Buying Guide of Jars and Containers
What is a kitchen without its crocodile of jars and containers of different sizes and shapes? Condiments in some, pickles in other, dry fruits in some other and so on and so forth - they have always been an indispensable part of any kitchen. But did you know- how different materials and grades of material that these jars are made of can affect the food you store in them?
Here's some guidance on buying jars and containers that we are sure you will find helpful.
Factors To Consider Before Buying Jars & Containers
What will you store?
Different items require different shapes, makes, and neck sizes of the container. So, don’t just go and randomly buy a plastic jar or glass container only because you have to. Make mental notes about what you are planning to keep in them. This would determine what you are going to buy. While you can keep cadies in glass containers, it will be a little too risky for daily usage, right? So, if your spices need new spaces you must go for some other materials like clear plastic jars.
How much will you store?
If you are a regular in kitchen and love cooking up a storm (literally!) every now and then you must have a long batch of spices and condiments along with other itsy bitsy items stored in there. This calls for quite a good number of jars and small containers as well. But if you only eat to live, it is most likely that there are the basics only lined up in the pantry. So, understand how much storage space you would need and buy accordingly. Don’t just heap them.
Which materials will you be storing?
While plastic jars and containers of similar sturdy materials like metals can be considered for daily use, you need to be extra cautious with glass jars. Delicate handling would take good care of your jars and containers made of glass (like the mason jars) or borosilicate.
Airtight or not?
Would you like soggy and dampened cereals in breakfast which lost all its crunchiness? Of course not! Well, that will happen if you keep them in a non-airtight container. So, while buying containers, check once whether your chosen ones can serve your purpose rightfully or not.
Are they BPA-free?
This applies particularly to plastic containers. Check the bottom of the plastic products for a BPA-free sign. Also, refer to the plastic recycle triangle at the bottom containing a number. You can consider those products safe which have 2, 4 and 5 embossed within the triangle. This is severely hazardous for health and you must consider this before buying plastic containers.
How child-friendly are they?
The sole purpose of jars and containers is not only acting as your storage unit. Your little one’s lunchbox is also a container you should be considerate about. The container should be easy-to-open and keep food fresh till long hours.
What shapes will you go for?
Well, the jars and containers come in myriad shapes. Long and slender, cylindrical, hexagonal, small, square-based, round-based, rectangular- you name it and there is one for you. Grabbing each one of them would certainly add versatility to your kitchen, but at the same time would make stacking impossible. Choice is yours completely. But do keep this in mind too.
Types of Jars and Containers
Transparency is the biggest advantage of glass containers. As the content inside can be displayed, it is preferred very commonly for dry food storage, liquid contents. These are also advantageous for refrigeration purposes and microwave heating (check and recheck while buying if your chosen product does come with this facility). Another advantage of glass containers is these are effective in preventing odors or moisture intrusion. Do you have long term storage purpose in mind? Definitely go with glass jars. You do not always have to buy them also. The glass containers that the jams, jellies, pickle, sauces come in, why do away with them? You can easily wash them well and reuse them at your own kitchen or for other purposes also, such as storing on-food items like pens or toothbrushes. Versatility, easy availability, and multi-functionality make glass containers one of the favorites of all times.
On the downside, glass jars are very fragile: careless handling for even a fraction of a second can lead to breakage. Also, the lids attached to the jars often do not sustain long enough and come off calling for replacement. Now, that’s a problem too. Finding a lid of the correct size often ends up in failure leaving the glass container of no use. But then again, you can use it for holding a foliage arrangement or keeping freshly cut flowers!
These are glass containers, no doubt. But why do we bring it up as a different type? Simply because of the myriad options they offer. Do you want wide-mouthed jars for keeping your choco-chip cookies? Or do you want Jars for use as soap dispensers? Mason jars have you covered. Want a container with lid for storing anything- from flour to home décor items? Choose a mason jar. Want a leak-proof jar for not only storing food but also for canning or pickling? Mason jars are good-to-go. Want jars for crafting and gifting someone? What else can you choose but mason jars? Did we mention the airtight characteristics? Well, that too! From mini jars to containers with 1-gallon capacity- mason jars come in every possible size. Lightweight and ability to wash I dishwasher are two more advantages. There you have it. Aren’t mason jars becoming your favorite now?
Think airtight, plastic jars crowd your mind, right? These are a big hit with customers as they allow storage in smaller portions. Be it liquid or dry food, plastic jars showcase their efficiency with ease. Fabricated with lightweight features, both rigid and semi-rigid formations are presented within the preparation of containers.
