When somebody finds out I write about meals, they usually ask, “What’s your favourite restaurant? Not being a restaurant critic, and thus having to pay for my very own meals, I by no means have a superb response. No one needs to listen to: “I just like the reasonably priced place near my residence.”
What I’d a lot slightly be requested is, “What’s your favourite model of tupperware?” As a result of that query I am ready for. The reply is Cambro.
When you haven’t labored in a restaurant, you might not be conversant in Cambro, a model that manufactures meals storage vessels designed for industrial kitchens. The items, which individuals have a tendency to simply name “Cambros,” are available a variety of sizes, together with two-, eight-, and even 22-quart containers. When you’re trying to retailer some form of meals—sizzling or chilly, moist or dry, cooked or uncooked—there’s in all probability a Cambro that’ll give you the results you want.
As a result of Cambros are made for industrial kitchen use, they’re not one thing you’re prone to see on the market at, say, a Williams Sonoma. I discovered about them after I was working (ie, washing dishes, bussing, and taking orders) at Donburi, a Japanese restaurant in Washington D.C.. Every time one would find yourself on the dishwashing station I’d discover myself struck by how totally different they have been from the flimsy, plastic containers I had at dwelling. However as a result of they don’t appear to be marketed towards dwelling cooks, it’s not instantly obvious that they’re not only a nice product, however a superior one—higher in just about each method, in my view, than an ordinary plastic container.
Cambros are utilitarian, cheap, sturdy, space-efficient, and straightforward to make use of; meals storage containers made for professionals. Our previous plastic containers have been perpetually and mysteriously greasy (no quantity of cleaning soap appeared able to correctly washing them), and simply chipped, stained, and took on odors. The Cambros we use in our dwelling are predominantly constructed from polycarbonate, a sort of clear, sturdy plastic that’s additionally used to make impact-and-shatter resistant home windows and glasses lenses. And whereas there are considerations in regards to the long-term safety of BPA, a chemical used to make polycarbonate, the FDA has not banned their use, and polycarbonate containers are stain-and-odor resistant and able to storing meals in a temperature vary of -40 to 210 levels Fahrenheit (though warmth has been proven to extend the diploma to which BPA leeches into meals). It’s additionally price noting that Cambros constructed from supplies aside from polycarbonate are BPA-free.
Getting again to the advantages of Cambros: whereas our previous plastic containers had flimsy lids with difficult-to-clean crevices, Cambro’s “Camwear Seal” lids match tightly. Once I unintentionally knocked a full, sealed container off of the counter as soon as, it mercifully didn’t pop open (take a look at at your individual peril). A consequence of that tight seal is that the lids do require a little bit of effort to get them off. If that’s a difficulty for you, get a regular “Camsquare” lid, or a translucent seal cover.
Observe: Lids aren’t normally bundled with Cambros and the containers themselves are bought individually. Whereas this implies you might want to put in a bit extra effort than you’d in the event you have been shopping for a set of containers at a retailer, it additionally means you gained’t find yourself with sizes and styles you don’t need or want. Simply ensure that the lids you order are the right measurement for his or her corresponding containers!
Listed below are three Cambro sizes I discover notably helpful:
Two-Quart Sq. Meals Storage Container
This mannequin is right for each the fridge and the pantry. Two quarts is ample space for storing for leftovers, and dry and prepped components, and the brief, sq. form implies that they stack properly and are comparatively straightforward to suit inside a crowded fridge. The “Winter Rose”-colored gradations are straightforward to learn, and the containers nest inside one another when empty, which isn’t the case with each Cambro mannequin.
My spouse and I take advantage of these solely with the “Camwear Seal” lids, partially as a result of I usually hold stews, leftover beans, and different liquid-heavy meals in them, and I need to be very certain they’ve a good seal. On the shelf I take advantage of them to retailer issues like bulk-purchased panko, nuts, brown sugar, and chocolate chips.
1/4 Dimension Meals Pan
This explicit mannequin, which is lengthy and shallow, is ideal for in-fridge storage. We like these for any sort of sliced protein or vegetable, and we’ve used them to retailer each prepped and cooked meals. Particularly I really like these for quick-pickling sliced greens, or for conserving roasted purple peppers submerged in olive oil. They’d even be an awesome match for brining chicken breasts. As a result of they’re so slender it’s straightforward to cram and stack them within the fridge. In contrast to the two-quart sq. Cambros, these usually are not designed to stack inside one another when empty, however their slim profile implies that, regardless of that, they’re not laborious to retailer.
6-Quart Meals Storage Container
This 6-quart mannequin is nice for dry items, and we use them to retailer rice, dried beans, varied flours (though Sho Spaeth, Senior Editor, prefers a smaller, 4-quart size for storing flour), and different bulk pantry gadgets we need to hold recent and insect-free. This explicit mannequin is bought in a two-pack, with lids, which is extraordinarily handy. As a result of these are constructed from polypropylene they’re a bit much less sturdy than the polycarbonate fashions, however since all we use them for is dry storage we’ve by no means discovered that to be an issue. They’re additionally BPA-free, and the included lids seal tightly, but are straightforward to take away.
And right here’s a (non-exhaustive) checklist of different issues Critical Eats editors like to make use of Cambros for:
- Soup and inventory: “Good for straining into, skimming congealed fats after,” Daniel Gritzer, Senior Culinary Administrators says. (Daniel and Sho like a 4-quart Cambro for this).
- Sous vide: If you wish to go huge, a 4.75-gallon Cambro (in addition to a 6- and 8-quart) is useful to have available for sous vide. As Kenji said, “ With a 4.75-gallon Cambro, you could have ample house to prepare dinner 10 steaks or rooster breasts for a cocktail party, or as much as 5 full racks of pork ribs.”
- Brining: “If anybody brines meats so much, 8- or 12-quart and even larger may be very helpful,” Daniel says. (Kristina Razon, Affiliate Editor, notes that, “eights quarts have been at all times extremely coveted again in my kitchen days.”)
- Device storage: Daniel recommends a 4-quart Cambro for storing small instruments within the pantry.