Glass Food Storage Containers

Published May 1, 2010. From Cook's Illustrated.

With all the discussion about the potential health hazards of plastic storage containers, is glass really the way to go?

Overview:

Many consumers have decided to avoid plastic storage containers after learning about the possible ill effects of microwaving in plastic, leading to the resurgence of glass food storage. We chose three and ran them through the same tests as our plastic containers (with the exception of dropping them onto the floor). Two were oven-safe, but other design flaws knocked them out of the running. A third aced all our tests, and was equal to the top-ranked plastic containers. If it weren’t considerably heavier and more prone to breakage, we’d consider choosing glass as our favorite storage container.

Methodology:

We tested eight BPA-free plastic (according to manufacturers) food storage containers, choosing square or rectangular sizes as close as possible to 8-cup capacity. All were purchased online or in Boston-area retail stores.

Leaks

We filled the containers with chicken noodle soup and shook them vigor- ously for 15 seconds, then filled them with sugar and pie weights and sub- merged them in water for two minutes. Containers that… read more

Many consumers have decided to avoid plastic storage containers after learning about the possible ill effects of microwaving in plastic, leading to the resurgence of glass food storage. We chose three and ran them through the same tests as our plastic containers (with the exception of dropping them onto the floor). Two were oven-safe, but other design flaws knocked them out of the running. A third aced all our tests, and was equal to the top-ranked plastic containers. If it weren’t considerably heavier and more prone to breakage, we’d consider choosing glass as our favorite storage container.

Methodology:

We tested eight BPA-free plastic (according to manufacturers) food storage containers, choosing square or rectangular sizes as close as possible to 8-cup capacity. All were purchased online or in Boston-area retail stores.

Leaks

We filled the containers with chicken noodle soup and shook them vigor- ously for 15 seconds, then filled them with sugar and pie weights and sub- merged them in water for two minutes. Containers that didn’t leak in the soup test and that kept their contents dry when submerged received high marks.

Odors

We refrigerated oil-packed tuna in each container for three days, then ran containers through a home dishwasher and checked for odors.

Microwave

We filled containers with chili, froze them, and reheated them in the micro- wave, checking for warping, staining, and plastic flavors or odors.

Durability

After testing, including 50 cycles in a home dishwasher, we observed stains, warping, and wear and tear; then we froze water in the containers.

Design

We considered features that made the containers easier to use, including simple, intuitive seals or efficient shapes.

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  • Product Tested

    Results Key:

    Good ★ ★ ★ Fair ★ ★ Poor
  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Highly Recommended - Winner

    Kinetic Go Green GlassLock

    A neat, tight, reliable seal, good capacity, and solid performance in every test made this container a standout. We didn’t perform the “drop” test on this or any other glass container because of the certainty of breakage, and it was heavier than the lightweight all-plastic containers, but if you are concerned about microwaving food in plastic storage containers, this is the one to choose. Downsides: The lid is washable only on the top rack, and the container has a deep tall shape, which is less preferable than a shallower, flatter shape for quick freezing and heating.

    • Leaks ★★★
    • odors ★★★
    • Design ★★
    • Microwave ★★★
    • Durability ★★★

    $7.99

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended

    Pyrex 3-pc Bake, Serve N Store Set

    At 4.8 cups, this container was far too small (it’s the largest in this line), but the innovative combination of plastic and glass lids, for storage and microwaving, respectively, was a winner. The loaf-pan-size base can go into a conventional oven for baking. The plastic lid gripped tightly, keeping in soup when shaken but letting water leak in when submerged—however, the seal actually improved after 50 times through the dishwasher and stayed dry when we repeated the test.

    • Leaks ★★½
    • odors ★★★
    • Design ★★
    • Microwave ★★★
    • Durability ★★★

    $10.49

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Not Recommended

    Anchor Hocking True Seal

    An attractive container, with a soft silicone lid that was easy to put on, but the seal was not tight, the lid stained and retained odors, and its clear window became cloudy with use. When new, it kept soup inside even when we shook it, but it flunked the submersion test; after going through the dishwasher 50 times, its seal was noticeably looser and leaked profusely in every test.

    • Leaks
    • odors ★★
    • Design
    • Microwave ★★
    • Durability

    $10

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