By Joe Sevier. Photo by Mike Lorrig.
It’s Grocery Month at Epicurious, and we’re thinking about super-fast checkout lines, alternative mylks (not a typo), and the cheapest bottles of olive oil (and wine). Check out the complete series here.
Anyone that's discovered tomato paste in a tube knows that product packaging makes a world of difference. A simple shift in an ingredient's housing can make cooking way less fussy, help keep food fresher, and make storing leftovers a breeze.
The Epi team's love of tube foods is so great, in fact, that it made us start thinking about what other groceries we would like to see revolutionize their bad packaging design.
Canned Chipotles in Adobo
Problem: Try as you might, you can never use a full can (small though they be) in one go, and it feels extra-fussy trying to come up with a storage solution for the leftovers. Not to mention the fact that the chipotles require extra prep (chopping, pureeing) before you can use them in a dish.
Solution: Some tubes of chipotle puree are sold in stores already, but we're ready for them to become ubiquitous. No more mincing, no more foil-covered cans crusting in the back of the fridge. Just a squirt of spicy, smoky, easy heat for our braises, stews, baked sweet potatoes, or literally whatever.
Toasted Sesame Oil
Problem: Sesame oil is notoriously potent—so you only use a little at a time—and is exceptionally adept at going rancid all too quickly.
Solution: Smaller bottles, dude. Yes, even smaller than they already are. The fragrant oil will overpower a dish when used in excess and for most people there's no way to use a whole bottle before it goes off.
Problem: We love canned beans for a quick dinner, but often find that one can is too much when cooking for one and not big enough when cooking for two.
Solution: I don't know, 10-oz cans and 20-oz cans or something? I'm not a marketing specialist.
Problem: Flour poofing out of the package seams in the middle of the baking aisle, luring bugs and making a mess. Tops that are impossible to open cleanly. Narrow openings that don't help anyone measuring anything.
Solution: If yeast can come pre-measured, I say flour can too—which would be especially useful for cooks who bake infrequently. At the very least, resealable packaging with reinforced openings should be a given—and if that packaging could be freezer safe, all the better.
Problem: When we just want a little wine to deglaze the pan, we have to take it from the bottle we're planning to drink—and we'd rather be drinking that wine.
Solution: Boxed wine just for cooking. Take what you need for the pan, take what you need to make it through another day.
Problem: I mean, what's not wrong with bacon packaging!? What masochist designed this hard-to-open, non-resealable package that won't even fit into a standard plastic storage bag once you've cooked all the bacon you need for today's breakfast?
Solution: Resealable packaging, obvs. I also think it would be great if the bacon was stacked instead of fanned out so that it could be stored upright instead of taking up more than its fair share of of fridge space.
Blocks of Cheese
Problem: Somewhere, someone you know has a haphazardly opened half-block of cheddar drying out in his or her refrigerator right now.
Solution: Resealable packaging. Plain and simple.
Sleeves of Crackers
Problem: Per the above, stale crackers across America are laying in wait for hunks of dried-out cheddar. Yum.
Solution: If each and every sleeve could reseal, that would be great, thanks.
Problem: Brown rock candy, anyone? I didn't think so.
Solution: I'm going to say it again: resealable—perhaps with a little mini ceramic brown sugar saver in each box. Also, if anyone knows a solution that would end the need to devise better ways to soften hardened brown sugar, get thee to Shark Tank, stat.
This story originally appeared on Epicurious.
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