Watch a demo here. Like other worm farms, the worms are not included and must be purchased separately. The only maintenance required is for you to drain out liquids from the bucket every two days during the fermenting process. Except some containers and lids simply aren't made to be nuked in the microwave, and could warp or straight-up melt. Maximum airflow makes scraps dry out faster, keeping nasty liquid from pooling up on the bottom. The caddy mounts to the cabinet door on both the top and bottom of the pail so that it will not bang on the cabinet door when opening or closing the door.
2. Norpro Ceramic Compost Keeper
Predictably, this also brings up health concerns over whether heating plastic containers directly in the microwave makes your food safe for consumption. The jury is still out on this one, but the FDA recommends placing containers in the microwave only if they have been labeled for microwave oven use.
These days it's hard to find a plastic container that can't hold its own in the microwave, but as they say, it's better to be safe than have sorry, melted plastic. So make sure the plastic containers are designed for microwave use, but if you're worried about it anyway, transferring your food to glass or paper—or just using a glass container to begin with—is usually the safer option. A lot of attention has been on a chemical called bisphenol-A BPA , which is added to make clear, hard plastic such as those found in reusable water and baby bottles.
It's believed to be an "endocrine disruptor,"—or substance that mimics our natural hormones—which sounds pretty scary. However, the FDA closely regulates plastic containers that come in contact with food, and requires manufactures to pass specific tests that meet FDA standards and specifications.
If you're still a bit wary about nuking your leftovers in plastic containers, try venting the container lid before sticking it in the microwave, and don't use old, scratched up containers, as they may be more likely to leak out BPA. Freezing your food can ensure its longevity, but this also subjects it to the harshness of sub-zero temperatures, resulting in freezer burn—you know, those nasty white splotches on food that make it taste like something you'd find at a wax museum.
Worse, improperly frozen foods can absorb other smells and flavors. Here's where freezer-friendly containers can protect the flavor, texture, and color of the food. They help reduce the food's exposure to air, which is responsible for many of the unwanted side effects of freezing. Proper freezer-friendly containers should be sealable and rigid; some glass ones, like Mason jars, can work, but make sure to give your food some room to crystallize and expand.
Plastic freezer Ziploc bags can be awesome alternatives as well. Freezer-friendly containers won't prevent freezer burn entirely, but they do go a long way in helping to preserve your food. The amount of time individual foods can be stored before their flavors and texture deteriorate can vary. Uncooked meat, for example, tends to store longer than cooked meat. Just make sure you label and rotate through your frozen foods in a timely manner. Containers that fit easily in a travel bag or in small spaces are ideal.
A lightweight, slimmer, flat-shaped container is probably a meal-prep veteran's best friend; it's the most versatile and portable, and fits most standard meals. The vent holes on the lid may seem like they would attract flies, but Norpro sells a charcoal filter that you insert into the lid which actually prevents any odors from escaping.
I have personally used this compost bin and found that odors were never an issue. You can use this compost bin with or without compostable bag liners.
It is easy to wash and dishwasher safe if you choose not to use liners. Watch a video review here. This rustic red crock is going to be an attractive addition to your kitchen counter.
It has a spacious capacity of five quarts and is made out of durable steel with a rustic ceramic finish. The bail handle with wooden grip adds a nice touch to this lovely crock. You will need to keep the lid filled with charcoal filters to prevent odors from escaping the vent holes and keep flies from getting in.
One filter comes included with the crock when you buy it. This compost bin can be used with or without compostable liners , and it is dishwasher safe. The EcoCrock is one of the most popular kitchen compost bins on this list. This is a sleek and modern compost bin with a vented lid with that filters odor with charcoal filters. The lid is larger than most other crocks so make sure to get the charcoal filters that are specially made for this model. This compost bin is made of durable and clean looking ceramic with a cute lid that lets you know what is inside.
The best feature of the EcoCrock is that it has a removable plastic pail that you can easily pull out to empty scraps. This makes it super easy to take the trip from kitchen to compost pile without having to carry a heavy bin, or have to purchase disposable bags for your compost. The capacity is slightly smaller than other models at three quarts, making this a perfect choice for small spaces or anyone who does not create a ton of scraps each day.
