This $14 Find Is a Smarter Way to Extend the Life of My Produce and Make Meal Prep Simpler

published Mar 8, 2023
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chicken breast prepared in a sous-vide, plated and sliced, and served with salad greens. A glass of seltzer with lemon in the upper right
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

People fall into one of two groups with their resealable bags: those who wash and reuse them, and those who throw them out after a single use. I was once on Team Reusable and remember flipping bags inside out, scrubbing them (being careful not to tear any seams), and gently standing them up to dry. However, this tedious chore eventually broke my spirit, and ever since then I’ve been (unfortunately) doing my part to contribute plastic bags to our nation’s landfills.

Thankfully, a new kind of resealable bag has entered the arena, and it’s actually designed to be reusable. I’m talking about zip-top silicone bags. These are like a super-durable version of the resealable bags you’re used to, only they’re way more useful in the kitchen. Besides storing and marinating ingredients, you can cook with these in the oven, microwave, and in boiling water — and you can clean them in your dishwasher. I recently tried some from Ziploc and they made me rethink what resealable bags can do.

Ziploc Endurables are aptly named: The seal is thick and sturdy (and nearly impossible to rip at the edges), and the rest of the bag seems strong enough to withstand years of use. They’re built to withstand all the elements of a home kitchen — you can pop one inside a 425 degrees Fahrenheit oven and cook a pork loin in the same bag you marinated it in — and as long as you don’t poke or cut them with knives or scissors, they won’t deteriorate. They mix the long-term use of hardtop food containers with the flexibility of plastic bags to create something that’s more capable than both of those items combined.

Credit: Nic Dobija-Nootens

The bags come in different shapes (flat-bottomed and pouch) and sizes (small, medium, and large). I filled the Large Pouch with chopped root vegetables that I’ll cook later in the week and used the Medium Container to cook a salmon fillet that tasted great — and, as a bonus — didn’t leave me with any pans to clean. Although I usually cook this dish on a sheet pan in the oven, I tried a sort of DIY sous vide method by dropping the bag in a pot of boiling water. (This is probably not the correct way to sous vide, but I don’t own one of those expensive temperature-controlling devices.) Thankfully, this tough-as-nails bag made my cooking experiment a success, and when I was done, I gave it a quick rinse in the sink and set it upside down in my dishwasher. Much faster cleanup than my old sheet-pan method!

Compared to Stasher Bags, Ziploc Endurables appear to perform in a pretty similar way. However, while Endurables aren’t available in as wide a range of sizes and colors, they cost less — so if you’ve been curious to try resealable silicone bags, but don’t want to splurge, these are a great option. (My Medium Container Endurable costs $14 on Amazon, while the similar-sized Stand-Up Mid Bag from Stasher costs $24.)

Credit: Nic Dobija-Nootens

Next up, I plan to use mine to marinate and cook chicken breasts in the oven, as that seems to be even easier than sous vide. If you want to try using these for sous vide, just make sure you press out as much air from the bag as possible and don’t have to retrieve it and do that after placing it in the hot water. (Thankfully, thick tabs at the top make it easy and safe to pick up.) I’m glad to have these in my kitchen, and even if they don’t replace my plastic resealable bags for good, they make it so much easier to cut down on the number I throw away.