Two sustainable kitchen rules I follow are to choose non-toxic materials and to go with reusable when possible.
I’ve been pretty successful at finding convenient alternatives for just about everything. Except for one: how to replace plastic zip lock style food storage bags. What can I use instead of plastic food storage bags? I don’t want to have plastic in direct contact with my food, and plastic freezer and food storage bags aren’t reusable.
Sure, you can find many eco-friendly, reusable alternatives to plastic sandwich and snack bags. But I don’t eat sandwiches or snacks, so what I’m looking for is actual food storage bags. I use glass or stainless steel containers or even sturdy linen wraps to store just about everything, but sometimes you just really prefer a locking plastic bag. For one thing, you can squeeze the air out of them, which is very useful.
I have finally found a good alternative: food grade silicone. Silicone is inert, doesn’t out gas or leach dioxin or lead or phthalates. It’s non-toxic, safe for food, resists microbes, is easy to clean and stands up to hot and cold temperatures. They are not cheap, but if you take care of these bags they will last a very long time.
What I’m using now is Lékué silicone food storage bags. Here’s what I like and dislike about them.
- Bags are very sturdy and well made
- Design allows the bag to stand upright on its own on the counter and in the fridge–which is more space efficient and neater–and also allows you to pour liquids into it easily
- Seal works really well, zips easily and stays locked
- Silicone is so versatile: it can be used in the freezer as well as in hot applications such as sous vide
- Has measuring marks clearly labeled
- No plastic, no toxins, no gmo ( found in many bioplastics )
- Bags are expensive: you really have to think of them as an investment that will last for years
- The same design that allows the bag to stand upright makes it harder to use for sous vide cooking
- It takes more room to store the bags because they are bulky
- The largest size I’ve found is the 1 liter, which is not big enough to use for marinating food or storing larger portions
I believe these can be used in the microwave as well, though I don’t use a microwave so I’ve never tried it. It would be great if a company would make a version that was flat, because sometimes it’s preferable, such as for sous vide cooking. A quart size option would be really useful, as would a discount for purchasing, say, a four-pack. I’m sure as the demand rises for non-plastic alternatives to zip lock style food storage bags, we’ll get more choice and a better price.
What non-toxic reusable alternatives have you found for food storage in your kitchen?
SHOP: silicone food storage bags
IDEA: have you considered airtight stainless steel for food storage?
Nonstick cookware is popular largely because cooking does not require the use of oils or fats, which purportedly creates healthier meals. The price for this benefit may be steep, however, as nonstick cookware has been linked to dangerous toxins.
In the US, there is no law that compels manufacturers to provide a complete ingredient label, making it difficult to distinguish between the ingredients and chemicals found in these seemingly ordinary products. Make your kitchen a chemical free zone by whipping up your own non-toxic, all natural kitchen cleaners with just four simple, inexpensive ingredients.
With so many different options, how do we really know that our earth friendly trash bags are helping the environment instead of just costing us more money? The key is in researching the materials used in making the trash bags, and understanding their environmental implications.
The Alternative Health Journal recently studied over 100 baby foods and found that many contain ingredients that are not necessary to a baby’s diet, let alone health. Results concluded that many commercial baby foods contain high quantities of sugar and trans fats; both ingredients that are not considered to be healthy for adults, much less babies. Even organic brands are not exempt from this, as one popular organic baby food brand was shown to contain high sodium levels.
While most of us know by now that processed foods often contain a host of unhealthy additives, from fake flavors and colors to chemical preservatives, what do we know about fresh produce?
Ractopamine is a drug administered to pigs, usually as a feed additive, to increase the amount of lean meat or fat (depending on dosage). It’s typically fed to pigs in the weeks just before slaughter.
Some people mistakenly believe that buying organic or sustainably raised chicken or poultry means they don’t have to worry about Salmonella. Following proper kitchen protocol when handling poultry can help you reduce the risk of food poisoning.