FOOD STORAGE CONTAINERS

Published Monday, September 01, 2003. From Cook's Illustrated.

Does Tupperware still rule the refrigerator when it comes to storing leftovers?

PRODUCT NAME DESCRIPTION PERFORMANCE, NEW PERFORMANCE, USED DESIGN PRICE
Highly Recommended
  Tupperware Rock 'N Serve Medium Deep Container

Well designed (handles, flat lid, vent for microwaving), with performance almost to match. We're concerned about durability, though, as cracks developed during 100 dishwasher cycles. These cracks caused leaking during a second submersion test. Some testers found it tricky to seal at first.

*** *** *** $16.50
Highly Recommended
  Rubbermaid Stain Shield Square Container

Handsome, sturdy container with wide rim for easy handling. Lives up to marketing claims of stain resistance. Odor control performance not perfect, though.

*** *** *** $4.99
Highly Recommended
  Genius VakSet: Four Vacuum Storage Containers with Pump

Impressive performance comes with caveats: hassle factor of extra pumping step; vacuum-release method, which some may find unintuitive; containers rendered essentially useless if pump is lost.

*** *** ** $57.99
Highly Recommended
  Rubbermaid Seal'n Saver

Staining was the only problem encountered in this sturdy container with excellent seal.

*** ** ** $4.99
Recommended with Reservations
  Betty Crocker Servables Container

Decent, easy-handling container that didn't stand up too well to submersion and staining tests. So don't sink it, and store tomato products in another container.

** ** *** $3.99
Recommended with Reservations
  GladWare Containers/Deep Dish Size

Despite some staining and minor leaking, good overall performer, which surprised us given its overall flimsy feel. We were shocked that its performance improved after 100 washings, particularly in shaking test. A good value.

** *** ** $3.49 for 3
Recommended with Reservations
  Ziploc Brand Containers/Large Rectangle (pkg. of 2)

Only odor protection was truly subpar; bread smelled like onions at end of day one. We're not crazy about flimsy feel and lack of handles or rim, but you can't argue with this container's performance. Stained less after 100 washings than when brand new.

** *** ** $2.99
Recommended with Reservations
  Sterilite Ultra Seal

We were stunned that performance improved with use, but it did. Less leakage, less staining, and better odor protection after 100 dishwasher cycles.

* *** *** $3.49
Recommended with Reservations
  Snapware Snap N' Serve: Clear Stainproof Six-Piece Food Storage Container Set

Cracked during 100 dishwasher cycles, which impaired seal in submersion and odor protection tests. Has handles, but too small to help much when moving container hot from microwave. We're concerned about durability.

*** ** ** $19.97
Not Recommended
  Tramontina Stainless Steel Gourmet Collection Storage Container

Despite good performance on virtually all tests because of its superhero seal, testers found it so difficult to affix lid to container securely (and, occasionally, to remove it, too) that we would avoid this model. Beside that, it's not microwave-safe.

*** *** ** $29.75
Not Recommended
  Pyrex Storage Plus/Rectangle Dish with Lid

Stain resistant for sure, but also heavy, hard to handle when hot, and seals poorly. Odor protection was minimal, and we wouldn't store liquids in it.

** ** ** $5.99
Not Recommended
  SK Enterprises: Three Vacuum Seal Storage Containers

Vacuum mechanism seemed flimsy and fussy to operate. It failed us occasionally, especially if fine food particles such as sugar got into seal. Then, midway through testing, mechanism broke and never worked again.

* *** ** $19.94