Homes and Garden Journal

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Kitchen Storage Canisters

There are several reasons why you want to carefully choose your kitchen storage canisters. One of the main reasons for buying kitchen canisters is to store dry goods and food in a sealed, moisture free container. They are useful for organizing your ingredients and for keeping them tidily on shelves in easy reach so when you are cooking you can easily reach whatever ingredient the recipe calls for, without having to stop everything and search your cupboards for it. Aside from this practical use, they are also great for adding life and zest to your kitchen décor. In fact, no kitchen should be without them.

Seal on Canisters

Let’s look at the practical side first. When deciding on what type of kitchen storage jars to buy there are several things to take into consideration. Perhaps the main thing to look for is that the kitchen canister sets seal properly. Ideally, they should seal well enough that moisture cannot enter. Moisture and dampness is a real problem in kitchens especially when storing dry ingredients. It does not matter if you are storing cornstarch, coffee or desiccated coconut; excessive moisture will spoil them all. Not only do you want to keep moisture from getting into your dry goods but you also want to keep out ants, weevils and other insects. Again, properly sealing canister sets are essential.

There are different types of seals but they must be airtight. Look for lids with built in silicone gaskets, they seal much better than those that simply have clips on the side. If you can find canisters with both silicone gaskets and clips–and they look great–go for them. You will not find anything better. Make sure the gaskets actually lock down onto the container though rather than just sitting on top of it. Another tip when buying canisters is to realize that you may be hard pressed to find some that are genuinely airtight; you will probably rather find that some work better than others.  For that reason you may want to avoid canisters that hold more of any dry goods than you are able to use in a specific amount of time. In other words, if you notice that the coffee starts hardening after a couple of weeks buy or use smaller canisters that only store enough for a week or two at a time rather than a larger one that lasts for an entire month.

What Size to Buy?

Canisters come in many different sizes so you should base your decision on your needs. I recently saw some great large sized stainless steel kitchen canisters that were perfect for storing baking supplies such as brown sugar and flour in large enough quantities that you could easily use the ingredients from there for a cake or two and still have plenty of the dry goods left inside.

Gauge your size by what you wish to store in them. Dry baking goods, those ingredients you need a lot of when cooking, should obviously be stored in large sealed containers otherwise you will constantly have to keep on filling up the canisters. Baking powder, or spices on the other hand are usually only used in small quantities, thus smaller canisters suffice. When buying canisters do not necessarily go by what is written on the outside of the canister; “Flour”, “Coffee”, “Sugar”, but rather buy canisters that will hold what is needed. If you are not used to cooking and baking it may take you a while to find the right sized canister for the right ingredients as it is rather subjective but with time you will soon be able to judge the right sized canisters for the right dry goods.

Glass, Stainless Steel, Plastic or Ceramic Kitchen Canisters?

Providing the seal works well, it does not really matter that much what the canisters are made from as far as serviceability. However, each does have its own benefits and perhaps drawbacks. When buying, you will need to decide what is, and what is not an issue.

Usually ceramic kitchen canister sets double as being (hopefully) both practical and decorative. Decorative kitchen canisters can really give a lift to a kitchen and they can further the effect that you are trying for as far as kitchen décor goes. You can find red kitchen canisters, white kitchen canisters, black kitchen canisters and canisters with designs on the sides. I like my nice red kitchen canister set as it adds a delightful splash of color to my white counter tops and adds warmth and fun to my counters. I have them sitting on a leaf green mat, and the contrast is fantastic; and no, it doesn’t look like Christmas decorations! I have a calendar, with an autumn scene hanging on the kitchen wall and the reds and burnt oranges in that picture, along with the touch of green, help to tie together the basic color scheme I am trying for in my kitchen.

The downside of a ceramic kitchen storage canister is that it can break, and depending what is stored inside the canister you can end up with quite a mess when it does! They also chip, thus need to be hand washed–don’t put them in the dishwasher. The decorative sets can be fairly expensive too, meaning that you are paying more than you need to if you simply need something to store dry goods  in.

I also love glass kitchen canisters.  They have the same downside as the ceramic canister in that they will break when dropped on a hard kitchen floor, however they don’t chip as easily and you can usually pop them in the dishwasher without having to worry about them. The beauty of glass storage canisters is that you can see at a glance what is stored inside. That is very helpful when you are in the middle of cooking and are pressed for time.  It takes all the guesswork out of finding the right ingredients. They can look messy and almost unhygienic if they are not cared for properly. For example, if sugar is allowed to dry and crust around the rim of the canister it is painfully obvious. If you buy glass canisters make sure you keep them looking good. Wipe the outside of the canister to keep it free of smudge marks and dried ingredients regularly. As long as it is sparkling clean on the inside and the outside a glass canister set will look great in any kitchen.

Stainless steel canisters can also look very sharp and neat. I especially love those made from brushed stainless steel and I am not so fond of those made with regular shining stainless steel. Again, they do show smudge easily so they must be kept clean. You cannot see what is inside the canister so they will need to be labeled. The great thing about them is that they are usually extremely durable; they won’t break if they slide of the counter onto the floor. They’re also usually very easy to care for and wash.

Believe it or not plastic kitchen canisters can also look great and they are very useful. The greatest thing going for them, in a way, is that they are fairly cheap compared to other types of canisters. They can go in the dishwasher, and they can be either opaque or transparent depending on what you choose to buy.  They also can break if dropped–the voice of experience says so!  Usually plastic canisters, unlike plastic food containers, are made from a more brittle plastic that shatters fairly easily if it impacts with very much force. They are a good option if you do not have a lot of money to invest into kitchen décor as they can still look very presentable yet cost a fraction of what you would pay for decent stainless steel or ceramic canisters.

Specialty Canisters for Kitchen

No article on kitchen canister sets would be complete without the mention of a couple of all-time favorites.  Rooster canisters! For some reason which I have never really figured out, roosters seem to have an undeniable right to decorate kitchens. You can buy rooster mats, rooster decorations, rooster temperature gauges and rooster canister sets. As you may have guessed by now, I am not a fan of rooster décor. I spent too much time running away from a particularly nasty old one when I was a very little girl to have much fondness for them. But, having said all of that, they do deserve a mention I suppose.

Now this is more to my liking; vintage kitchen canisters. There are some absolutely fantastic vintage canister sets around, and they look lovely in any kitchen. The great thing about the older canisters is that they are often very serviceable, useful items that are almost always the perfect size for storing whatever is written or marked on the side of the canister. Of course buying them online or from a dealer may set you back a good deal of money, but you can often find these at old garage or church sales, in the basement of your grandmother’s house, or even at second hand furniture or appliance stores.  Keep your eye out for them, if you can find a set in good condition you will have found yourself a great deal.

Kitchen canister sets come in all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes called kitchen storage jars; especially those made from glass, they can really add to your kitchen ambiance. Food storage canisters should be suitably sized for the food or dry goods that are stored inside, not too large lest the goods spoil, or too small otherwise you will constantly be refilling the canister sets.

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