seals that offer first-rate protection. Each spill-resistant lid is a little different, but if you choose the lids that are made by the same company as the storage containers themselves, you should have no problems ensuring they will fit properly. For best results, make sure the lid fits as tightly as possible, and if you want to make sure you’re getting the right one, simply tip the container upside down and make sure no leaks occur. If you’re looking for a less-expensive variety that also fits tightly, you can choose the snap-on lids that offer airtight fits and protection against spills, although they may not fit as tightly as the seal-cover kinds. Again, test it before you make a final decision regarding which one to choose. Both lids also come in a wide variety of colors – including blue, green, red, purple, and white – which means it is simple to color-code your containers, as well as make the storage area or cabinet look more neat and attractive.

Containers with metal lids.

Source: Container Store

Measurements or Graduations

Food storage containers do a great job of storing various types of liquids and food, but the measurements etched or printed on the outside of many of these containers can also help you determine the approximate measurement of the food you are cooking with or getting ready to eat. Most of these containers have more than one measurement, so you can see both how many ounces and cups there are in each of them, and since they are clearly marked on the sides, usually in bright red or blue, it makes it simple to view it and know exactly how much product is in there.

Container with graduations.

Source: Webstaurant Store

Stackability

Most food storage containers of the same brand can be stacked easily on top of one another, making it easy to store a lot of containers in a very small space. In fact, even when the containers are not the same brand, many of them can st

ill stack very well, saving you a lot of space on your counter top or inside your cabinet. Even if you have containers of various sizes, many storage container companies make their lids all the same size, which means you can stack them on top of one another easily and quickly. You can even stack round food storage containers on top of square ones if the sizes are right, and they should be safe and secure this way. Once again, if you buy containers and lids made by the same company, stacking them and storing them easily are all but guaranteed, and if you’re curious about combining products made from different companies, just test them out or research them beforehand to make sure you get the right ones.

Stackable containers.

Source: Container Store

 

Styles

The various styles that food storage containers come in might surprise you, because it seems like every day a company comes out with a brand-new style to make their containers even more unique than the others. These characteristics can include:

  • Containers that have extra pieces or trays inserted on the inside to keep the food even fresher, including a drain-like piece that allows water covering foods such as lettuce and produce to drain through to the bottom of the container instead of letting the food soak in the water and go bad. These trays go a long way in keeping food edible and fresh, and they are very well-made and easy to clean.
  • Containers that have lids which are attached to the container itself, meaning you never have to worry about a lost lid. In other words, the container and the lid are one piece instead of two, so wherever the container goes, the lid goes as well. These containers are easy to close and seal tightly, and even easier to keep and use for a very long time since you will never have a “where is the lid?” concern.
  • Bins that have a top that is partly open and is made for products such as onions and potatoes. The food is easy to grab from the container and is very simple for busy chefs and even individual cooks to work with. When you’re busy, being able to grab products such as onions and potatoes quickly and all throughout the cooking process without constantly having to stop, open the container, then close it back up while you’re done saves a lot of time, which also saves money in the long run. You can get in and out of the container quickly and with little effort, and if you have foods that do not need to be refrigerated, these bins are often perfect.
  • Ingredient bins that have clear tops which hold several different spices or other food items and allow you to easily access that product simply by turning the top clockwise. If you consistently work with many different spices, these bins are the perfect addition to your kitchen. When you need a spice, simply look through the clear top and find the one you need, turn the top until the opening gets to that particular spice, and pour out what you need. Of course, these bins can also close all the way to keep those spices fresh, allowing you to work with the device very easily and quickly.
  • Miscellaneous styles that include spouts, handles on the sides or the tops of the containers, and even plastic knives and forks that are included with the container. Things such as handles and spouts can come in various sizes and types and be found on either the side or the top of the container. Some of these containers have loops attached that spoons can be placed in, which makes them especially useful when they hold products such as coffee or rice. In fact, that’s what sets all of these containers apart, because each of them is different and is made for a specific use, which is why each style is so different from the rest.

Purpose

Naturally, the number-one purpose of these containers is to store food so that it is easier to find them and cook with them later on when you need them. In case you’re wondering why you should use well-made food storage containers instead of plastic resealable bags, here are a few of these containers’ main purposes:

