Glass food storage: Luminarc vs Pyrex vs GlassLock?
Thinking about getting rid of the Rubbermaid Serve'n'Saver food storage containers we now have, and switching to glass. We also have a bunch of the Ziploc two-cup round containers with the screw-on lids that I use to freeze portions of stock and soup in. Although they are all either #5 or #2 plastic, I'd just feel better about using glass.
The 3 main choices seem to be Luminarc (Arc International), Pyrex, and Snapware's GlassLock. I do have 2 of the Glasslock containers (one is to store fresh vanilla beans, the other for feta cheese) but of course the downside is that they're not stackable like the plastic ones are. Also we have one of the plastic Snapware bowls that gets opened daily and I see after a couple years of use that one of the lid "tabs" is starting to split away from where it attaches to the lid top so maybe they all do that?
I like that the Luminarc line is made in the USA (glass in USA, lids in France) so that's a plus. Likewise Pyrex is USA-made. Not sure about the GlassLock although interestingly I see on the Glasslock website that the parent company is called Eco Housewares dba Dooit USA. If you read the "About us" page it's clear that this was not written by someone fluent in English, LOL. So I do wonder. Also if you read the small print on the main page, GlassLockUSA is not the manufacturer; they are only the USA distributor of the product. So my guess is that these are probably made in China.
I know the lids on the GlassLock are the easiest to operate (IMHO) and have the tightest seal BUT I have read user reviews that say the tabs don't hold up well to freezer storage so am wondering about that.
What has been your experience with these 3 brands for glass food storage re: these specfic factors:
(1) Ease of closing and opening lids
(2) Airtightness of lids, particularly with liquids
(3) Stackability/space saving storage of the empties
(4) Going from refrigerator directly to microwave (since freezer-to-micro is definitely a no-no)
(5) Materials issues (lids cracking or splitting, glass cracking or shattering, etc)
(6) Whether the plastic lid tends to hold any odors from prior foods
I would never use any plastic lid in the microwave (I put a piece of waxed paper over the container top instead) so that performance is irrevelant, btw.
Thanks in advance!
Forgot to add to Item #5 in the above list ("materials issues") whether you've had any problems with the plastic lids tending to crack or split as a result of freezer use, or whether they are a particular PITA to open after the container has been frozen.
I'm also trying to switch gradually to more glass storage, although not doing as careful research as you. No personal experience with them, but in case you hadn't seen the Pyrex that come with both plastic and glass lids, the glass lids apparently vent for use in microwave and oven. Found them on amazon (and not with the other Pyrex at local Bed Bath and Beyond, the only other place I've looked): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002... If they work well, might save some wax paper....
Those look interesting and I like the idea of the glass lids BUT the fact that you need to change lids in order to use them in the microwave means that there's always an piece to wash (and we handwash all pots, pans, and containers) which IMHO makes no sense. The glass lids fit very loosely and aren't intended for food storage, just for oven or microwave use. Thus you need to use the plastic lid to store the food and then replace that with the glass lid for heating up. Might has well just replace the plastic lid with a piece of waxed paper then (which can be just thrown away afterward) and have only 2 pieces to wash instead of 3.
Yes, I agree don't see the point in having two sets of lids. I've got a couple old glass containers I got from my grandmother, with glass lids, don't know how old seems like she had them as long as I can remember -- I'd never actually checked the brand so turned them over the other day and sure enough they're Pyrex ovenware (never occurred to me I could put them in the oven, guess I will now, and I wouldn't use in microwave or dishwasher). No, you couldn't put them on their side or something, it's not like the lids seal, but I love them -- pretty colors too.
I actually got a set of these because I liked the idea of having the glass lid for microwave use. For the most part, I really like them. All 3 pieces are dishwasher safe, so that hasn't been an issue, but it does make it a pain to store. The containers themselves stack, the issue is what to do with all those lids. The lid is glass with a small silicone band around the lower edge. The band is absent in one very small spot, which acts as the vent. This part of the container is very well designed. It vents beautifully, no splattering, no messy plastic wrap or wax paper to remove, and for some reason, things actually seem to heat more evenly in these containers. Not sure why, but I don't have the same issue with hot spots or cold spots when I use these. I haven't used them in the freezer, but use them in the fridge. I DO NOT think that the plastic lids seal quite tightly enough for me to be comfortable with long term freezing storage. I use these exclusively for storing leftovers that I know I will want to eat rewarmed within the next few days. As I said, I like them, but the shortcomings have prevented me from getting more. At the same time, I don't think I have seen something else that I like any better. I just don't like the idea of putting plastic lids in the microwave (or messing around with paper/plastic coverings) so I am still searching for the perfect solution.
About a year ago, I bought a set of the Glasslock from Costco. The lids were very difficult to close and open and in fact, one time, the glass chipped off and flew into my hand, giving me a small cut. Same thing happened with another Glasslock that I had purchased outside the set. Between the glass chipping issue and the fact that the bowls didn't stack and took up a lot of room, I ended up returning the set to Costco.
That said, I've heard that other people love their Glasslocks. And I do like the fact that they come in so many shapes and sizes (big variety can be found at some Asian markets in the SF Bay Area). I still have a few, including a large rectangular one that is perfect to store my flour in.
