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Glass or Plastic - pros & cons of each

I have heard glass containers help keep foods fresher longer. Perhaps you Tupperware folks have a different opinion on this.

Ziplok has come out with some glass containers but they have the plastic lids & that is a turn off for me, I would like all glass or all plastic.

I am trying to keep my foods from going bad so quickly in the fridge & am willing to spend some money on containers, but don't really know which is the best route to take.

Problem with plastic containers - even the high end ones, is that when purchasing extras, the lids are a little quirky & there isn't a universal fit & so you are thrashing around for the right lid,.

Glass is quite expensive & of course breakable & don't really know if they are stackable.

What's your take on glass & plastic??

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  1. Glass breaks, as you noted. No other disadvantages. I find that plastic never gets clean enough to be odor-free. Maybe this depends on which plastic.. Actually, even new plastic has its own odor. Glass can pick up odors from the air, but these can be washed out. An alternative is stainless steel, odor-free and unbreakable. Frequently used in professional kitchens.

    1. I am a glass container fan. I especially love mason jars.

      Do this side by side comparison and I guarantee you will Store food in glass: get some raspberries and put half in a mason jar and half in plastic of any kind. Keep them in the fridge side by side. The raspberries in plastic will rot within days, the glass container will keep them beyond a week. No comparison.

      I live in raspberry country and they are notoriously difficult to keep from spoiling quickly. Only glass does it. I store almost everything in glass- fridge, freezer, pantry. It is not expensive to recycle glass jars or buy mason jars at thrift stores and buy new lids (5 bucks for a pack of new lids).

      5 Replies
      1. re: sedimental

        Absolutely agree on the berries-in-glass storage; it was a revelation when I started storing them in jars.

        I also storage peeled garlic in a jar in the fridge. We go through a lot of garlic in this kitchen, and my arthritic hands complained mightily about all the peeling. I tried the jarred peeled garlic from the grocery, but was never wild about the flavor; it just seemed a little *off* to me. My husband now will peel a few heads after a shopping trip, then into the fridge jar. I used to have to toss out quite a few desiccated or sprouted bulbs, but now have no garlic waste. The cloves stay wonderfully fresh.

        1. re: sedimental

          As I type this, the raspberries that I bought a week ago are still in the Rubbermaid plastic container, and still PERFECT.
          The key is to lay a paper towel beneath the berries and another atop them, then leave the lid open a crack for the first few hours that they are in the fridge. When you take them out, you will notice that the top towel is damp with condensation. Toss it. Leave the bottom one. If the inside of the lid is damp, dry it before resealing.

          I have both Glasslock (plastic lids) containers (a set from Costco) and plastic (Rubbermade, Gladware, and Ziploc).
          On other threads, people complain about the fragility of the glass lip onto which the plastic lids snap. I have never damaged mine, but I do not use a dishwasher and I handle them with care.

          There is ZERO difference between how cold the food stays, or how long it keeps, as long as the lids are closed completely. Any difference is a function of where in the refrigerator the container is - bottom and far back keep things colder than top, front, or door.

          1. re: greygarious

            I so much prefer Duralex durable, tempered glass with a simple, non ridged (mold is a risk) lid instead of gasket. You can bang Duralex around without breakage, though I know Sedimental and her stone floors put the lie to that. :-)

            1. re: greygarious

              That is probably a good tip for storing raspberries in plastic. I have found that things keep better in glass in my experience. Probably because I never fooled around with the lids, paper towels, etc. I just put them inside the container and refrigerated them and they didn't keep well. I don't store in plastic anymore. I am lazy, I just put things in jars and store.

              I had some raspberries in a jar in my "bar fridge" outside that I forgot about for at least a few weeks, and it was really weird. They didn't mold or ferment, they just had a bunch of juice in the bottom of the jar, like half the jar full. I was hesitant to eat them but they were perfect. I was amazed....and I drank the juice.

              1. re: greygarious

                I have never had chipping on the edges of my Glasslocks either and I DO wash mine in the dishwasher.

                As for berries, I rinse mine in the hottest water that comes from my tap for a good couple minutes before putting them in the fridge. I put a paper towel under and over them as you do but I store them in the lightweight vented clamshells I buy them in. They'll keep a week stored that way too.

