Reviewed by Louise Totton
I do an awful lot of cooking from scratch, and I particularly enjoy cooking Asian food, which means a lot of different ingredients in the house, particularly spices and aromatics which need to be stored carefully to maintain their flavours. Because I do cook so often using my spices, buying the small supermarket-sized mini jars would work out rather expensive, so I buy larger bags of spices from some local ethnic shops, but storing these can present a bit of a problem. Storing them in their bags, clamped shut, doesn’t keep them properly sealed and is isn’t the tidiest way of organising my cupboards and storing them in glass jars isn’t an efficient use of space and there’s always the risk of dropping and smashing them.
Well, having always relied on Sistema for their lunchboxes and drinks bottles for the kids, it seems like they have a solution for my kitchen storage woes too, in the form of their Ultra range. The Ultra range is a range of clear, modular kitchen storage containers, available either as cylindrical, screw-top jars or oblong, clip-locked jars. All of the range is BPA and phthalate free, is made from ultra-clear Tritan plastic and is completely airtight.
We were sent some of the Ultra Square range to try out, which feature a clip-lock fastening lid with black trim. The Ultra Square range contains four different sized containers: 460ml (RRP: £5.95), 700ml (RRP: £6.95), 920ml (RRP: £7.95) and 1.3l (RRP: £9.95) and they are available either individually or in a 5-pack for £29.95 (there are 2 of the 700ml ones in the set). We were sent one of each size to try out.
I absolutely loved these containers as soon as I opened the box. They look fantastic – very modern and sleek, and I thought that the square shape was a really efficient shape as there is no wasted space when the items are stood next to each other in the cupboard. I also really liked the black trim as it matched the kitchen particularly well and I thought they looked great. Talking of efficient use of space – one of my favourite things about the Ultra Square containers was how they stacked next to each other. The containers are proportioned height-wise so that they can stack on top of each other perfectly, so the 460ml is 1/3 the height of the largest, the 700ml is half the height and the 920ml is 2/3 the height. This means that they look very tidy in a row, and they would also sit well inside an ingredients drawer.
The Tritan plastic that these are made from is crystal clear and it washes wonderfully well – we have had a number of different spices in there, even highly coloured ones (turmeric) and some pretty pungent ones such as paprika. The Tritan plastic hasn’t stained or absorbed the smell of any of the spices and the spices have remained fresh. Like lots of kitchens, ours can be a little prone to condensation (tumble dryer, cooking and using a pressure cooker), and the airtight containers haven’t allowed any damp to permeate the containers or let any moisture in.
The Tritan plastic is also impact resistant, which is fantastic as they have been stored on a high shelf in my kitchen cupboards and I am a little prone to acts of clumsiness – I have dropped and smashed multiple spice jars over the years and I have no such worries with this one. I have washed these by hands on a few occasions and they haven’t scratched or dulled at all. They are dishwasher safe (top rack), but we don’t have one so I haven’t been able to try them out in the dishwasher.
We have been delighted with these containers. They are a great price, are superb quality and are incredibly useful in the kitchen. The sizes that are available are ideal for spices, herbs, pulses, rice and pasta. They aren’t big enough for storing larger pasta items such as tagliatelle or spaghetti, but are more than big enough for smaller shapes such as macaroni and penne. I would absolutely recommend these to anyone who is looking to re-organise their kitchen, or who just wants to replace their storage jars with high-quality ones. If your local shops or supermarkets support refilling your own containers to reduce packaging waste, these would make excellent containers to take with you.
RRP: from £5.95 to £29.95