Welcome to the Question and Answer series at GNOWFGLINS! Many questions come through the comments or the contact form; some of them can be better answered by reaching out to all of you for your input. So, please jump in with your thoughts, suggestions, and best advice to help a reader out.
Today, our question is from Jen, another college friend. Facebook is great for reconnecting with special people. 🙂
I am trying to move my family away from anything containining BPA and am looking for advice on what type of storage containers to use in the freezer. Do you use glass? I usually cook several meals ahead and put them in the freezer to reheat later in the week. To date, we've been using tupperware, but now that Jakob [her son] is eating the same food that we do, I want to move to something safer for all of us. I appreciate your advice!
First, what is BPA? It is key component in polycarbonate plastic (and cans for canned goods) which is linked to serious health concerns.
Here's what I recommend.
First, Anchor Hocking has some great glass storage dishes that go from the oven to fridge to freezer to dishwasher. They are fantastic!
But they're spendy. They will last us for our whole lives, so we felt good about making that investment. They're a great solution for bake ahead meals. Bake in them and once the meal is cool, move the whole thing to the freezer.
They come in three sizes: small, medium and large. I have some of each and use them constantly. I use them for sprout storage, leftovers, reheating leftovers, aging cheese, and more. If I am putting a dish in the freezer for longer than a week or two, I spread a piece of natural wax paper or natural parchment paper across the top of the base before putting the lid on. The lid is heavy enough that it weighs that down.
For long-term freezer storage, you might be looking at an issue of freezer burn as these are not completely air-tight. The lid has a lip that sits inside the bowl's edges, making a pretty good fit. When I use the containers for storing wet leftovers in the fridge, nothing dries out. I think they're doing a good job, but again, it is not air-tight. Lining the lid with natural wax paper or natural parchment helps with this.
Other solutions I can think of are:
- turn out a casserole (if it will maintain its shape) onto natural wax paper; wrap it all up in another layer; tape up; store in the freezer; this can be slipped into a Ziploc bag that you use over and over again, too, as the food will not touch the bag
- sauces and soups can be frozen in mason jars; fill with cool food, leaving two inches free at the top; freeze without the lid on; come back and add the lid when fully frozen; be careful of cracking jars – true story
I wanted to include Pyrex bowls, but their plastic lids are #7 plastic. We should avoid #3, #6, and #7 plastic they can contain BPA. Not all of it contains BPA, but it isn't labeled separately. I think a phone call to Pyrex is in order. Or, does anyone already know this?
Update on Pyrex! The comments in this blog post contain a letter from Pyrex (World Kitchen) stating that their lids do not contain BPA. This is good to know, even though it is a partially plastic solution. Pyrex may be more affordable than the Anchor Hocking bowls and you'd be able to achieve a tighter seal. Still consider lining the plastic lids with a layer of parchment or wax paper to separate the food from the plastic and to avoid freezer burn.
What advice would you give Jen? What do you use for non-plastic freezer storage? Thanks for sharing your ideas! And thanks for all the great answers given in last week's Q & A on grain mills. You're all fabulous.
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