                That was a Harold McGee tip that I'll bless him for forever. Blueberries can surprise you by losing their heathery bloom for a day or two but the freshness and texture of the berries are never compromised. They just lose the spores that are responsible for the decay and are inevitably on the surface when you buy them.

            2. They have their respective advantages and disadvantages.

              Plastic containers are difficult to break and even when you do break them, they usually just crack and not shatter into hundreds of pieces. They are also very light to move.

              Glass containers are slightly easier to clean, and most importantly, does not have that plastic smell (plasticizer?)

              <I am trying to keep my foods from going bad so quickly in the fridge>

              What kind of foods are we talking about? Plastic actually can store many things for a very long period of time. If you think about medical faculty storage, plenty of sensitive things are stored in plastic bottles. Many things are more stable in plastic bottles, whole many things are more stable in glass bottles.

              For home cooks, I think the seal is most important. If a glass/plastic container has a good seal, then the food will last longer. If not, it does not matter. Air is your greatest enemy.

              22 Replies
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Main goal for me is to make all items stay fresh as they possibly can. I have to buy a week's worth of produce since I live so far away from a grocery & that fresh peach on Monday is not looking at all the same on Friday, let alone on Sunday evening.

                Usually I just unload my groceries & put them in the fridge. Not much luck with keeping things fresh. I thought the next step would be to sort them out & put in either glass or plastic.

                Come to find out, this is not resulting in a hundred percent success rate either.

                I have been googling whatever I come home with to see how each item should be stored. Usually I end up with variable answers plus a sales pitch for a gizmo to store the darn thing in. Onion balls, "green" bags & blah blah.

                In reality, it is not as cut & dried as glass or plastic. Each item needs its own type of environment & that's really what I am trying to get figure out.

                1. re: cstout

                  <Main goal for me is to make all items stay fresh as they possibly can.>

                  Oh, are you talking about vegetables like celery, and lettuces? In general for items like these, the best thing to do is to warp them in plastic warp. However, certain items like banana is the opposite. You don't want to warp banana because it will speed up the process. You only need to warp the stem.


                  Onion balls are meaningless in my view.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    How do you keep the plastic wrap on the end of each banana? I tried it & the plastic wrap just came undone & fell off after a while. Can you use a rubber band to tie it around the stem end or will that inhibit something from happening or not happening?

                    1. re: cstout

                      I have never heard of that for bananas! But I would try the press & seal, which tends to stick a little better than just cling wrap.

                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      I freeze bananas and they keep well. I use them for protein smoothies. Cut them in hunks, and keep in a zipper bag in the freezer. (They thaw pretty well, although I stick them in the Vitamix still frozen.) I imagine whole bananas will keep for a while in the freezer.

                    3. re: cstout

                      Storing lettuce has been my downfall. What works pretty well is storing washed and spun lettuce between layers of paper towels in a reused plastic spinach box. Or with paper toweling in a ziplock bag.

                      If you want glass, then buy and use glass, by all means. I am not sure it stores things better, but use what you want to use.

                      1. re: sueatmo

                        I also reuse those plastic greens boxes to store other greens. I don't pretend to know why, but I get a much, much longer shelf life doing so. Added benefit: the greens don't run the risk of getting bruised by the other stuff living in the crisper drawer.

                        1. re: cayjohan

                          Do you place a paper towel on the bottom of the plastic container?

                          1. re: cstout

                            I have occasionally when it occurred to me that it was maybe *the thing to do*, but I've more often not used the paper towel. I didn't notice any difference in outcome, really.

                        2. re: sueatmo

                          You mean these?


                          Amazingly, sometime the cheaper (free) things work the best.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Those. Or something akin. The greens I buy are generally Earthbound Farms or Organic Girl; I don't know if their containers have any "specialness" about them over the containers other packagers use, but my experience has been they work just great for extending the freshness of other greens. I've been harvesting a lot of beets lately, and since we love the greens, I like to save them until we have enough to make a beet green-centric meal. They would always wilt in the fridge within a day; when I started storing the greens in a repurposed plastic greens container that problem was eliminated.

                            Yep, sometimes the cheap fixes work great.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Yikes, I have been throwing those away! What else are you all doing with these containers?

                              Saved a bunch of the containers & tried making mini greenhouses for seed growing but it made a huge mess & that's when I decided to toss all the saved plastic containers.

