Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Do You Store Your Shabbat Leftovers in Bags?

As someone who came to the religious community late in life, I have a big hangup with the average Shabbos kitchen: using disposable Ziploc bags to store Shabbat leftovers.

There must be a historical reason for this, and that is the question I submit to you, dear readers: Why are Shabbat leftovers so often put into sandwich or quart bags when a reusable container seems so much more reasonable?

When I see this, both my inner hippie and my inner organizer hurt. Besides the obvious waste and harm to our environment, it is nearly impossible to stack bagged leftovers in an already-full fridge. Let's not even speculate on the potential for leaks and spills both in the fridge and while filling the bag.

I definitely understand the heavy use of disposable eating ware on Shabbat (though that also triggers my inner hippie), and I'm guilty of that on a regular basis. But bags? Plastic reusable containers are better for the Earth, your fridge, and for stuffing that fridge with the most food possible. What's the downside?

I actually cringe when this happens. But when I ask why, the answer is always the same: "Hm. Never thought about it. We've just always done it this way."

13 comments:

  1. For me it depends on how much it is and what it is. Some of my stuff only makes sense to store in baggies because they will not fit well otherwise.

    Other things have to be stored in reusable containers which I run out of frequently. I tend to make too much food and then place it in the freezer.

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  2. I use bags sometimes and I also use many Rubbermaid-type containers (some of which may be older than most of the readers here). Sometimes I don't have the right size container, or my fridge is very full, and a bag can be placed in such a way that a container wouldn't fit (like on the fridge door).

    Remember, if you keep kosher you need 2 or 3 sets of containers in various sizes. It takes a bit of cabinet space to store so many reusable containers.

    Finally, I am particular about keeping pareve things pareve. If I am putting away something pareve that's still hot, I don't like to put it in a meat or milk container. I do have a lot of pareve containers, but sometimes not enough.

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  3. Most frum Jews (myself included) just don't give a darn about the environment. We're never taught to in school, and when we grow up we realize much bigger issues, so we just don't care.

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    1. To expound, #1 it's something those liberals worry about, and #2, Moshiach is coming soon and so why are people worrying about what will happen to the earth 50 years from now??

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  4. In the tradition of Rabbi Y, I would offer that is was the famous disciple of Hillel who established the tradition: Ben Bag Bag.
    ;-)

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  5. I do reuse ziploc bags if they were used for something dry like pretzels or cereal or bread. My family doesn't follow my example though.

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  6. a) can't forget what's meat what's dairy

    b) with the way Amazing Saving sells tupperware (and even the glass reusables) some one who's frum is using them

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  7. No, never used bags to store leftover food. The only exception is for green salads, and those are rarely leftover anyway.

    We use GLASS pyrex containers with plastic tops and place a layer of saran wrap between the food and the top because the top is plastic. The reason we use glass instead of plastic (and why we use a layer of saran wrap) is because plastic tends to absorb tastes/colors/odors of foods and we want to avoid that. This is especially true when the food contains tomato-based products.

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    Replies
    1. If you do accidentally end up with plastic having absorbed something malordorous, try soaking the item in vinegar. I've tried it diluted 50% with water and it often works.

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  8. We use pre-cut foil (that was originally used to keep a dish warm) or reusable Tupperware.

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  9. Because I'm always losing the lids to the reusable plastic ware,it's often not big enough for leftovers, and storing unused bags takes up a lot less space than storing reusable plastic or glassware. My inner health nut cringes, b/c glass is so much better than plastic, health-wise, but I'm poor & have a studio apartment.

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    Replies
    1. Glass is much more economical than plastic. My glass Pyrex storage containers were purchased in 1990 and are still good as new. Plastic ones last a year or two at best. Another advantage of glass is that they come out perfectly clean in the dishwasher, no bent edges to catch water or pieces of food debris.

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  10. I know a Jewish couple who put everything in glass Pyrex with plastic lids. They stack nicely in the fridge the only catch is dont have the food touch the lid. Their son is as observant as they get and they had to make their kitchen super kosher so he could eat at their house.

    If its good enough for them..

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