There is one other brand that I've been hearing about recently - Duralex. http://www.chefscatalog.com/product/2.... It's the same French company that makes the Picardie glasses that are very popular. They are made from tempered glass. I don't know if it's the same kind of glass as Pyrex and Luminarc. But there have been a lot of stories about exploding and shattering glass bakeware made by Pyrex in the U.S. (soda lime vs. the European Pyrex which is made out of borosilicate). So if I were in the market for new glass storage, I would probably go for the Duralex.
That's interesting, I had never heard of that brand. Btw, your link didn't work but this one does:
However that link doesn't have the food storage items on it, so I googled the name and on the DuralexUSA site under the "Food Service" section there are indeed some food storage items (glass containers with plastic lids, called the Lys range):
The lids look almost identical in design to the ones used on the Rubbermaid ServeNSaver plastic line.
I found these 3 sources online:
(chefstools via Amazon for set) http://www.amazon.com/Duralex-Square-...
(other vendor, individual pieces) http://www.amazon.com/Duralex-Square-...
I love my GlassLock storage! I bought some of it especially to store gelato and baked goods, but I use it to transport soups and leftovers, too.
I have a giant canister that snaps with ease. Out of maybe 6 containers, only one has a single challenging tab that appears to be uniquely MY challenge. My mom--who is 76--can close it without issue. Embarrassing, huh? ;P
The ones I bought most recently (TJ Maxx) are a nested set of three, which is handy for space-saving in the cupboard. If I had to start over again, I'd buy sets like this rather than single pieces for sure.
I don't usually go from fridge to microwave, but haven't had any troubles when I've done it.
No lids splitting or glass shattering. I do have old Pyrex with a lid that looks similar to the Duralex you posted--NOT airtight and the lid split a long time ago. I definitely prefer the snappy seal of my GlassLocks. My only wish is that I had more of it!
Unfortunately, I think ANY plastic lid will retain odors from other foods. Not much you can do about that. If there is, I wouldn't mind a tip as I have one lid that needs some help! I tried making a paste of baking soda and letting it sit, but no dice.
I think the GlassLock lids are probably the closest to glass in terms of thickness of the plastic which made me wonder if they contain BPA. So I did some research and discovered this late 2010 review that mentions that there are apparantly TWO kinds of "GlassLock" brands out there: Snapware GlassLock and also the "Kinetic Go Green GlassLock" line. The Go Green GlassLock is NOT manufactured by Snapware. The Snapware GlassLock lids are silicone and do not contain BPA.
The other day I made a list of the sizes and capacities of the plastic food storage containers we use, and compared them to the various glass brands. I was surprised to see that only one of the Duralex containers comes close to the sizes we use ... the others were all smaller. So unless they expand their line, they wouldn't be able to replace what we have size-for-size.
Probably will go with Pyrex or GlassLock. I see from some Amazon reviews that people who have bought the GlassLock set at Costco are having problems with the glass splintering along the edges. This may be a case of the "big box" product not being made as well as the standard fullprice version (what I call the "Home Depot Syndrome") -- don't know.
I may look again at the Pyrex No Leak, although I was going to stay away from the "vented" lids; one reviewer who was otherwise happy with them tested it be microwaving pea soup (which we do constantly) with the lid on tight and vent open, and soup got spewed all over her microwave from the open vent. She tried again with vent closed and lid not snapped on tight, and it was fine (which is frankly no different than my piece-of-waxed-paper method). I'll have to hunt the different brands/models down and see how all the lids actually work.
Checked our tab-splitting container for brown sugar and discovered that it is made by Sterilite, not Snapware. It's also a round container, and it occurs to me that the curved edge may contribute to the tendency of the tab-closure lid "hinges" to split, since the tabs are straight but the edge it locks onto is slightly curved. Thus there is only a very small actual contact/locking point on the tab. Whereas the Snapware tabs on the straight sided containers have a contact/locking edge along almost the entire width of the tab. Not sure how their round containers are constructed. One would assume that the more locking surface on the tab, the better the seal.
Out of curiosity I checked the warranty info on the major glass storage brands:
Snapware GlassLock: "World Kitchen, LLC. will replace any Glasslock product that chips, cracks or breaks from microwave heat and any non-glass accessory item with a manufacturing defect within three years from the date of purchase."
Pyrex: On one part of their site it says: "World Kitchen, LLC promises to replace any PYREX® brand glass item that breaks from oven heat within two years from date of purchase. " and "Any non-glass part/accessory with a manufacturing defect will be replaced without charge within one year from date of purchase. " Yet on another part of the site it says "World Kitchen, LLC promises to replace any Pyrex glass product that breaks from oven heat, and any Pyrex non-glass accessory item with a manufacturing defect, within TWO YEARS from the date of purchase." Not sure which warranty term applies currently to the lids (one year or two).
Luminarc: Has 2 product lines with glass containers, the Keep N Box (green plastic pressure-type lid) and the Pure Box (clear plastic tabbed lid). I can't seem to find the warranty info anywhere for either one though. Or for the Working Glass line either for that matter. Anyone know??
EDITED TO ADD: I didn't bother with the Rubbermaid Glass/EasyFind Lid series after I read the user reviews saying that the lid needs to be disassembled for proper washing. That's more work that I don't need, LOL.