                            2. re: sueatmo

                              I store lettuce for lunch salads in mason jars. There was a Pinterest post going around about it so I tried it. Really neat tip! You can put dressing in the bottom, then a drier ingredient (like cheese or shredded carrot) then the lettuce. Store in the fridge and take to work. Then turn the mason jar upside down on a plate and the dressing is on top! They will last the entire week stored that way.

                              1. re: sueatmo

                                for the lettuce, it will also work just as well if you use a tea towel (i.e. NOT terry cloth) instead of paper towels to wrap the washed/drained lettuce.

                              2. re: cstout

                                I shop no more often than biweekly, and more often it's 3-4 weeks. I have no trouble making my produce last, with a little forethought. Don't buy a whole bunch of bananas. Choose individual ones at varying degrees of ripeness and you'll have the last of them for at least a week. Eat your fruit in perishability order: e.g. the peaches this week, the grapes next week, after that, the apples. In the salad department, lettuces before cabbages, cucumbers before carrots.

                                In warm/hot weather, I put frozen gel-packs into my insulated grocery totes before leaving home, and put all perishables and frozen items into the insulated totes. When I'm shopping at a store with a lackadaisical bagger, I either tell them to just put everything back into the cart and pack it myself, or before I leave the store, I sit down and inspect/rearrange the bags. At one store, I ask the bag boy to unload my cart onto the belt as *I* do the packing, because the kids they employ pay zero attention to what they are doing. The condensation that happens to chilled/frozen foods between checkout line and home shortens their quality time considerably. When I know I'll be in a store for a long time, I put the frozen and sensitive items into the cold insulated tote until I get to the cash register.
                                At home, ziploc bags, if the produce will fit, keep things better than the flimsy plastic bags in the produce department.
                                And I always put them into the crisper drawers.

                                1. re: greygarious

                                  greygarious, thanks so much for all this wonderful information. These are exactly the kinds of things I was hoping to learn but never even knew how to ask.

                                  I really liked your idea of having the bagger just putting everything back in the grocery cart unbagged & then doing my own bagging at the car. Seems like store employees would look at me funny, like I was walking out of the store without paying or something though. How do you deal with that?

                                  I saw a DIY thing on making your own soft gel packs - need to revisit that one & make my own.

                                  Putting things in Ziploc bags instead of leaving in the produce plastic bag is a good idea, even if it might be only temporary until I can get to properly storing everything.

                                  1. re: cstout

                                    I bag everything at the front of the store, once I've been through the register, before leaving. They can all see what I am doing. Sometimes they look at me funny when I don't want them to bag - I just tell them, nicely, that I'm doing it because they don't do it well.

                                    You don't really need frozen gelpacks. Freeze water in a plastic bottle.

                                2. re: cstout

                                  These really do work for berries, chilies and other vegetables.


                                  They come in small and large size.

                                  I really wish I could get some input on whether this thing works. http://www.unicahome.com/p70233/misce...

                                  The berry and vegetable keeper things work, but they aren't for lettuce and I really wish I could throw a head of lettuce in the fridge and have it last.

                                  1. re: omotosando

                                    Put the lettuce in ANY kind of container with a tight seal. That's all you need for it to keep for a few weeks.

                                    1. re: greygarious

                                      Lettuce in a tight seal container - for instance, do you separate the Romaine leaves or leaf lettuce? How about iceberg lettuce?

                                      No paper towel in there to absorb moisture?

                                      1. re: cstout

                                        Whole head, regardless of type of lettuce. If it is very wet, I'd use a paper towel but usually no. I once had a supermarket brand "lettuce keeper" that was the same as any other deep plastic container save for the circle of pea-sized bumps on the bottom, that elevated the core of a head of iceberg. It eventually cracked so I then used an ordinary Rubbermaid container, with no difference in results.

                                3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  All the liquid drugs in vials I've ever encountered are stored in glass ones. I'm talking about injectibles, not suspensions mixed and meant to be used quickly.

                                4. I use both plastic and glass. Keep EVERYTHING that an unwelcome pest might be interested in in anything with a tight seal. Small pastas, rice, grains... in wide-mouth quart Mason jars... Foodsaver makes a gizmo that will let you vac seal on a canning jar lid... reusable.