  • Food storage containers are made to be microwaveable, which means you can take them from refrigerator to microwave in an instant. Since these containers are made out of materials that are always microwave-friendly, you can both store your food and heat it up by using only one container, saving you money and dishwasher space and of course, offering convenience.
  • Food storage containers make it easier to store your food in the refrigerator, especially if they’re made to be stacked together, which most of them are. When the containers are stacked properly, you save space in the refrigerator, and it is also easier to remove the containers from the refrigerator whenever you need them. This beats storing food in bags then placing them in the fridge, which can be cumbersome and awkward, not to mention inconvenient.
  • Food storage containers are simply more convenient than storing your leftover food in resealable bags. Thanks to the handles that make carrying the container easier, and the spouts that make pouring the food easier – not to mention many other advantages – you can easily carry them around and utilize them day after day, with little extra effort or concentration on your part.
  • Food storage containers are made to be reused indefinitely, which might ease their impact on the environment. Resealable bags are great for one use and can be washed and reused, but only laboriously and with long dry times. Food storage containers wash up and dry more quickly, are more hygienic, and don’t have to be relegated to the landfill as quickly.
  • Food storage containers are made to be convenient, and they make it easy to bring food to places such as picnics or your place of employment. One of their purposes is to make storing and transporting your food a lot more convenient, so whether you’re headed to the park for a family picnic or to work, bringing lunch or other foods along is a lot easier with these containers.
  • Food storage containers are made to prevent contamination, and this is a very important purpose. With advantages such as chemical-resistant and BPA-free plastics and other materials, you can store the food and know it will still be fresh and healthy once you start to eat it next time. The materials these containers are made of prevent contaminants from getting into your food, which means it is healthier, and this purpose is one of the most important for both individuals and chefs.
  • Food storage containers can be trusted to be healthy and work the way they’re supposed to, in part because they are regulated and must meet certain specifications in order to be sold. These containers protect your food from physical, chemical, and biological external influences, which means you can always trust the food to be good for you.

Sizes/Shapes

Most food storage containers come in one of two main shapes – round or square. Each of these shapes has its benefits and its limitations, and the one you choose depends on two main considerations – the amount of space you have available for storing these containers, and your personal preferences and tastes. If your storage space is limited, opting for square containers is your best bet in most circumstances, because they can be nestled against each other in the cupboard, and if you have no preferences, you can always compare the benefits of the round storage containers against the space-saving benefits of the square containers to make the right choice.

Round food storage containers enhance air circulation around the container and therefore offer quicker cooling times, while square storage containers always maximize your storage space. Square containers also hold more product in a smaller amount of space, while round containers usually minimize food waste. In other words, taking into consideration how much space you have available to store food containers, as well as the other perks of the two major shapes of containers, should help you decide which shape to choose in the end.

As far as size is concerned, taking into consideration what will go into the containers should be decided first. Are you going to store pickles, jellies, fresh produce, sauces or soups, or even dry ingredients? You can determine the size you need once you decide what you’re going to store inside the container, and sizes in most stores – both brick-and-mortar and online – usually include:

  • 2-cup
  • 3-cup
  • 1-quart
  • 2-quart
  • 3.5-quart
  • 4-quart
  • 6-quart
  • 8-quart
  • 12-quart
  • 18-quart
  • 22-quart

Of course, these sizes may mean nothing if you haven’t actually seen the container itself, so once you view the containers in person, it should be very simple to find the ones you need. If you’re shopping online, the descriptions of each of the items should help you decide which container is best for your needs, because online stores work hard to give you descriptions that are as accurate as possible. After all, they want to minimize returns.

Feel free to research various sizes and shapes of food storage containers by shopping at stores like U-line, which you can visit by going to U-line.

Materials

Although food storage containers can all look alike, the fact is they can be made of numerous different materials, including:

Clear Polycarbonate

These containers are popular for numerous reasons, but one of the main advantages they offer is the fact that they are practically indestructible. Their shatter-proof design makes them invaluable when you’re in the kitchen–they last for a very long time regardless of what you do to them. They are also crystal clear and easy to see through, which makes food and product identification a lot easier. Because of what they’re made of, they can withstand temperatures from -40 degrees Fahrenheit to 210 degrees Fahrenheit, which means you can store them in both the freezer and fill them with hot foods without any worries. In addition, these types of containers can actually resist oils and acids from the foods inside them and still maintain their clarity regardless of how long you’ve had them around, making them truly invaluable in the kitchen.

Clear polycarbonate container.


Source: Webstaurant Store

Translucent Polypropylene

These containers are usually very inexpensive, so if you’re on a strict budget, they should definitely be considered. They are made especially for storage of cold food items, and they are 100% BPA-free, making them a safe option as well. With a translucent appearance, they are highly resistant to chemicals and can handle temperatures that range from -40 degrees Fahrenheit to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Translucent polypropylene container.

Source: Webstaurant Store

White Polyethylene

These food containers are perhaps the most common type of food containers around, in part because they have some of the lowest prices on the market. They are BPA-free and boast a white color and material that is impact-, chemical-, and stain-resistant. They can be used to store both dry food and cold food in freezers and refrigerators, and they can handle temperatures ranging from -40 degrees Fahrenheit to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to food containers, white polyethylene is used to make hundreds of other items as well, because it is a very affordable and sturdy choice for everyday supplies.

White polyethylene container.

Source: Webstaurant Store

Professional restaurant supply stores such as Webstaurant carry these and numerous other types of food storage containers, and you can view them all at Webstaurant store.







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