Purging The Plastic
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Last week, I decided to get rid of the majority of the plastic in my house, mostly gladware containers. I know that they are cheap and reusable but I had way too many and never could seem to find the right shaped lid or the right size when I needed it. Too much of a good thing, I guess. Plus, there are more and more studies about plastics, especially when heating it in the microwave. As this is the main reason for those plastic storage containers, I had second thoughts.
What I did was buy a set of glass storage containers at Costco, called Glasslock. They have a heavy duty plastic top that locks around all four sides of the glass container. They are beautiful, very sturdy and look great in the fridge. I packed up all the old gladware and random other "tupperware" type containers. I also got glass juice containers to replace the plastic ones. They are smaller, just one can of frozen concentrate, but I figure this will keep my boys from drinking juice so fast. I also have one full of water in the fridge, as our local tap water is very high quality (Western Oregon). I already have some glass cannisters, with the rubber gasket and the old fashioned flip lock. I keep my dry goods in those. I have a very old canning jar that I use for my popcorn. My oils and vinegar all have their own colored glass bottles from Ikea. I was going to use them as vases or for other decorative purposes but I'd rather give them a real purpose in my home. If I need more containers, I always have canning jars and lids for quick storage of leftover soups, sauces or whatever.
I am still using ziploc bags, especially for freezing and marinating. I have had good success with freezing chicken stock and leftover chili in a gallon sized bag. Just be sure it stays sealed very well. I always buy brand name bags, because I have found that the off brand have more failures and the price isn't usually that far off. At some point, I may invest in a Food Saver vacuum sealer but there always seems to be something more pressing.
I have a good looking tomato harvest coming up in August. Last year, I had more tomatoes that I knew what to do with and gave away tons. This year, I'm going to make and can spaghetti sauce and salsa for later in the year. My plants have several green spheres so I should have plenty.
My husband and I took this opportunity to reorganize and pare down the kitchenware. I have 4 (yes, four!) vegetable peelers, each with their own pros and cons. I had several sets of measuring spoons and cups, lots of very old spatulas and cooking spoons that had seen better days. And no end of random kitchen gizmos and specialty items. No wonder I couldn't regularly get the drawers to close! I got rid of anything that was an obvious duplicate or unnecessary (several lids for spice jars that I no longer have), and have mentally marked a few items that may be going out on the next purge. For example, I bought a garlic chopper, it is sort of round and you push it against the garlic on the cutting board and it "easily" chops it up. this is in addition to the two other garlic presses that I had in there. I got rid of the oldest press and am going to test out the chopper before deciding to give it away to a friend or donate it. Problem is, every time I chop garlic (every day, pretty much), I forget to get it out of the drawer and just smash it with my knife. So that is probably a sign that I don't need it :)
I'm a big fan of Alton Brown and his show, Good Eats, on the Food Network. He is a advocate for avoiding "unitaskers", kitchen gadgets that only have one purpose. He says that the only unitasker you should have in your kitchen is a fire extinguisher (a lesson I learned a couple of years ago!). I'm not quite there, but it is something I'm keeping in mind.
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