Quick English: Words for Food Containers

Often, when you are asking for something in a supermarket, saying the name of what you want is enough. If you want "milk", someone will be able to direct you.

However, there are times when people talk about the containers that items are stored in. It is useful to know which containers hold which foods. Here is some common vocabulary for containers and what they hold.

barrel: Barrels are large, waterproof wooden containers that hold large amounts of liquid (or random items, in some idioms)

barrel of whisky, barrel of wine  (idioms: barrel of monkeys, barrel of laughs, barrel of fish)

You can find a barrel of monkeys in a children's board game.

bottle: Bottles are glass or plastic containers with narrow tops used for liquids

bottle of juice, bottle of water, bottle of soda

carton: Cartons are normally waxed cardboard containers that hold liquid or things that are not completely solid

carton of milk, carton of ice cream, egg carton, carton of soup

This milk carton became famous in a music video by the band Blur.

can/tin (US/UK): Cans are usually made of metal.

can of beans, tin of tuna, canned

case: Cases are large containers usually used to transport many of the same item for purchase. Most things come in cases at some point in the process.

case of beer bottles, case of cereal boxes, case of canned corn

crate: Crates are wooden or plastic boxes that are frequently used for storing or carrying larg amounts of something.

crate of apples, crate of  potatoes

jar: Jars are made of glass.

jarred sauce, jar of jam (or you might hear someone talk about a "jam jar"), jar of peanut butter, jar of mayonnaise

pitcher: Pitchers are large plastic or glass containers that are open at the top with a lip and a handle, used for pouring liquids.

pitcher of lemonade, pitcher of iced tea, pitcher of water

Can you think of any other examples for each of these words? Next time you are in the supermarket and you see one of these items, practice the English vocabulary for each one.

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