Storing leftovers

As the holidays approach many of us will be cooking more than we typically do. Some will serve elaborate meals to their families and guests. Much food will be consumed, but not all — and that means leftovers.

We’ve written about leftover storage before, as well as tips for eliminating food waste but today I want to share a product I’ve been using for about a year with great success: the “Brilliance” containers by Rubbermaid.

When my wife first brought these home, I became nostalgic for the great glass containers from Pyrex that my mother used. The Brilliance containers are about the same size in shape, but made of plastic with a tightly-sealing lid. They stack nicely and offer a few great advantages while in the refrigerator.

First, they are completely transparent, so you needn’t play that fun guessing game, “What’s In This One?” A quick glance answers that question. Because they are made of BPA-free plastic, it makes them lighter than glass containers and less likely to break when dropped.

What really sets these apart from their vintage counterparts is the tight locking lid. There is a strip of sealant that runs along the inside of the lid, which has two strong clips, one on each side. To secure the lid, simply push it into place and click down the two clips. Voilà, it’s closed. In the year that we’ve been using these, we’ve never had a leak, even when I used one to bring soup to work in a lunch box that got jostled around. When not in use the nest for easy storage.

However, I have observed that after a year of use the formerly crystal-clear plastic has gotten a bit cloudy. I’m sure the many passes through the dishwasher had something to do with that. Not overly cloudy — you can still see the contents easily — but they’re not as brilliant as they once were. Of course, that does not affect functionality in the slightest. I really love these containers and I expect to use them for many years.

Now my question to you: how do you store leftovers? Have a favorite container or routine for avoiding the “science experiments” that happen when leftovers sit around to long? Please share in the comments below.

12 Comments for “Storing leftovers”

  1. posted by Sabina on

    Would handwashing the containers prevent cloudiness?

    P.s. it is voilà not viola 😉

  2. posted by Ian on

    Honestly, for a couple of years now, I’ve been using the same type of deli-style locking lid containers you might get a pint of potato salad or the like in from your local grocery store.

    They’re dirt cheap, most of them are made in the USA, they’re leak-proof and there’s only one style of lid. Sure, you can’t store, say, a sandwich in them, but I keep a few odd-sized containers around for anything that won’t fit in a conical cylinder.

  3. posted by infmom on

    We apply small LabelOnce labels to the lids of our food containers, and write the date the contents were put into them. The labels are easily erased when the contents change, and they can be washed without any problems.

    Like Ian, we reuse deli containers, but only the rectangular ones that lunch meat comes in.

  4. posted by Jacki Hollywood Brown on

    Re: viola vs voilà
    I often type in French and auto-correct drives me insane changing my French words back to what it thinks the English word is. I should have double-checked this word before I hit publish. Thank you for noticing!

  5. posted by Joy on

    I love my Brilliance containers!! I haven’t had the clouding issue yet, but I’ve only had mine about 6 months.

    RE: viola vs. voila…25 years ago, we lived in a fairly rural area and the local newspaper printed “wah-lah” instead of voila! Hubby & I still laugh about that, LOL!

  6. posted by Deb on

    Have a go at them with some white vinegar, it can be amazing at cleaning glass. Also have a look at what Shannon Lush says about cleaning glass, she has some really good suggestions using products that are unlikely to be harmful.

  7. posted by SkiptheBS on

    Dry erase labels are cheap and work well. Rubbermaid has gotten the message that consumers want rectangular containers for space efficiency. Are these made in Rubbermaid’s American facilities, or are they sourced from overseas?

  8. posted by Debbie on

    I recently purchased “retro” Pyrex and Anchor Hockong glass containers on Amazon. Love them! Also, you can teplace the plastics lids if need be.

  9. posted by Linda Brown on

    I use the same type of containers but in glass. Wash them in the dishwasher and haven’t had any problems with them after using them for several years. I got rid of all my plastic containers and I’m happy I did. Bought my glass containers at Costco.

  10. posted by Lise Schleicher on

    We have an assortment of the ziploc/glad/carry out containers that we use. I code the tops and bottoms with a letter so that they are easy to match (Granimals anyone?). The nice thing about this is that when left overs go home with someone else, its not a big deal. And in our friends and family, left overs are sent home with folks all the time…so containers are consistently rotating. 🙂

  11. posted by Ling on

    I prefer glass, just because we do heat up food in those containers in the microwave, and I don’t like the idea of plastic in them. I got mine from Costco, of those locking lids. We used them for about 2 years now. What I do not like: is washing those lids with those inner grooves. I mainly handwash them. I didn’t put those plastic lids in the dishwasher, as I worried it would loosen the rubber seal. The locking mechanism does not work so well after 2 years. It just does not snap properly, and won’t seal. I wish that we can just buy those lids for replacements, than to get the whole set again.

  12. posted by kathy on

    I live alone and often make regular multi-person sized dishes of food, and so I have lots of leftovers. I use plastic and glass containers as people list above, but do two other things: I use pint freezer bags, if a food freezes well, and I buy Chinese food pint take-out pails (also called oyster pails). I’m a crafter who uses them to package my craft and so I have them on hand, but I might buy them anyway. Pints now cost about 12 cents apiece, bought by the 500. (per piece cost is more for fewer) Sounds like a lot, but they’re great for taking for lunch and discarding, or giving to guests, etc. Sounds like an odd thing to suggest on a decluttering site, but they store compactly and you don’t need to deal with cleaning them, or finding storage space for different sizes. which saves some hassle. That’s a decluttering goal. A little stack of 10 or 15 hardly takes up any room. Write on the outside easily.
    I get mine from a paper products company who caters to food services, and they’re delivered to the door.

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