Kitchen essentials explained: 7 food containers to get yourself organised

You know that age is catching up with you when you get really excited about the myriad of ways you can store your produce and foods in the kitchen, and all the weird, wonderful containers to keep everything neat and tidy, just the way you like.

No more spending payday browsing through clothes—it’s container time, baby! Here are 7 types of food containers for when you could seriously do with some organisation in your life.

1. Plastic container

Colourful stackable Tupperware
Credit – Tupperware

What it is:

Let’s start with the basics, shall we? The plastic container, most commonly found in the form of Tupperwares, is probably the most popular amongst Singaporean households. And understandably so. Its lightweight and stackable nature make for a great kitchen companion, especially in a society where convenience is valued above all else.

What makes it unique:

Plastic containers are not only lightweight, they’re generally inexpensive, and also freezer- and microwave-safe—again, three popular traits amongst Singaporeans.

What it’s used for:

Plastics are versatile in the sense that they can be used for storing almost anything—from leftovers to liquids, and even frozen food. They’re also microwave-safe so they can be used to easily heat food up on the go.

You can purchase a plastic container here.

2. Glass container

A stack of glass containers
Credit – Amazon

What it is:

If you’re like my best friend and have a strange disdain for plastic containers because of their “plastic smell”, then perhaps the trusty glass container is your preferred choice of weapon. Just like Barbra Streisand once said, anything plastic can do, glass can do better. Or something like that.

Some prefer using glassware over plastic to avoid the possibility of chemical leaching altogether.

What makes it unique:

Due to the completely inert property of glass, meaning that it’s non-leaching and non-reactive, you can put your mind at ease when you store anything in it. It’s entirely safe for storing both solids and liquids, making it a very fuss-free choice.

The glass container typically comes in the form of boxes and jars.

What it’s used for:

Glass, unlike plastic, is oven-safe, so it can also double up as a baking tool. Most people limit their glassware to home usage, however, because glass tends to be heavy and not to mention, breakable. Here’s a little tip if you’re looking to use your glass container as your tapau box—wrap a cloth or scarf around it whenever you bring it out with you.

You can purchase a glass container here.

3. Re-usable re-sealable bag

A Stasher 3D Stand Up bag
Credit – Stasher

What it is:

This is probably my favourite out of everything on the list. Well technically it’s a re-usable bag, but anything counts as storage if you try hard enough. Made popular by sustainable brand, Stasher, the re-usable silicone re-sealable bag has been all the rage, and not without reason.

What makes it unique:

It’s basically a ‘ziploc-esque’ bag that you can reuse over and over, and who wouldn’t love that? Unlike typical containers, the silicone bag is malleable and highly portable. This means it’s great for both stuffing into the nooks and crannies of your over-worked fridge, as well as bringing out for picnics and on-the-go munching.

What it’s used for:

Its flexible material means it’s good to store almost anything in any shape, from small biscuits to soups even. These bags come in various shapes and sizes, even a 3D stand-up edition that’s spacious enough for fruits, nuts, and cookies.

You can purchase a reusable silicone bag here.

4. Vacuum container

Vacuum Container
Credit – Zwilling J.A. Henckels

What it is:

The name of this container type is pretty much self-explanatory, but vacuum containers are air-tight and leak-proof.

What makes it unique:

The air-tight seal of vacuum containers is especially handy in Singapore’s humid weather, where produce can easily go mouldy or soft very quickly. Such containers often come with a small vacuum seal on their lids, which is the small but vital feature in retaining your food’s moisture for an extended period of time, keeping it fresh even after days.

What it’s used for:

When deciding how to ration your vacuum containers, prioritise foods that strictly need dry or air-tight conditions for storage, such as biscuits, tea leaves, and coffee beans.

You can purchase a vacuum container here.

5. Flask

Hydroflask Container
Credit – Hydroflask

What it is:

A flask is one of the top things on this list that I could not live without. Using the principles of vacuum and insulation, a flask maintains the temperature of the food or liquid stored in it for a much longer period than usual.

What makes it unique:

It’s one of the few accessories that allows you to store foods or liquids at almost the same temperature as when it was first put in.

What it’s used for:

As a full-on, unabashed tea buff, I often make use of my flask bottles at home to store the cold-brew teas that I make and slowly sip out of them throughout the day. Flasks can also be used for the same purpose when you’re outside or on the go, which is what I love most about it.

Knowing that you can quench your thirst with ice-cold tea in Singapore’s weather for hours to come is almost as comforting as the tea itself.

You can purchase a flask here.

6. Metal container

Stackable metal container
Credit – Lock & Lock

What it is:

Since we’re going down the list of materials I thought we’d eventually get to metal. Perhaps the most common form of metal containers in households used to be the tingkat, the multi-layered tin cans of our grandparents’ generation (petition to bring them back in 2021, though).

What makes it unique:

Often made of stainless steel, metal containers are sometimes favoured over their counterparts of other materials because of their sheer durability.

What it’s used for:

Metal containers are odour-resistant and non-leaching, so it’s a particularly good choice when working with pungent ingredients or in the marination process.

You can purchase a metal container here.

7. Ceramic container

Colourful ceramic containers

What it is:

Very much like glass, ceramic containers are also non-reactive, and can withstand high heat. The only difference is that ceramic is opaque, unlike glass, so that might be less convenient for quick access, but ceramic means room for fun designs to add a pop of colour to your kitchen.

What makes it unique:

The act of storing food in ceramics actually dates way back to thousands of years ago. Our ancestors used natural baked and fired clay to store their food back then, and if they can, so can we.

What it’s used for:

Traditionally, ceramic storage was used for pickled items, but knock yourself out, really. You can store almost anything in your ceramics, though smaller jars are typically used for salt and spices.

You can purchase a ceramic container here.

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