The Practicality & Economy of Plastic Storage Bags With Zip Lock

Posted by Allen Czermak on

The very first time I tried zip lock plastic bags was a bit over twenty years ago when I noticed my new daughter-in-law using them. We always speak about being frugal, so I was quite surprised that she splurged on this type of plastic storage bag. After I began using this type of plastic storage bag myself, I realized something, I was preserving and keeping food way longer than I used to and saving money! 

Food storage bags have come a long way since I discovered them twenty years ago. They are the go-to bag for food storage and way more. Clothing, important files that can be easily found, and easy to lose screws and other toolbox paraphernalia can be easily accessed by using see through plastic bags of different sizes and thicknesses. 

Food Storage Applications 

I remember the first time I visited my daughter in law, Marcia, and watched her and her zip lock bags in action. After placing the food in the zip lock plastic bag, she placed the bag and the counter flatly and folded it over. She made sure to let all the air out and even without a machine it was quite airtight.

No way I could do the same with my old-fashioned plastic bags and twist ties. The first few months of my new discovery, I washed out my gently used bags and reused them again. I sometimes baked bread or rolls, so the bags were generally clean. I still sometimes reuse them even today but do not wash them out. 

Let us go through the fridge and see how helpful self-zip bags can be. Upon coming home from the supermarket (even in pre COVID-19 days), I try to transfer many of the plastic wrapped items from fruit to meat and chicken into my sturdy zip locks. Once a bag of lettuce is opened you can never close it properly again, so my lettuce goes right into my zip lock bags. If you are someone who spends time prepping your produce in advance you would certainly want the best storage solutions possible. Since moisture and oxygen are the causes for food perishability, your lettuce and other salad greens would benefit with a paper towel added before zipping. It is advisable to make sure that your salad produce is as dry as possible before placing it in the bag.  Salad stored in a zip lock bag, wrapped in paper towels can last up to five days if air doesn’t get into it. 

Storing Soup In Zip Lock Bags 

Did you ever try storing soup in a zip lock plastic bag? You should if your soup is sufficiently cooled to room temperature it will work perfectly. Yes, storage containers are good, however, you cannot always fit them into your freezer efficiently. With these zip lock storage bags you can freeze them in any shape you want. For example, if you want them as flat as possible, prepare a nine by thirteen aluminum or Pyrex pan. Stand your plastic bag in the middle of the pan. Gently pour the soup in small amounts into the bag until it is not more than three quarters filled. Gently let out as much air as possible, being careful not to spill any soup. When the seal is secured, slowly lay down the bag of soup. When it freezes get rid of the pan and place the bag as is back in the freezer. You will be able to pile up the soup bags neatly in the freezer. I do not have a microwave so I cannot instruct you properly, however, there is probably a way to microwave the soup directly in the bag. 

Using Zip Lock Bags To Store Poultry 

One of my favorite money saving uses of my zip lock storage bags is for chicken and chicken cutlets. Although we are only two people, I value finding these zip lock plastic bags in larger packages on sale.

With the chicken cutlets, I divide the many pieces into pairs of two cutlets each and place them neatly in my sturdy zip lock plastic bags. I flatten the bag and fold it to get out all the air and label it, with two chicken cutlets and the date. I do the same with the chicken pieces and divide them appropriately as logically as possible for the two of us. Chicken cutlets and pieces are much more economical when bought on sale so here is one money saving benefit of the zip lock storage bags. This works very well with different cuts of meats especially roasts which brings me to the next topic, marinades.

How can you make sure that the precious marinade recipe that you finally pulled out of your sister-in-law, penetrates, and engulfs your expensive cut of meat or ribs? Only combining your marinade and your roast in the above-mentioned bag, can you be assured of even coating and permeation. Without messing up your hands or using a utensil, just massage the meat gently from the outside until you are confident it entered every nook and cranny of your meat. The marinade and roast in the plastic bag can go into the freezer and you will have a delicious dish to cook and serve whenever needed. 

Storing Hard Boiled Eggs

Eggs are back in style according to most nutritionists. The fear of too much cholesterol that was widespread in the past has been replaced by the knowledge that there are too types of cholesterol, good and bad. Eggs have come over to the good side of proteins. Cooking the eggs right is probably the hardest part of making egg salad if you use a zip lock bag to make it.

Martha Stewart once showed me (on her show) the best way to peel hard boiled eggs. Once your eggs are peeled and rinsed, place them in your zip lock plastic bag. Add any ingredients that go into your usual egg salad like, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper. (I learned this from my eight-year-old granddaughter). Zip the bag shut and now begin kneading as you would do regularly (actually now that I remember it you have the larger four or eight gallon size zip lock bags you can knead your dough in them). When you get the consistency you like you can either snip off a corner of the bag to pipe the egg salad or just open it up and continue preparing it for presentation. 

Traveling Efficiently

For those of us who used to travel by plane to exciting destinations or to visit loved ones once, let us hope the pandemic is over very soon. Most of the time, a suitcase is usually overcrowded even if not overweight. If we get rid of all the extra air, we will make room for more important items. If you have practiced enough with your zip lock storage bags, you will be ready to seal your underwear, socks, sweaters, and shirts. By sealing them in zip lock plastic bags, you are assuring yourself of the most room in your traveling bag. A bonus is when you arrive at your destination, unpacking becomes a breeze. If you are particular about using motel room draws and are in the habit of lining them with paper towels, keeping your clothes in plastic bags is just for you. Also, it will be much less likely that you will forget anything when packing, as convenient smaller items tend to get stuck in the back of the draw and forgotten.

Protection Important Documents In Zip Lock Bags 

You have been meaning to scan your important papers, bills, and other documents but there is always procrastination. It could be you just do not have time, or your scanner has never been downloaded on to your computer. I prefer plastic zip lock bags for my important hardcopies.

File folders are so old hat compared to clear zip locks. The documents that I am searching for are much easily found when stored in these practical bags. Whether it is sentimental birthday cards or recent copies of online purchases, there is nothing as convenient as when you see through them. 

Once thing to note is that zip locks come in sizes limited in volume. Restaurants and other food services may find that food grade bags are more in line when storing dry ingredients like pasta and ground nuts. These plastic bags are like those you find in the grocery store when picking fruit and veggies but thicker made to whole 20+ quarts of food ingredients. In addition, an 8 quart case of 100 zip lock bags goes for around $14 while an 8 quart case of 900 food grade bags is sold for a little under $40. That’s .14 cents per a zip lock bag and .04 cents for a food grade bag. 

Judging what is practical to one person and extravagant to another is a study in futility. I learned this when judging my daughter-in-law Marcia about her use of zip lock storage bags. Sometimes generation gaps show themselves in strange ways. Whether it is the seemingly overuse of heavy-duty garbage bags or of paper towels each generation has their own ideas. This can be carried over to bigger and more expensive items as well.  Your boss is wearing three hundred-dollar shoes and cannot afford to give you a raise? Maybe he got them on sale, or maybe he retakes them to the shoemaker and wears them for several years. It could be he has problem feet. There is no end to the reasons people may use items that another might deem wasteful. So, the next time your neighbor sees you with an assortment of different size plastic bags, educate her on their advantages and economical benefits. You may even give her a plastic food bag filled with delicious rolls the next time you make them.

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