I’ve been looking for a particular style of container for almost five years. I saw one in a catalog at a friend’s house three years ago, and was too slow to order it, and then it was gone... c’est la vie. Here’s what I want. I like to keep vegetables cut up in the refrigerator so we can just grab ready-to-eat healthy snacks. I own one of those nice, BIG, round Tupperware serving trays with seven compartments, but it is round and doesn’t fit in the refrigerator well. I want a rectangular plastic box with dividers. But is anyone making something this practical? Apparently not.
So, I broke down and bought the Starplast Rectangular Container. Let me say first of all that we have been given two of these kind of boxes previously, but both of those are much larger, and they are too big for anything that I need now that we are not feeding packs of kids all the time, and they are a pain to store. (Maybe I should forget kitchen and think craft storage for those!)
But this box is more reasonably sized, being 17.25 x 11.25 x 4 inches deep. It has two handles on the top aligned the long way on the box. These are attached to the lid, but there are hinged clips on the two ends of the box which hold the lid tightly to the bottom so that it is secure. I think it would be prone to accidents if you were not careful to get those clips tight.
The box fits perfectly in my refrigerator. It doesn’t make all the surrounding spaces unuseable like the round tray does. You can see in the picture that it holds a nice amount of cut vegetables. It would also hold 24 regular-size cupcakes, or a 9x13 cake pan. The lid and handles make it easy to carry to picnics, pot-luck dinners, etc.
I have two issues with the box. First, you have to take it completely out of the fridge and put it on a surface to undo the clips to remove the lid. So there is no sneaking your hand under the edge to grab a couple of carrot sticks. That said, it is much easier to use than those plastic “locking” boxes that have clips on all four sides of the cover. Those are beyond annoying.
My second issue is only that it is not divided... which is a design issue not really a fault of this box. I have put a mesh pad in the bottom of the box to help keep the veggies from getting mushy on the bottom. Maybe I can find some plastic trays that will fit in the box for dividers. I hate it when a cucumber gets icky and contaminates its neighbors!
I feel that it was very reasonably priced. The quality is probably middle-of-the-road. I think over time it might begin to get a little grungy where the handles meet the lid, but it says on the bottom that it is dishwasher safe, so that would probably keep it clean. The bottom of the box is rigid plastic, which might get brittle over a long period of time. The lid is translucent so if you had multiple boxes you would be able to see generally what is in the box without opening it.
Update On Jan 16, 2009: This has worked out really well. I've filled it with six of the bottoms of containers that grape tomatoes come it. (see picture of the container at an angle) These work great to just keep the veggies off the bottom of the tray. It leaves a "slot" at one end that I put celery in. I'm still looking for some cookie package liner that will fit that space. Meanwhile, we lose fewer veggies to slime, and are eating more of them because they are all ready to grab a handful.