Commonly used plastic food and beverage containers can undermine your health by leaching toxic chemicals into the foods and beverages you consume. This can contribute to endocrine disorders, birth defects, and cancer. While we can’t eliminate all risks, we can certainly reduce our exposure to these harmful chemicals by being more conscious about the kinds of foods and containers we buy and use.
Safe food storage
If you’ve followed my blog, taken my online or live cooking classes, or read my cookbooks, you know that I advocate using a home drinking water filtration system rather than buying bottled water. I encourage people to use biodegradable, non-toxic, and inert containers for storing foods in the pantry, the refrigerator, and the freezer. Examples include stainless steel thermoses and water bottles, wide mouth canning jars and other glass jars, tempered glass containers with lids (think Pyrex and Corningware), and stainless food tins, such as tiffins, tiffin-like containers, and stacking stainless steel food containers. You can read more about these and other options and the benefits of them in The Garden of Eating.
Freezing homemade frozen desserts
If you make your own frozen desserts, you may be wondering what to store them in besides plastic. In my Ice Dream Cookbook, I present several alternatives, including pint and half pint canning jars, tempered glass custard cups with lids, and cardboard ice cream containers.
Most people don’t know that you can freeze in glass if you leave an inch of space below the lip in the jar (where it gets narrow) when freezing liquids and you chill the jar and its contents until they are cold to the touch. I freeze many leftovers in glass jars and round and square tempered glass containers with lids. Still, there’s a limit to how much glass I want in the freezer when it’s very full.
The cardboard ice cream containers
These containers are one of the best options. They look like store bought pint-size containers of ice cream except that they don’t have labels. They’re inexpensive, unbreakable, 100% biodegradable and you can write on the outside (do this before you fill them with ice cream or Ice Dream). If you have kids, you can let them decorate the outside of the containers with colorful markers before you fill them with your freshly churned frozen dessert.
These containers are less fragile than glass jars, which can tumble out of the freezer and break if you’re not careful about where you place them. They keep your homemade frozen desserts fresh and preserve the texture better than larger containers, which can lead to icing up if the dessert is repeatedly frozen and then allowed to soften enough to scoop.
Restaurant supply and outlet stores sell these pint-size food-grade containers in packs of 25 and they usually sell the lids separately. In Phoenix, AZ, I buy them at Smart & Final stores. Although I listed some online sources when I wrote the boo, many required purchase in large amounts, until now.
If you haven’t ventured to make your own frozen desserts, now’s the time, while the weather is still hot. Making your own frozen dessert is easier than you might imagine with today’s modern ice cream makers. You can make flavors you won’t find in stores. You can use higher quality ingredients and avoid a long list of preservatives and additives. You make your treats dairy free, gluten free, egg free (if you’re allergic to eggs or want to simplify the “custard” making process), naturally sweetened, and lower in sugar. My Ice Dream Cookbook will walk you through the process of making non-dairy coconut milk based ice cream alternatives without refined sugar.