                                  My "pantry" is mainly a few shelving units in attached garage. I'm always on look out for LARGE Tupperware stuff at yard sales... as long as clean, not warped and nice tight "burp". I store 5 lb bags of sugar/flour in their cannisters.

                                  DEFINITELY gonna try that salad in a jar idea! Thinking if jar isn't totally full... just SHAKE and eat right out of jar.

                                  NOT paranoid about plastic, but know lunch that needs a few minutes in microwave should probably be in glass instead.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: kseiverd

                                    I store lots of things in mason jars, as well. I LOVE the foodsaver tools that allow you to re-vacuum and seal the jars repeatedly.

                                    1. re: kseiverd

                                      Wide mouth glass jars are so versatile for storing anything. The neatest thing I ever saw was a small kitchen with windows on three sides & glass shelves in the windows. Randomly here & there were quart jars of dried fruits & veggies. Bottom shelves were lined with potted herbs. The jars of dried apples & tomato chips were just glistening in the morning sun. Beautiful & simple.

                                      Sorry I got carried away, but food, pasta, grains & flours stored in jars are beauty in themselves.

                                      I am thinking of putting all my spices in very small wide mouth jars. Don't know if I will paint the lids with chalkboard & write on top or just label the front with a small label. Has anyone transferred to glass jars? If so, what type of jar/bottle did you use?

                                      1. re: cstout

                                        I'm a huge fan of mason jars as well. I use the 4-oz and half-pint sizes, with the plastic caps purchased separately, to store some spices, but I store them inside my fridge and cabinet to protect them from the sun/heat/light.

                                        4 oz jars: http://www.amazon.com/Ball-Quilted-Je...

                                        Half-pint jars: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B...

                                        Plastic caps: http://www.amazon.com/Ball-Regular-Mo...

                                        1. re: iyc_nyc

                                          Jars - thanks for the links. Always glad to hear one more thing about different jars.

                                          Here is some jars I fell in love with. Last year you could find them anywhere for half the price, but this year they are nowhere to be found except on Amazon or Ebay at a much higher price. Great for putting special jams or other gifts in. Perhaps you may find them in your stores. They are shallow & squatty, but very attractive. Everyone I gave as a gift asked about getting some jars for themselves. Heck with the contents, just give me the jars. Oh well.


                                    2. For many fruits, I find that a _quick_ rinse in hot water before putting them in the fridge makes a difference.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: DebinIndiana

                                        I've made the leap to mostly glass and stainless steel. For those items I'd like to take to the office and heat I put into Lekue silicone reusable baggies with gusseted bottoms. I can refrigerate, transport and microwave in the same baggie then wash it out.

                                      2. Many plastics are made with a plasticizer called Bisphenol-A, which is an estrogen emulator. It can leach into the foods stored in plastic containers; many countries no longer allow plastics containing Bisphenol-A for baby bottles. So it is definitely safer to use glass. Since the covers probably don't come into contact with the food, it probably doesn't matter that they are plastic, as long as they provide a tight seal. That said, I myself use plastic containers for short-term storage, because they are stackable and don't break.

                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: bcc

                                          No idea where you got your information, I've been in the plastics industry for over 40 years as a product development engineer and there are only a couple of plastics that contain bis phenol-A. Polycarbonate being the one of most concern with respect to food.
                                          Chow hound is a great place, but it's so easy to propagate incorrect information. I would ask everyone to check their facts.

                                          1. re: mikie

                                            I think that bcc was referring to many product and storage containers as plastics, not chemical groupings.

                                            I stay away from all of them as much as I can, for better or worse.

                                            1. re: mikie

                                              Sorry, I know next to nothing about plastics. But if one wishes to avoid BPA, the NIH does recommend the choice of glass, porcelain, or stainless steel containers:

                                              1. re: bcc

                                                Well, that is one way to avoid BPA, jsut avoid all plastics altogether. The other way is to buy plastic containers that are listed as BPA free, of which there are many. Avoiding all plastics because a couple of them contain BPA is kind of like avoiding all ceramic because some glazes contain lead.

