The final results – cheap Glass Jars vs. Rubbermaid vs. FresherLonger food storage containers ... no miracle
Oh ye of little faith in the ‘miracle’ FresherLonger food storage system ... ok ... in this case you were right to be skeptical.
In my tests, the expensive FresherLonger containers were only VERY little better than trusty, affordable Rubbermaid. FL was no better than glass jars.
A test to see which of these products would keep food fresher started two weeks ago;
Day 1 – the hype & the hope (with link to FresherLonger)
Week 1 results
Glass Jar Experiments
Here you go ...
- sliced beef/chicken (Rubbermaid / FresherLonger)
I kept the meats a week each. They did equally well in either container. Absolutely no difference.
- Whole strawberries (glass jar / FresherLonger)
This is the only category that the FresherLonger is still running neck in neck with glass jars.
After two weeks the berries in both containers still look and taste market fresh ... an update next week. Rubbermaid will keep berries about 7 – 10 days. They are still edible but looking a little tired. They in NO way look like the strawberries in the Sharper Image picture.
The one plus for the FL container is it stacks and takes slightly less room in the fridge. A set of four FL containers is $29, and two of those are too tiny for strawberries. Twelve glass quart canning jars cost about $8 and have three times the capacity of the FL starter set. Your choice.
- Sliced strawberries (glass jar / FresherLonger )
Glass jars trumped FreshLonger where as of today I have a MOLDY mess. FL makes claims that it inhibits mold ... nuh, uh. There is no mold on the slices in the glass jar.
The surprise here was that SLICED strawberries could be kept for days. On day two, I wouldn’t star either in a dessert, but they would be fine in oatmeal or muffins.
After the second day there was no change for a week. On the 7th day I let the strawberries rest and stopped tasting them ... both just looked slightly slimy. On day 11 (yesterday), the FL strawberries started to mold. Looked today, day 12 ... yep healthy growth of mold. Glass jar strawberries ... no mold.
- Bread (Rubbermaid / FresherLonger / Ziplock bag)
The oatmeal bread bought the first week refused to go bad. So last week, it was replaced with a seeded baguette and ciabatta bread.
All three smelled stale on day two. While still soft, they were only fit for toast, bread salad, bread pudding... etc
This morning a tiny piece of mold appeared on the ciabatta stored in the Rubbermaid container. Bread in the Ziplock bag and FL remained without mold. With the Ziplock, air can be squeezed out so that’s probably where it has the advantage over Rubbermaid. Even so, they all went stale the next day. Putting this type of bread in the freezer is probably the best way to go.
Again ... box of Ziplock bags, $3 ... FresherLonger, $29. BTW, FL just came out with plastic bags ... $12 for a dozen.
Some people are enthusiastic about the FresherLonger containers. I think they never did a back-to-back test with their regular plastic containers.
I was surprised how long food can be kept, no matter what container. My impression was that food goes bad much sooner than it did.
IF I hadn’t learned how well glass jars worked, I might have been more impressed with FresherLonger. The more air-tight a container, the longer most food will last. Glass does that very effectively.
As far as the silver particles in the FL container ... food still molds ... and anyway, long before it molds, it is stale ... so big deal.
So I munch on my sandwich with
- week-old toasted ciabatta
- week-old chicken breast
- two week old cherry tomatoes (glass jar stored)
- heaven only knows how long that mayo has been in the fridge
As SNL’s church lady would say “Isn’t that special?”
I prefer Mason jars for food storage. They take up less space in the refrigerator, since they are vertical, and they come in many sizes. As long as they aren't chipped the jars from yard sales and thrift shops do fine---just buy new lids. The white plastic screw-on lids are great. The jars are good for soup, jello, pudding, cooked vegetables, and anything in a sauce. And they clean better than plastic.
I find these containers very effective and useful. I am a chef and we're only open 4 days a week. When we close down on Sundays and we have Spring mix left over it won't last for the 3 days we're closed so the staff usually takes some home. We've been having trouble all winter with the short shelf life of spring mix at work. I've taken some home and the following week when I bring more home, the previous week's salad is still in tack. I've taken to storing my fresh herbs in these also. I get almost a month with cilantro, basil, parsley, etc. Here's a tip: line the bottom of the container with a shet of paper towels to collect any excess moisture. I bought my containers at TJ Maxx for considerably less than what you're saying the go for elsewhere. Granted , TJ Maxx's inventory changes. You can also get the same technology in containers that are much cheaper. They a a set of green conttainers (maybe 4-5 per set) in catalogues.Places like Handsome Rewards, Whatever Works, etc. It is a "as shown on TV" product. Not as durable as the Stays Fresh Longer but I've had my 2 sets of those for over a year now & they hold up. One more thing. They suggest not using in the dishwasher. I hand wash mine.
Well I have had the OPPOSITE experience. I live alone and at the price of food I am glad I have these: My bakery artisan bread would mold before I ate it all. I tried numerous methods and devices to store it with no luck - either blue and fuzzy, or stale and hard. I now put my loaves in the large box in the fridge and and it can last two weeks or more.
Trick to storing fruits ( berries) wash and DRY them. I put a paper towel in the bottom of the container, dump fruit on top and let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes (lightly covered.) Gravity lets the remaining moisture run to the bottom. Remove the towel, then seal and store. They definately last a lot longer than any other container I had.
I use the mini size for fresh herbs - they last longer that way. The thinner big box I store my salad greens in. Again, just spin it dry before you store.
The tall vertical boxes are great for keeping crackers or nacho chips from going stale.
I liked them so well, a year later when LnT was closing stores here, I got another set for $30 - sweet! The trick to anything wet is to dry it as much as possible before you store.
If you put hot beef or chicken in an airtight container (while it's hot), and then into a 40 degree F (6 deg C) fridge, it'll easily keep 4 days. 7-10 days if you keep your fridge at 33-34 degrees (1 deg C) like I do.
The trick is to package it while hot. And also note this only applies to foods with a low-ish moisture content (i.e nothing with any runny liquid).
The proper way to handle food is to get the temperature down as fast as you can (in less that 4 hours) to below 40 degrees. Bacteria grows rapidly between 40 and 140 degrees.. By storing hot food in a closed container you're not letting the food cool fast enough and you'll get a shorter shelf life. If handled properly cooked food should last 6 days and be used before the 7th day. That is Health code. I try to adhere to that at home (just like in the restaurant) but using these containers I can get a few more days out of them. That's cooked food. I still maintain you can REALLY extend shelf life of produce with these. Again, get rid of excess moisture before storing and line bottom with a dry paper towel.
I read all the posts on your experiments of what will keep food fresher longer: glass jars, Rubber Maid containers, Fresher Longer containers with silver nano particles, etc. I loved it! I found it while googling "jars vs zip-lock bags" and researching best methods of storing spices. Thanks for sharing!
re: Chicago Wine Geek
I broke your question out into a separate topic so it would get more response.
However, first of all their web site is more than a little inaccurate about how long food keeps in conventional containers.
The thing to also ask yourself is what you want to use these for and how long you REALLY want to store food. Do you really want to keep fruit and veggies three weeks ... if indeed it does.
For me, the glass jars work so well that it was difficult to keep the food until it actually expired. It was hard to hang onto that summer squash for a month. I don't even know how long parsley and some herbs will keep because after a month I had used them up.
If I wanted to keep things more than a couple of weeks, I'd probably go for one of those cryo-vacing food sealer type of systems.
The only review I found was one line that said Fresh Vac was about the same as Tupperware. That's what I found with FresherLonger. Until you do a side by side comparison, you don't realize how long stuff keeps in Tupperware or even the cheap-o disposables like Glad.