From Garden to Picnic, 12 Ways to Store Summer Food Favorites

By , Elizabeth Lowry, Staff Writer
These days, you can't drive past a strip mall or check your Facebook feed without coming across a Container Store or coworker selling kitchen items promising to solve all of your storage issues. And with summer comes plenty of food storage conundrums. If you're blessed with a bountiful garden you'll likely have more produce than you can eat. A great problem to have, sure, but how should you store it?

Canning and jarring are also excellent options for future food consumption, but what's the best way to store produce you want to eat sooner? Packing up a sunny day picnic for the family is another warm-weather tradition, but without the right portable packaging, you could find yourself lugging half the kitchen along with you in the car. Plus, no summer would be complete without a backyard barbecue or two, which means you'll need a way to handle all the messy marinating and meat freezing.

Take the stress out of summer foods and check out some of the best food storage products on the market, geared toward all of your favorite summer occasions.

For Your Garden 

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1. Canning supplies: Invest in your own canning supplies kit for jarring your favorite sauces and pickles. Using what you have around your kitchen--perhaps a pair of grill tongs and a potholder--is just setting yourself up for a trip to the ER.

2. Produce containers: If you're not looking for long-term solutions for your garden bounty, try this plastic container set specifically designed to keep produce fresher longer than other air-tight storage options. With a built-in vent in the lid that regulates air flow, these containers are great for storing all produce, whether it comes from your garden or the grocery.  

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3. Jars: Opt for jars with a wide mouth, which will allow you to fit in more cucumbers and easily pour jams and jellies into the container without burning yourself. These jars come in a variety of bold colors, so you can match your creations to your pantry. 

4. Glass storage containers: Your leftover homemade marinara sauce, roasted vegetables, fruit cobbler and grilled goodies can go from fridge or freezer to oven to patio table in these versatile, BPA-free dishes.

For Your Barbecue
5. Marinade dish: Similar to what your mom used to marinate meat in the '80s, this updated option comes equipped with a spill-proof cover so you can turn your meat or veggies every couple of hours for even liquid distribution.

6. Marinade bag: Whether you're hosting a cookout for a crowd or just a couple, sometimes no ordinary plastic baggie will do. Let your steaks soak in your famous marinade without fear of leaking with this stand-up, double-zippered half-gallon bag.
7. Vacuum sealer: Fact: Food stays fresher, longer when it's vacuum sealed. Great for both marinating and saving, this gadget could quickly become the go-to for pre- and post-barbecue food storage. Food can go straight from the sealer to the freezer for meal enjoyment a couple of weeks or even months from now.
8. Vacuum sealer bags: While most sealers come with a starter set, you'll quickly run out. Pre-cut and multi-ply to prevent freezer burn, these bags can also be tossed in boiling water or the microwave to thaw.

For Your Picnic

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9. Multipurpose bowl: Pack up a pretty picnic salad or dip in these store-and-go 5.25-inch bowls. The snap-on lid and serving utensils stay put until you need them. As a bonus, an integrated freezer disc keeps your dish chilled while traveling to your picnic destination.
10. Wheeled cooler: Bring your beverages in this bright blue, soft-sided cooler. Pack it with up to 52 beverages for a large picnic, or use it to carry your picnic foods and drinks all together. When the temperature rises, food safety becomes a picnic priority. No mayonnaise, eggs or meat will go bad and spoil your meal with this sturdy wheeled vessel. It's also antimicrobial and collapses completely for storage.
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11. Lunch cubes: Have a picky crowd? Now you can pack up individual lunch items in separate containers without excess baggies and waste. The compartments keep your sandwich, fruits and veggies safe and secure. When you're done, just close the container up and take it back home for reuse. They'll also pull double duty for school lunches.
12. Picnic basket: Try this new take on an old classic the next time you're off to Picnicland. Insulated, waterproof and expandable, you'll love packing up your picnic supplies and heading off to your favorite daytime destination with this tote.
There's no reason you shouldn't enjoy summer's food bounty a little longer. With a little bit of planning, keeping your summer produce and meats safe, fresh and flavorful is well within your reach. 

What are your favorite ways to store and save your summer foods? 

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