Fear of contamination from recycled plastic is the biggest problem of plastic jars. Not all plastics are of edible grade quality and this is what makes us dubious about the readily available jars in the market. Now, if you are not eyeing food storage only, we can never deny the versatility and easiness of use (due to the lightweight) of plastic- be it a bucket or a lunchbox. Make sure you buy only FDA approved plastic.
Stainless steel is the most commonly used metal for containers and is highly popular with the food processing industry also. These have the added advantage of being tamper-proof. Thus the foods inside can be assured to be kept safe. If you want to seal the aroma and prevent moisture intrusion at the same time, nothing can replace aluminum. Sometimes the metal containers are galvanized to make them sturdier. Heavy-duty, spill-proof, non-hazardous characteristics make metal jars favorite among the consumers.
It is not every day that you will find a lightweight metal jar. Also, dents are common on metal containers as they fall from your hand or from your kitchen island or even the shelves.
Frequently Asked Questions About Jars And Containers
1. Where to buy jars?
Do you really have to buy them? Don’t you have enough of them around you? What happened to the container of pineapple jam you bought last month? The coffee powder came in a jar, right? As for plastic jars, you can find them easily at every shopping mall or shop with crockery items, even at dollar stores. Online shopping sites are also ready with an array of jars and containers for you to choose from.
2. What is the difference between a bottle and a jar?
Bottles generally come with a narrow mouth and a neck while jars are all about mouths wide enough to put your hand into it. Also, we use bottles for liquid items while jars can store dry, liquid, powder- anything.
3. How to decorate mason jars?
Well, how do you want it? Let your imaginations fly high and bring out the craftsman in you. Paint them with designs and colors of your choice. Turn them into planters with a white chalk paint base. Use glitters on them to give a new look. Tie a cute ribbon around the neck. Stick a small-sized photo of your choice on it and use it as a flower vase. Make it a centerpiece with sparkles sprinkled all over them or strategically.
4. How to seal jam jars?
Bring water to boil. Cover the jam Jars with their lids on and screw on them. Now place the jars in the water so that the Jars are covered beneath the water. Keep on boiling for 10 minutes. Now pull jars out of the boiling water and place a folded towel around them. Now leave them for cooling for 12 hours. You have sealed your jam jars! Simple!
5. How much do storage containers cost?
Not a fortune, of course! You will find them costing differently also. There are products of 4 USD as well as 75 USD also. The cost cannot be thus considered static. It varies from one company to another company also. A set of 12 mason jars come at the cost of 1527 USD. So, you can easily understand how fluctuating the price can be!
6. How to get the smell out of plastic containers?
The icky odor is irritating, isn’t it? Find the refuge of vinegar for removing this smell. Add vinegar for rinsing followed by washing with liquid soap and hot water. This is pretty much effective in removing the smells. Baking soda can also efficiently remove any garlic smell. As for white bottles, fill it with white vinegar and allow to sit. Wash and Ta-Da! No smell!
7. How to remove stains from plastic containers?
Baking soda can be of great help in this. Mix baking soda with water to make a consistent paste. Then apply the paste on the container and let it sit for some time (preferably 20-30 minutes). Following this, clean it with a moist cloth. Finally, wash it away and leave to dry. Thus you can have your containers free from stains.
8. Can containers be placed in a microwave?
It depends on the material of the container. Borosilicate glass containers can be placed in microwave. Nowadays some plastic jars are also coming up with this facility. Bu it will be wise not to reheat food in microwave oven in a plastic container as there are higher chances of hazards.
9. What are ceramic jars for?
Ceramic jars have not been widely used in the US as it has been in Asiatic countries, mainly Indian subcontinent. These jars are particularly used for storing pickles of mango, lime, etc. These typically come with a lid (with a knob on it) that sits perfectly inside the neck of the jar. It prevents spoilage of the food item inside.
10. Can jars retain the smell of food?
Well, some can and some can’t. The make of the jar body, the lid, cap closure, seal and liner of the container- all contribute to the fact whether the jar will be smell proof or not. To see whether a particular jar does retain the smell, you have no other option but to try and test.
11. Which jar type is the best - plastic, metal or glass?
It is quite difficult to answer it in a word. Each has its own pros and cons. Also, you will find them useful based upon your requirement only. Read our article above and find out the factors you should keep in mind while choosing jars and containers for storage. Also, get an idea about the facilities each of them provides and decide which will be best for you.
Remember the potbellied jars your grandpa would keep cookies in? That brings back so many memories, right? So, jars and containers go a long way apart from only storing your grocery items or decking up the cozy corner at your home. Choose yours wisely and store them in a neat manner to give your indoors a well-furnished look.