Silicone and glass storage are the two main ways of storing food to keep it from rotting. But what's the difference between them? And which is better?
If food is not properly stored, it can go bad and rot but not necessarily appear that way. If you eat that food, you can experience food poisoning or other illnesses. Therefore, you must store your food in the right container. However, choosing the right container is more than just keeping your food from spoiling. You need to consider space for storing containers, heating options, etc.
Glass food storage containers don't contain harmful chemicals and last longer than silicone ones. However, they break easily and are expensive and heavy. Silicone containers are cheap, lightweight, and more durable. However, they deform faster and release harmful chemicals when heated.
Bacteria starts growing on your food when you leave it in the open, which can be hazardous. You should store your food in containers and refrigerate them within two hours of uncovering. This helps preserve the taste, nutrition, and freshness of your food. Additionally, containers are usually reusable. You can store spices and ingredients in them as well. However, a silicone food container can get dirty due to oily foods, and it can be hard to clean and get rid of the smell. On the other hand, glass containers are fragile and need to be handled with care.
After having used both glass and silicone containers, we know all about the two and the benefits they bring to the table. We're also going to tell you how they differ.
Glass Food Storage Containers - Why Are They Better?
Let's begin by looking at why glass food storage containers are better than their silicone alternatives.
Glass Containers Clean Better
How often do you find yourself pushing too hard with the sponge, trying to get oil off your silicone containers? If you like curry, lasagna, or any food with oil in it, you will soon find that using silicone containers to store them is not the best option.
Regular dishwashing soap or hot water will need several takes to get the oil off your containers. You will need some heavy-duty cleaning methods to get rid of this oil. This includes using a solution of vinegar, baking soda, and lemon.
However, doing so can be a handful most of the time. Instead, you can go for glass containers if you don't want to waste time cleaning your food storage containers. Glass containers clean easily with regular dish soap and won't leave a greasy feeling after only a single wash.
Glass Containers Last Longer
Even though silicone containers are more durable than low-grade plastic ones, they still lack the longevity of glass storage containers. After a certain period, silicone containers start fading, scratching, and you will struggle to put the lids on because they're bent out of shape.
Even with the best care, your silicone containers can only last up to a few years. Plus, silicone containers that are durable enough to last a few years are more expensive than most others.
On the other hand, glass containers may cost more, but they come with a lifetime guarantee of staying in the best shape and always looking new. Unless, of course, you drop and break them, they are a one-time investment to store your food.
Glass Containers Hold Heat Better
Reheating your food in a microwave oven is often needed. There has been a lot of noise about silicone not being safe for microwave purposes. Silicone contains chemicals such as Phthalates and Bisphenol-A (BPA) to make the container hard and hold its shape for extended periods.
However, when you heat your food in the microwave, the container releases these chemicals into your food. The chemicals are not visible, but they are extremely dangerous and cause cancer and fertility problems.
According to the Food Network, you should use microwave-safe glass containers to heat your food and then transfer the food back to the silicone containers once it has cooled down.
Typically, microwaves come with food covers made from high-grade plastic, silicone, or glass that does not harm your food. But it would help if you opted for wax paper or ceramic plates for the safest options.
You still need a base to contain your food. Microwave-safe silicone containers are safe for heating. While these are a better option than regular silicone containers, they still start to crack and wear after a certain time, releasing more harmful chemicals.
You can avoid this whole scenario by using glass containers to store your food. You can heat the food straight out of the refrigerator and eat in it. No need to get other dishes dirty.
Glass Containers Are Multifunctional
Glass containers are a one-stop solution for your food storage needs. These containers can be easily stored at any temperature and don't pose a threat to your health.
You can store them in the fridge or the freezer and transfer them straight to the microwave or the oven and enjoy your food as you like it.
Moreover, glass containers are essentially dishes — you can even serve food in them and avoid the hassle of switching dishes and cleaning multiple of them later.
The versatility of the glass containers allows you to prep your food beforehand and simply heat or bake it before serving to the guests, saving you a great amount of time.
Glass Containers Are 100% Recyclable
No matter how we spin it and promote it as an eco-friendly product, silicone is still basically plastic. It is made from synthetic rubber and synthetic plastic polymer, which means it harms the environment similarly to plastic and needs material from trees.
Since silicone food storage containers are less durable than glass, they end up in landfills in greater amounts and are mostly not recycled.
Only 25% of plastic waste is recycled in the US. This is because plastic is thin, and its porous nature makes it unrecyclable. Recycling such plastic weakens its quality and makes it unusable. On the other hand, glass is 100% recyclable.
Most of the glass that ends up in the landfill is recycled because it doesn't lose quality and can be remanufactured for various purposes.
Another debate that strikes this point is that glass causes more air pollution than silicone. Glass is heavier and consumes more oil and fuel to transport compared to silicone.