                                                1. re: mikie

                                                  Yes, but your objection does not explain the NIH recommendation.
                                                  My wife is a molecular biologist, and many of our friends are molecular biologists, some of whom are specialized in endocrine disruptors. One of them has banished all plastics from her kitchen. She has recommended that we do the same. I'm not willing to go that far, but I did do some reading on the internet, and I checked the resin identification codes on our plastic containers. We don't have any 3's or 7's. But while complete avoidance of BPA is probably not possible in our society, minimizing exposure seems advisable. And some knowledgable people do recommend following the NIH position.

                                                  1. re: bcc

                                                    Other scientists I've encountered (or their family members) have said to me don't just avoid heating food in plastics, avoid them to whatever extent possible as food containers, period.

                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                      Scientists also suggest you you don't breath the air, it's polluted and will kill you. My point is that there are as many opinions as there are scientists. There is no scientific evidence that is widely accepted that all plastics are bad for you. Plastics improve and save lives every day. Artificial knees are plastic, cathaders that allow doctors to preform certain medical procedures are plastic, they go inside your body.

                                                      1. re: mikie

                                                        Please provide a citation where a scientist recommends the cessation of breathing activity. :-)

                                                        I never said we could avoid all plastics, but that I choose to avoid toxic stuff in my food from any sources, including plastics, as much as I can.

                                                        You can heat and eat whatever you want in plastic, none of my business.

                                                        Your body, your science experiment.

                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                          If you knew half of the stuff that's in your food, you wouldn't eat. What is allowed makes a few measly chemicals look tasty. I have a background in chemistry and worked for a food company, just not in the food part of the company. I still have too much knowledge of what the FDA allows.

                                                          1. re: mikie

                                                            I don't settle for what passes FDA guidelines.

                                          2. Hi, cstout:

                                            I prefer glass, but I use plastic sometimes, too.

                                            One frustration I have with some glass containers is the seals--there really aren't any all-glass containers I'm aware of that seal well glass-on-glass. You almost always have to have gasket material that's made from something else.

                                            I have a few sets of Anchor-Hocking glass storage containers with plastic lids, but they certainly don't seal as tight as Cambros or even the cheap plastic disposables.

                                            I'd like to see someone come up with containers that take lids made from the old-style waxed paper seals that were used on glass milk jugs.

                                            I like Cambros because one size lid fits several sizes of containers. Unfortunately, I can't find Cambros small enough for my smallest portions.


                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                              Kaleo, good to hear from you again. Yes, glass containers with glass lids do not have a good seal, lid just sort of sits on top & that's it.

                                              I know Cambro is "food safe", but did not know that you could freeze things in them, thought maybe freezing would eventually warp the lid. I just store flour, sugar & rice in them. Really great for that.

                                              I too would love to have small containers from Cambro, will try to google & see if someone might have them.

                                            2. I love glass and use it as much as possible. I use the Pyrex round containers with the plastic lids. I LOVE canning jars. I buy the plastic lids for them:


                                              I keep flour in gallon glass jars with plastic lids.

                                              1. My toddler can entertain herself for half an hour by moving my plastic containers from one cabinet to the next, and then to a drawer. Minimal supervision required. Not so with glass.

                                                I use plastic for most of my leftovers. I use glass for when I am storing something longer, like quick pickles, or if a super clean container, like something for a friend with celiacs, really matters.

                                                1. I'm not so concerned with keeping foods fresher longer since I have never had a problem with plastic containers but recently a friend made me crazy about re-heating foods that are stored in plastic containers. I have been thinking about switching to glass for storing/reheating in the microwave.

                                                  Any thoughts on what containers with covers that are appropriate for reheating in the microwave?

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: valerie

                                                    Pyrex makes a couple of different sets that are glass and made in the USA. The lids are BPA-free plastic, but since that part doesn't come into contact with the food, I don't suppose it matters a great deal. Macy's even has these on sale this weekend for under $15.


                                                    1. re: valerie

                                                      Regardless of composition, I would not nuke either plastic of glass with the lid on. For whatever reason, I discovered the hard way that if I heated a Rubbermaid Servin' Saver with the lid on, it would never again fit. It's okay to heat the lid if it is off, and just resting on top, though.

                                                      It's easy enough to just lay a piece of parchment, paper towel, or wax paper, or a plate, atop the open container.

                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                        When a plastic lid is heated under stress (stretched over a container) it will relax and take a new shape or size.

                                                    2. I'm a glass chick..
                                                      Costco has the containers w/plastic lids that are wonderful to store items.

