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Prep like a chef with this $40 food-storage set

Food-storage containers are sometimes viewed like the one sock lost in the dryer because lids have a habit of disappearing. They also can end up scattered throughout the kitchen drawers with lids here and there — but never quite where you need to find them.

food in storage containersStill, you need storage for leftovers but also when you are doing meal prep. It’s so much easier to make a meal when all the ingredients you need are right there in their containers. We’ve looked at some of the options out there and made our pick, but first here’s what you need to consider when looking for storage container sets.

What to look for

Glass and plastic are the two options. Some of the glass storage containers can go right into the oven, and they can be used over and over again. But they are heavy and not exactly portable all the time. Plastic storage containers eventually wear out. No matter how carefully you wash and use them, they eventually stain and usually start cracking near where the lid goes at the top.

Then there are shapes and edges. Flared edges are popular because you can snap the seal cover down easier, but the flared edges make storage in the freezer or refrigerator a problem because nothing will fit tightly next to them. Round shapes work great with soup, sauces, and other liquids, while square and rectangle shapes are perfect for meat and ingredients for prep work.

Lids need to seal and keep sealing with repeated uses.

We picked this container set

Rubbermaid Brilliance Storage 14-piece storage set has good reviews, a lot of storage options, and is about $40.

Here’s what we and others like about this set: They are leakproof and made of a heavier plastic, but the pieces aren’t too heavy. Since they aren’t heavy like glass, they are quite portable and fit nicely into a lunch box. They don’t stain, are odor-resistant, and are dishwasher-safe.

This is a big plus: They are clear like glass, so you don’t have to play the “let’s open this up and see what it is” hunting game when you are getting ready to make a meal. You can clearly see that the diced-up cucumbers are in one container and the cherry tomatoes are in another.

The lids have a built-in vent, so you can microwave in the container and not get splatters. And you can preheat ingredients while you are prepping, or heat them ever so slightly so they can come out of the containers to mix into what you are preparing. They are also stackable and keep vegetables and fruit fresh. The top edges do not crack or wear from the lids being snapped down.

When it’s time to make a meal, you like to have everything at your fingertips. You also don’t want a nasty surprise and find out something you stored several days ago has spoiled and is no longer useable. It’s nice to see the ingredients right away in their storage containers, and keeping the refrigerator and freezer organized with containers that easily stack is a plus. The right container set can be such a help in the kitchen.

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