Let me start by saying that I am absolutely a fan of Mason jars. I use them for cold-brew tea, homemade cashew milk, or just plain water. Basically, I use them to drink out of. Things I don't use Mason jars for? Soups and stocks, cooked bulk grains like brown rice or quinoa, or leftovers of any kind. And I definitely don't pack my lunch in them — even if it is trendy.
Instead, for all those other non-drinking things, I call on this restaurant staple. Can you guess what it is?
If you guessed plastic quart container, congratulations — you're right. A few years ago I dated a chef, and these containers are possibly the best thing I took away from the relationship.
5 Reasons Quart Containers Are Better Than Mason Jars
Here are five reasons why they're better than Mason jars.
1. They're lighter.
Let's face it — even when we're not traveling, we're basically carrying our lives with us. If you're like me, between all your computers and gadgets, workout clothes, and various toiletries, not to mention the stuff that just seems to live in the bottom of your bag or briefcase, you're carrying a lot of stuff to and from work every day.
So, is a heavy Mason jar really the way to go when it comes to packing your lunch? I don't think so. Those quart containers? They're the same size, but a fraction of the weight.
2. They're hard to break.
Personally, I'm not a big breaker of things (unless I'm intentionally breaking things to prove my point). But I have lived with people who seem to break at least one glass per day, and not only is it a pain to clean up, but it also means you're constantly replenishing your supply. By comparison, plastic quart containers are pretty indestructible.
3. They're stackable.
I recently moved into an apartment with a separate kitchen. It's not huge, but it's still considerably bigger than my previous (itty-bitty) one. I thought that I'd have gobs and gobs of space, but somehow space is still something I don't seem to have enough of — isn't this always the case?
Luckily, my quart containers are stackable (not so Mason jars) — and I keep the lids all lined up in a Tupperware container. It's all very compact, which means I have more precious cabinet space for my expanding tea collection and pantry staples like canned tomatoes.
4. They're cheaper.
A quart-size Mason jar costs around $1 if you're buying in bulk, and much more if you're not. The plastic ones come in around 50 cents per container — or even less if you go for the super-size order from a restaurant supply store. Plus, if you ever order takeout (say, wonton soup), you'll often get a quart container that you can rinse and reuse, for free. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever actually purchased a plastic quart container — and my collection is substantial.
5. They're freezer-friendly.
Would you put your Mason jar of leftover chili in the freezer? There are ways to do this safely — make sure your food is cooled, fill about 3/4 of the way — but quart containers are much less likely to explode.
Find restaurant quart containers: 32 oz. Microwavable Translucent Plastic Deli Containers with Lid, $38.49 for a case of 240 at Webstaurant Store
Do you use these in your kitchen? Any other good aspects I may have forgotten?