Saskatchewan-style tupperware

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I call re-purposed plastic containers ‘Saskatchewan tupperware’ because it’s a family tradition that goes back at least as far as my Grandma. She owned a couple of the big round Tupperware containers from the 60s or 70s – the ugly ones that came in olive green, amber and burnt orange. The rest of her reusable containers were old cottage cheese, yoghurt and sour cream containers, and the 4L ice cream buckets from Co-op. The ones that are so big and heavy that they come with a handle.

My Grandparents had a farm near Strasbourg where my dad grew up.  He and his two siblings were born in the 40s. Farming must give people a certain appreciation of where their food comes from because they see just how much time and work it takes to grow. I used to be annoyed at how stingy my dad and my Grandma were. Now that I have a better understanding of the context, I think they were miles ahead of many modern environmentalists. They took reducing and reusing  very seriously because it was practical. They they couldn’t bear to throw out things that still had some use left.

I’m not quite as thrifty as them, but I enjoy how living on the cheap makes me evaluate every decision and make sure it’s practical.

Anyway, it’s handy to have some Saskatchewan tupperware around the house.

Sending food home with friends
When I give friends containers of food, I can almost count on not getting the container back. People forget, and my containers get mixed in with their collection of mixed containers and after a while peoples cupboards are filled with a colourful mosaic of containers that don’t belong to them.  When I give people food in Saskatchewan tupperware, I can keep my matching set of containers safe, and I’m not sad if I never see my container again.

Marinades n’ things
Since a lot of dairy containers are tall and narrow, they’re a good way to marinate meat with minimum marinade.  (Note that your containers will stink for a while afterwards.)

Freezing garden vegetables
My Mom and Grandma would always fill up several Saskatchewan tupperwares with tightly packed spinach, beans, beets, herbs and things from the garden, then stick them in the freezer. My Mom must fill at least 20 each year, so it makes sense to do it cheaply by reusing old containers. I would take the food out before putting it into a pot or the microwave, since there has been so much talk about the chemicals plastic releases when it’s heated.

Hardening fat
This one’s pretty gross. For fattier meats like ground beef, turkey or duck, the fat should never go down the drain. My Mom always pours it into a container, pops it out and throws it in the garbage when it becomes solid.

Keeping craft supplies
Sometimes I put craft supplies in my Saskatchewan tupperware. If you’re worried about plastic chemicals leaking into your food, this is a good alternative use.

I still have a matching set of the good containers because I let my Saskatchewan tupperware do the dirty work.

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6 responses »

  1. That’s funny you call your mixed containers Saskatchewan Tupperware. I have a friend here in the States that calls it “Mexican Tupperware.” I’m not sure why she calls it that but it made me chuckle to see you call it Saskatchewan 😉
    I think you make a lot of really good points in this entry about the many multiple uses for such containers. I usually rib at my Mom, in a kidding around fashion, about keeping food containers, and have heard my brother call her a hoarder. After reading your entry I think I’ll cut her some slack, as she isn’t just collecting containers, but she uses them in similar fashions as you do. 🙂
    I love reading all your great ideas on how to save money 🙂

    • There are so many things I used to bug my parents about that now make perfect sense to me. I’ve become a stickler for turning off lights when I’m out of the room like my dad. (I wouldn’t admit it to him!)

      That is funny about your friend! I didn’t realize it was such a common thing. I thought it was just my stingy family. 😉

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