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Since the dawn of the horse meat scandal I've never been gladder for my avoidance of processed meat products, preferring to use actual cuts of meat as a basis for our meals. I'm not too fussed about the simple concept of eating horse meat, but for me it shows up the fact that you really don't know what's in this overly messed with type of food - this time it's a harmless case of mistaken identity, what's to say the next processed food disaster won't be much more serious. You just don't know what the hell is inside a frozen lasagne, it neither looks nor tastes particularly meat-like - and frankly, with a fifty minute cooking time, it's almost as quick to make your own!
The problem is that with four kids I don't always have time to cook from scratch so often batch cook a few meals and freeze them in portions for quickness, or deliberately cook too much and freeze what's over after we've all eaten. I've always used Tupperware but my collection became old and unusable at roughly the same time as Woolworths closed, and since then I've never been quite sure where to buy replacements - I started reusing the containers our Chinese food arrived in, eventually deciding to buy some very similar ones which looked to be much stronger (the lids on the Chinese containers being a little flimsy and looser than I'd like). The only reason I ended up with Baco Tub-Its because they were on sale in Wilkinsons and I liked the look of them, at £1.99 for five containers I reasoned it beat giving ourselves heart disease eating Chinese take-away in order to save enough of their lesser quality containers.
They're really good, I'm so impressed I now own seventeen of them - I did have twenty but the other three have gone in the bin for one reason or another, but at this low cost I don't mind considering them a semi-disposable item. I threw one away because I lost the lid and the other two were binned for purely cosmetic reasons when the bottoms were stained with immovable curry colours. Not one tub has split or been damaged despite some pretty heavy use; my oldest set is around six months old now and they've definitely been put through their paces, in my opinion this is testament to how good they are considering they ARE just flimsy plastic boxes!
My Tub-Its are the 'Medium' size and hold 0.6 litres of *whatever*. There are no rules as to what you put in them or how you use them at all - my number one use is what I originally wanted them for, storing portions of food in the freezer. They hold a perfect portion size in stew, Bolognese, curry, soup and... well, anything really. The boxes are shaped to be stackable and once stacked they stand stable without so much as a wobble when I open the freezer door to root around amongst the assorted boxes and bags. I always label them as this is our version of a ready meal, the older girls' can pull something out and have a hot nutritious meal in front of them fifteen minutes later using the microwave or if Mark fancies stew for breakfast (which he bizarrely does quite often when he knows he's going to be working outside in the cold) - it's ready as quickly as he can make porridge and a much more substantial start to the day.
The beauty of the Tub-Its is the fact that they really make life easy. You fill the container and freeze, when you fancy butternut squash soup or pork curry or turkey mince Bolognese you just pull it out, defrost in the microwave and then nuke again to reheat. The meals are already fully cooked so utilising the microwave makes sense if you're in a hurry, but obviously you can allow it to thaw naturally (most chunky meals will take four to eight hours) and reheat in the pan or oven. My point is that these cheap food storage containers are so versatile - they can be washed in the dishwasher too, although I don't own a dishwasher and they're so easy to hand wash that I seriously can't see any reason why you'd need to go to the effort of loading them into an appliance!
They were invaluable at Christmas when I used the tubs for just about everything. I made the chestnut stuffing the night before and kept it in the fridge until needed in one of these Baco tubs, the sprouts (eugh...) were marinaded in port sitting in one, I even whipped up a small portion of cream for my ma-in-law in a Tub-It as by that point I hadn't got a proper dish left and clean! I still have four portions of turkey stew in the freezer, stored in Tub-Its, and another is holding some small cubes of turkey stock which I froze in ice cube trays and transferred into these larger containers. They'd work in the same way for small portions of baby food or fruity purees, I used similar tubs when my kids were babies but the stacking element of these would have been a huge bonus.
The lids snap nicely into place and form a good seal; they don't claim to be airtight and I doubt they are, I'm happy with their storage abilities in that they keep food fresh which in turn helps us to eat better and save money in the long run. Before I learned the art of freezing my own 'ready meals' I'd throw away so much fresh food it was untrue - now I cook it all up into meals for 'later' and I really couldn't do it without my Baco Tub-Its, the fact that they're so nice to use (relatively speaking) makes the storage much tidier than when I'd use my non-stacking Chinese boxes.
Another thing I use them for is when the kids want pasta salad for their school lunch, they're too roomy for five year old Hollie but her big sisters love a large bowl of pasta or rice salad so are in awe of the massiveness of these compared to the shallower containers I used to fill for them. One of their first tasks was to carry some small sandwiches around for me and Hollie, also when my mum was in hospital last year I'd fill a Tub-It with soup as she was allowed use of the microwave - although she did have to sweet-talk the ward sister as she wasn't happy with the fact that the plastic goes a little soft after nuking, this isn't an issue as they regain rigidity within seconds so are hardly a danger!
Highly recommended by me and the chrisandmark family - no danger of us having eaten a horse no matter how hungry we are!