The Food Cycler is the most high tech of all kitchen compost bins. It allows you to not only store scraps for your compost pile, but reduce all of your kitchen scraps into small, easy to manage pieces.
The Food Cycler will automatically convert your scraps, everything from vegetables and fruit to meat and bones, into a viable soil amendment. You can either use these scraps directly in a soil garden, or you cam dump them into an outdoor compost bin to finish the composting process. Food Cycler is electric and requires no effort on your part other than filling the tub and pressing a button.
It is completely odorless with no venting, draining or additives required, and the whole process takes less than three hours to complete. Cleaning is a breeze, and the tub is dishwasher safe.
Watch a demo here. OXO is a well known and respected brand in kitchen ware, and their compost bin is just as good as you would expect.
It is conveniently sized and the design allows for easy every day use, the lid flips open easily and locks shut to seal in odors, and its smooth interior walls prevent food from sticking and makes cleaning easy.
The OXO Good Grips Compost Bin also comes with a contoured bottom and removable lid to make emptying easier, and a rotating handle for easy transport to your outdoor compost bin. It comes in two color combinations — White and Green as shown, or Grey and Tan. You can use compostable liner bags , but this unit is so easy to clean that it may not be necessary for you. The Kitchen Compost Caddy is a large, sturdy compost collector that is perfect for large families or anyone who cooks a lot and creates more compost than counter top containers can handle.
It has a large capacity of two gallons and stores conveniently out of sight under your sink. The lid needs to be lined with a carbon filter to prevent odors and fruit flies, and it is a good idea to use compostable liner bags with this system. Because the capacity is so large, your compost might sit in the bin for longer than it would with a smaller collector. Luckily, this system comes with a storage container to conveniently hold a box of liners right underneath the bin.
Some more cool features of this compost caddy include a magnetic vented lid that clicks and locks when you open it, so there is no chance of food waste falling on the lid and making a mess. The caddy mounts to the cabinet door on both the top and bottom of the pail so that it will not bang on the cabinet door when opening or closing the door.
The Typhoon Compost Caddy is another classic and attractive design for your counter top compost bin. It has the classic caddy look but is made of durable metal with a smooth plastic lining and comes in three colors — Summer House Blue currently unavailable , Red and Black. You will need to use a charcoal filter with this bin to keep smells in and flies out, but it is easy to replace. You have the option of using liner bags or not. Because this bin is made out of smooth materials with a wide mouthed lid it is easy to empty and clean, so they may not be necessary, especially if you empty it often.
This is a nice and simple compost pail with no frills, but it is well constructed and does a great job of keeping compost in and odors out.
The Bosmere Slim Kitchen Compost Caddy fits neatly in your kitchen cabinets or under the sink, instead of on top of your counter. This caddy saves valuable counter space and is great for a small kitchen, but still has a large storage capacity of 2. The body is eco-friendly as well, as it is made of recycled plastic. This caddy will require you to use a special sized charcoal filter square instead of round , and because it is so skinny it is best to use liner bags.
The YukChuk is another compost bin option that mounts to your kitchen cabinet under the sink, eliminating the need to use up counter space for your compost. Although it is not a very stylish option, it is hidden out of sight and it is very durable and easy to use. The main benefit of the YukChuk as opposed to most other compost bins is that it does not require a charcoal filter.
It comes with twin lid locks to create an airtight seal between the lid and the bin, preventing odors from escaping and reducing fruit flies without the need for constantly replacing filters.
Because of this feature you may also choose to eliminate the use of liner bags without much of a consequence, other than more frequent washing or rinsing out of the container. The lid opens towards you, so it is easy to use one handed and you do not have to worry about it snapping shut and spilling compost all over the place. The Yukchuk also comes with a guarantee for as long as you own it, and is dishwasher safe. Watch a how-to video here. Favorites include the bison burger, turkey meatloaf, spinach and goat cheese scramble, and Chai cashew milkshake.
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Photo by Julie Soefer. Photo courtesy of My Fit Foods.