Do Glass Containers Keep Food Fresh Longer?

The amount of food storage containers on the market can be overwhelming, and knowing which type is best is a tough question. Are glass containers the best type for keeping food fresh? If you have similar questions during your search for the perfect food storage container, we’ve researched which material is best and how they stack up against one another competitively.

If you want your food to stay fresh and tasty as long as possible, using a glass storage container with an air-tight locking seal is the best option. Glass helps to preserve flavor and quality better than plastic, metal, or any other material.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to food storage containers; the science behind why paints a very clear picture of why glass is superior. Please read further if you want to know how each type of storage container compares to one another.

Glass containers with different food contained inside, Do Glass Containers Keep Food Fresh Longer?

The Benefits of Glass Storage Containers

According to the Glass Packaging Institute, glass storage containers are industry standard for food longevity and human health when it comes to packaging food for sale. The same science applies to why storage containers made from glass are best for keeping food fresh at home.

There are no chemicals in glass that can leak into food that is stored in the container for too long, and acidic foods won’t cause any type of corrosion to glass on any level. Glass is not a porous material, so no stains, residues, or flavors are left behind on it. It is the perfect material for retaining the food's intended flavor.

Glass is often both microwave and oven safe, something we can’t say for any other type of food storage material. It can therefore go from the freezer or refrigerator into the oven or microwave. This can be very handy for meal-preppers or busy families. Check out "Do Glass Containers Keep Food Warm?" for your leftovers.

Some glass food storage containers are even made from tempered glass, which has been heated in special ovens to strengthen it. Containers like this can even survive a fall off of the countertop in some cases.

Is glass or plastic better for food storage?

A woman sealing a glass food container

There are a few benefits to plastic storage containers that cannot be ignored. They are more affordable and easier to find than glass or stainless-steel containers, and they are not breakable or heavy like glass containers can be. A cheap plastic food box isn’t something you’d feel bad about accidentally leaving in the company refrigerator to be thrown away.

However, plastic food storage containers can be stained by certain types of leftovers, leading them to be discolored and even making them carry the previously-stored food flavors and smells. We all know the taste of water from a plastic water bottle that’s been left too long in the car – it’s not a good flavor.

Plastic tastes can overtake food through plastic containers. Glass is the only material that perfectly preserves flavor, which is why humans have been using it to store fruits, vegetables and, wine for thousands of years. With a glass container, you’ll never have to worry about getting rid of nasty stains or smells.

Washing and caring for glass containers is also much easier than the laundry list of chores one can encounter with plastic. Some dishwashers get too hot for plastic to be washed anywhere but on the top rack, and some plastic containers are even handwash only. Glass is safe to wash in a dishwasher and can be placed on any level without fear of heat damage.

Check out "How to Remove Food Smells And Stains From Plastic Containers?" for great tips on freshening those plastic containers you've had in the cupboards forever.

A Note About Plastic Wrap (or Saran Wrap) for Food Storage

While it may be convenient to simply cover a plate with a plastic wrap section before putting leftovers into the refrigerator, this is far less effective at maintaining freshness than glass or even plastic containers. As mentioned above, the air-tight seal is what keeps your food fresh, and plastic wrap simply can’t guarantee that.

Plastic wrap also contributes greatly to pollution as it is difficult and expensive to recycle effectively. This is the same realm as other single-use items such as Styrofoam and aluminum foil.

Is glass or stainless-steel better for food storage?

Different kinds of vegetables and bean products inside glass container

Stainless-steel food storage containers are a kind of middle ground between plastic and glass. They are lightweight and durable, like plastic, but more premium and more easily air-tight like glass. Stainless-steel also has a better lifetime value than plastic and is therefore eco-friendly, just like glass.

Similar to plastic though less common, flavors of metal can find their way into stored food. Additionally, these are more expensive in general by coming in smaller sets of only 3- to 5-counts for only slightly less expensive than the 18- to 34-counts found with glass containers.

A final drawback to the stainless-steel containers is that they cannot be used in the microwave or oven like glass can. Having to use one container for storage and then a second for reheating means twice as many dirty dishes is less convenient for home and office.

Who makes the best glass food storage containers?

Glass containers for different kinds of bean products

Now that glass containers have established themselves as the type that keeps food fresh the longest, you’re probably wondering which storage containers are the best on the market. Here is a list of the container sets with the highest praise on Amazon.

For the best set of glass containers in all-around quality and variety, check out The Pyrex Simply Store's Meal Prep Glass Food Storage Containers. Click here to see it on Amazon.

For a more premium and uniform look with an air-tight seal and use from freezer to oven, see the most reviewed set on Amazon: 24-Piece Superior Glass Food Storage Containers Set. This innovative set has hinged, BPA-free locking lids. Click here to see it on Amazon.

If you’re on a budget but still want the same quality as the first two options above, go ahead and add the Amazon Basics Glass Locking Lids Food Storage Containers, 20-Piece Set to your cart. Click here to see it on Amazon.

The Verdict

Making too much food is both the most common mistake and the greatest advantage of home cooking. Keeping that food fresh is incredibly important to retain flavor, keep you healthy and get your full value of the cost of the food. In exploring the different types of food storage containers, glass has come out on top as the best all-around material for keeping food fresh.

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