                                                      1. FWIW: Costco has a savings booklet coupon on the Snap-Lock Pyrex set through 9/29. It's 5 rectangular and 4 round glass containers, with snap-on plastic lids. They are not stackable. Regular price $29.99, on sale for $23.99.

                                                        I have the previous incarnation of this Costco set, which was all rectangular pieces. They are not labeled as oven-safe but I have baked in them for several years, CAUTIOUSLY, without problems. I set them onto a sheet pan before filling, and don't remove them from the metal pan until the baked items have cooled enough to be handled barehanded. I like making casseroles and simple cakes in smaller dimensions so I can freeze some of the batch easily.

                                                        1. i love glass HOWEVER... my bottom shelf has no support in the center (2 crisper drawers below and someone forgot to design in a center column for support. go figure) and when I put too many glass containers on the shelf it starts to sag. Was anyone on the golden gate bridge with me the day the bridge sagged??? well, that's all i can think of - they said the bridge wouldn't break (and neither has my fridge) but.....

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: rmarisco

                                                            √Ąck! I've had the same thing happen, to my utter dismay! The refrigerators that a) I can afford and b) fit into the tight slot we have for a refrigerator seem to have just plain lousy shelving when it comes to sturdiness. We soldier on with that bottom shelf droop because, well, do I really want to go through the fridge-buying again to get the same situation? I threaten all the time to gut the refrigerator of shelves and build my own custom situation (yeah...right...just me blustering <grin>). What do people store in their fridges that are so weightless? Whisper thin cellophane wrapping around 40 grams of herbs? A cup of soup? And one lemon? Sorry for the rant; it's in support of what you're saying, rm!

                                                          2. Have you looked into Glasslock containers with glass bodies, plastic locking lids and silicone seals? They're great!

                                                            The bodies are heavy. I've been using mine for years without a break yet. The lids are extremely secure and have channels with a silicone band that can be removed for cleaning. They come in a variety of shapes (round, square and rectangular) and sizes.

                                                            The only negative I've experienced is that they don't conveniently nest for storage. The smallest will fit inside the middle and largest sizes but the middle sized ones don't fit within the larger so they take more storage room than they should. But mine are in constant use so I can cope with that.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: rainey

                                                              My daughter uses those Glasslock ones and I can't stand them; sometimes it's hard to snap in those 4 sides.

                                                              I use those glass pyrex ones with the plastic lids; the lids don't touch the food.

                                                              Cook's Illustrated tested lettuces, they put them in plastic bags, blew into them then used a twisty to shut; lasted much longer. I do the same but use those green bags; for me, I think they help matters. (I do the blowing part, too.)

                                                              Some school kid did this for a science project in school and proved that the blowing into the bag worked.

                                                              I keep meaning to write ATK and ask if this works for other veggies, too.

                                                              1. re: walker

                                                                The principle is that plants need carbon dioxide, so it wouldn't matter which vegetables as long as they are ones that still have leaves.

                                                            2. I use Pyrex glass containers with plastic lids. This type is the best. I don't understand why you would object to a plastic lid if you would accept an all plastic container. The glass cannot be sealed without plastic or a rubber gasket. Sealing is essential to keeping food fresh longer.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                                Yeah, I use plastic lids and keep them out of contact with the contents.

                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                  I do the same, I just don't get puckered up if it touches, and I don't heat with or in plastic.

                                                              2. I agree but I guess you have to weigh it a little bit

                                                                1. i know this thread is a bit old but... just wanted to let you guys know that i have recently gotten some airscape brand containers. they are pricey, i know, but i have been SO happy with them. i use one smaller one in the fridge to keep chicken wings or ground meat fresh, and the larger ones hold a pound of coffee beans so they are pretty big. they are stainless, so neither glass or plastic, with a plastic vacuum lid. really do help keep food fresh longer! not perfect for all foods, but i am finding that they are quite useful for a pretty large variety of things..

                                                                  1. <Problem with plastic containers - even the high end ones, is that when purchasing extras, the lids are a little quirky & there isn't a universal fit & so you are thrashing around for the right lid,.>

                                                                    Little trick I found years ago. Most of these containers (except the really cheap ones) have a No. on the bottom. The lids have a cooresponding No. which helps matching them up.