I used to store leftovers in plastic containers in my fridge. You know how it is. You leave them in the fridge too long and the orange stains won't come out of the plastic container. Ever. Ewww...
The condition of the plastic deteriorates. The smooth plastic turns rough. Ugh...
All the bad news on plastic drinking containers or microwaving plastic made me nervous. Yes, it was time for a change.
If I had my way, I would buy those clear square glass containers that our grandparent's generation used. They had clear glass lids, stacked neatly, and you could see what was in them. Now, they are mainly available in antiques stores--and those things are crazy expensive. I hear that some stores are starting to bring them back. (And I'm not talking the ones with plastic lids. I want the ones with glass lids.) I knew I couldn't be the only person who wished they would make a comeback!
Until I find the glass storage that I'm looking for, I have started using Mason or Ball Canning jars. They are glass: no staining and no deteriorating. (Though breakage could be a problem, knock on wood--it hasn't happened yet.) I put them through the dishwasher, and they come out sparkling clean and ready to go.
Jars make it easier to see what I am storing. They are much clearer than the opaque plastic.
These jars come in quite a few different sizes. I primarily use the pint and quart jars. If you are buying jars, choose the wide mouth variety for ease of use. I have some narrow mouth jars that I use, but I prefer the wide mouth jar. Jelly jars are perfect for storing small things like leftover sauces or small amounts. I have a couple of jars that are larger than quart. I think they might be half gallon, but I'm not sure. I love those for storing soup or larger quantities.
How much will these cost you? You can usually get 9-12 jars with lids for about $12. Hardware stores, grocery stores, Walmart, Target--they all carry them. They are economical and smart.
Seeing the healthy items in jars in your fridge means you usually reach for them first. (OK. I might still be hunting Rocket Pops or Diet Pepsi, but sometimes I will grab the grapes or the pineapple!)
I use my jars in the fridge for fresh produce or leftovers, but now I really need to start using the jars in my pantry, too. Rice, pasta, dried beans, raisins, and nuts would all keep neatly. When I open a package and use part of it, I wouldn't have a container that is open but not tightly sealed like the boxes or bags they come in. That is the next step.
Canning jars for storage? It just makes sense.