Nonetheless, the economic benefits of glass due to its 100% recyclable nature make it better overall in terms of eco-friendliness.
Glass Containers Look Better
It doesn't matter how you store and clean your containers. Once the silicone containers have absorbed oil, they start to turn yellow, which just ruins their look. Cracks will also appear, making your containers look old.
On the other hand, glass containers always look new, and they don't scratch easily (unless you clean them with steel wool).
Besides, you can also sterilize the glass to keep it hygienic. Sterilizing silicone containers is not a good practice because it will release harmful chemicals and warp the shape.
Clean and shiny glass is more presentable, adds an aesthetic value to your kitchen, and makes your counter look attractive.
Glass Containers Are Transparent
Most people forget their food after storing it in the fridge or the freezer because they can't see it through the silicone containers. Opening the lid of each container to see what's inside feels like a hassle. Ultimately, you have to deal with wasted food and a rotten food smell in your fridge.
You can avoid all that if you use glass containers. They are transparent, so you can see what is stored in them. It also helps to sort your storage space accordingly: keep your favorites/most needed stuff at the front, so you don't open your fridge longer than you have to.
Glass Containers Don’t Absorb Smells
Silicone containers are porous. They absorb the substance you leave on them, which is why it takes forever to clean them. You might get rid of the oily feeling on the surface, but it is very tricky and tough to get rid of the oil absorbed in the silicone container. Until the container is cleaned through and through, you will smell the food you stored in it.
If you are tired of this routine, say hello to glass food storage containers. Glass containers don't absorb anything. You can have a fresh-smelling container only after a single wash with dish soap.
Glass Containers Are Safer Overall
We have repeatedly witnessed silicone containers being out of shape when washed at high temperatures in a dishwasher. In comparison, glass keeps its shape in dishwashers, ovens, and after washing. We have already talked about how dangerous silicone can be for microwave use.
However, when it's bent out of shape by a simple dishwashing period, the lids won't fit properly and can crack. This can cause leaks and ruin your storage place or something valuable to you. Glass is safer overall because it doesn't suffer any wear or tear.
Silicone Food Containers - Why They're Better Than Glass Containers
Now that we've talked in detail about the benefits of glass containers, let's look at their silicone alternatives and why they're a better pick for you.
Silicone Containers Are Lighter (Thus, Easier to Carry)
People don't carry glass food containers in their bags because they are heavy. Whether it's your kid, husband, or yourself, no one likes to haul extra weight that can become a pain. When you store frozen food, glass containers can be immensely heavy.
The obvious choice in this regard is light silicone containers that make it easy to carry your food. You can carry multiple containers, and the weight will still be less than a glass container. However, this only applies to the people who carry lunch boxes. If your use is limited to the house, glass containers still have the edge.
Silicone Containers Don’t Break Easily
You can be as careful as you want, but glass containers' fragility cannot be compared to silicone's. Glass is melted sand. It can, and, in most cases, will shatter as soon as it hits the floor. Glass is more expensive than silicone, and dropping it will definitely take a hit to your wallet.
On the other hand, the silicone containers are much stronger as they are flexible and won't even crack that easily, let alone shatter into pieces. They might get distorted and bent out of shape, but it is still safer than dealing with hundreds of glass shards.
Silicone Containers Are Child Friendly
If you have kids in your home, especially toddlers, having glass containers can be very dangerous for obvious reasons. Since glass containers break easily, you also want to give your kids their lunch in something that won't harm them physically. Silicone food containers are the obvious choice to have for your kid's safety.
However, you also need to think about the environmental effects of silicone. Not to forget the harmful chemicals that silicone containers release because of heat which are a hazard to your child's health.
We found unbreakable glass baby food containers that you can provide your child with. However, you have to consider the extra weight of glass on those little shoulders.
Silicone Containers Stack Easy and Save Space
Unless you bought a set of containers, glass ones rarely stack on one another, and they need more space to be stored. Even if you make stacks of glass containers that fit in one another, keeping the lids separate can be dangerous unless you have a dedicated space for them.
On the other hand, silicone containers have this quite helpful trick to fit into one another and save a lot of space. You can get BPA-free containers that collapse into each other without damaging or affecting the shape.
Silicone Containers are Cheap
Silicone food storage containers being cheap is most likely the main reason why people opt for them instead of glass containers. Glass containers are usually more expensive. You can get good-quality silicone containers for less than half the price of a single glass food storage container.
Also, there's no stopping the glass from shattering once it accidentally drops. In comparison, the silicone storage containers don't wear or tear easily, but you can buy more for less even if they do.
While silicone and glass food storage containers have their upsides and downsides, you can find either of them to suit your needs better. Below, we have listed some of the best silicone and glass food storage containers.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker