Do you use plastic? This material is extremely popular nowadays. Why? Low cost is one of the basic reasons. Plastic items are lightweight and handy. They are easy to carry and handy to store in your fridge or freezer. However, is it safe to freeze food in plastic containers? Storing food, we need not only comfort and convenience of use. Health benefits are primary. Let’s think again if we should retain plastic packing and if so, which ones are preferable.
Can You Freeze Plastic Containers?
Plastic is a general name that combines a wide group of materials. It means they are moldable. At normal conditions, they are incredibly versatile and flexible. Under high temperatures plastic melts. At extreme cold, it becomes more rigid.
The materials we select are safe to store foods. That is, plastic containers for freezing food are tested and approved by the FDA. Most of them are classified as polyethylene. Which properties of these plastic materials make them safe and useful?
Safe Plastic Numbers Chart
|Type of Plastic||Density, g/cm3||Chemical Resistance||Melting Point, F||The Lowest Temperature Limit, F|
|HDPE||0.93-0.97||excellent or good||248-302||-58|
Plastic freezer containers with lids made of these materials are suitable to store dry food. They can be used to keep wet food like soups or stews safe in several days. Long-time storage in a freezer requires low temperatures tolerance that is quite acceptable. Polyethylene remains impact resistant at these conditions.
What about other plastic materials? PVC and polypropylene are brittle. At temperatures below freezing, they are prone to cracking. Polystyrene is not used for these applications. It becomes brittle at 68°F. In a freezer, it’s extremely fragile.
Can I Freeze Meat in Plastic Containers?
It’s always better to buy fresh meat or poultry. Cooking it on the same day, you get delicious healthy dishes. Storing your uncooked fish, steaks or chops in your fridge during 1-2 days is safe. On condition that you wrap them properly, of course. But all kinds of untreated meat, red or white, spoil quickly. So, you may need to preserve it.
If you’ve bought a turkey a week before Thanksgiving Day, no big deal. After the party, don’t discard leftovers. Your delicious festive dishes would be opportune in some weeks or even months. Freezing is a perfect meet preservation method : both nutritional value and taste are preserved!
But going to freeze meat, you are to cut it into portions and wrap. Which packaging suits the application? Freezer bags and plastic containers do the job. They are:
- thick and durable;
- easy to fill, open and close;
Zipper seals on the top lock your meat securely. It prevents freezer burns, leakages and food spoilage issues. But what containers? Using them, you may succeed in aim too.
Materials and Features
I am sure, you won’t forget to consider plastic type. LDPE, HDPE and PP materials are food and freezer-safe. Polyethylene is usually thin as a film, but not solid. Сertainly, polypropylene may become brittle at freezing temperatures and crack. So, manufacturers use special additives to improve its durability.
Additionally, polypropylene containers are dishwasher-safe. They stand heat up to 210 °F. Top-quality PP vessels come with flexible, air-tight lids. Do they prevent freezer burn of meat? It’s possible if you:
- load containers full of meat, preventing exposure to air;
- choose solid containers with air-tight lids;
- size them properly to fit your freezer.
Lids with vacuum locks are preferable. They eliminate leakages and freezer-burn issues. Do you remember how to pack and load your freezer properly? Reusable, rigid containers may fit it. Plastic packing is better than glass or metal. It nor breaks easily, neither gets uncomfortably cold.
Additionally, consider innovative materials like silicone or Tritan plastic. They are non-toxic and BPA-free, as well as top-quality plastic products. But these items have improved properties. The list includes odor and stain resistance, durability and flexibility.
Dangers of Plastic Containers for Food
Thick polyethylene is a great material to store food. It’s recyclable, corrosion-resistant, lightweight and transparent. The containers are handy to stack up in the fridge. They don’t require a lot of useful space. Additionally, polyethylene packaging survives extreme cold. It protects food products from dust, light, odors, and oxygen.
However, the freezer containers for liquids are not a cure-all solution:
- Absorb odors.
- Are prone to staining.
- Break down naturally in several years of use.
- Being exposed to trash, plastic objects pollute the environment.
However, the greatest danger is in chemicals. Plastics are synthetic, carbon-based materials. Safe ones don’t degrade in the environment. However, what about phthalates and bisphenol A? Select only BPA free freezer containers, as the compounds are potentially dangerous.
BPA should not leach from the surface to your foods and drinks. It mimics estrogen. Therefore, it may cause health issues and toxic effects, such as infertility, obesity, and diabetes. It disrupts endocrine system, triggering heart diseases, vitamin D deficiency, and ulcerative colitis.
What Are Best Containers for Freezing Food Made of?
Would you like to use glass to save the environment? No way, if jars are not as handy as plastic bottles. Glass material has a lot of advantages. It’s:
Glass containers for freezing food withstand heat. They can be placed in a microwave. It’s safe as glass surface doesn’t leach any chemicals. It’s not porous, absorbing no odors or germs. Jars stand normal tear and wear pretty good. Therefore, food in glass tastes better.
However, glass is still not as safe as plastic. It’s fragile, smashing easily. Broken glass may cut your skin. If it contaminates your food, you would not eat it. Additionally, glass containers are heavy-weight. They are not as convenient to store and portable as plastic ones.
How to Tell if Plastic is Dishwasher Safe?
Do you want to review against the chemical compatibility chart? This one contains detailed information on LDPE properties. However, it’s not convenient to check every food name. Fortunately, we don’t have to do it. FDA has already done the job.
How to find the freezer-safe label on plastic containers? Just look at their bottom or side. The number in a triangle says much about the plastic properties and application.
Freezer Safe Label
|ID Code||Type of Plastic||Application|
|1||PET||sports drinks, oil bottles|
|2||HDPE||Jugs’ packaging, vinegar bottles|
|3||PVC||shrink wrap, blister packaging|
|4||LDPE||bread, fruit and vegetable bags|
|5||PP||yogurt, syrup containers|
|6||PS||plastic cups, fast food containers|
|7||other||water jugs, juice bottles|
Could you tell now, what is the best container to freeze food in? Which ones are the safest? All these types of plastic are approved by the FDA for food contact. All of them are recyclable. Numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5 are the best to store food. LDPE and HDPE containers can be placed into a freezer.
Another packaging (marked by the 7 code) could contain polycarbonate, and, therefore, BPA compounds. PVC and polystyrene may also leach harmful chemicals. Which ones are dishwasher-safe? No. 2, 4 and 5 plastics are. They don’t transmit chemicals into food.
Can You Freeze Food in Tupperware?
Whenever you are going to select a food storage container, prefer top-quality ones. Tupperware is a brand that is worth your attention. It’s reliable and well-reputed. The company was founded in 1946. Now, the Corporation produces and sells 6 lines of products that are designed to simplify our lives and household tasks.
Quite naturally, Tupperware containers are safe to store food. They are:
- resistant to low temperatures.
Does Tupperware recommend freezing foods in plastic containers? It does, but only the certain types of foods. The ones that don’t freeze well, such as eggs in shell or emulsions are better to be consumed or disposed at once.
Do you still wonder how long does it take for something to freeze? This process is easy to accelerate. Which way? Cut meat or ham in smaller pieces. Put them in compact containers. Set the lowest possible temperature and try not to open the freezer’s door frequently. This way, your food is stored safely until the end of its shelf life.