Several years ago, I got rid of nearly all of my plastic food storage containers. I have several pyrex dishes with lids and lidded casserole dishes that I use to store large quantities of leftovers. But most of the time, I use empty glass jars.
My freezer is full of repurposed glass jars holding things like flax seeds, chia seeds, and hemp protein. I order stuff like that online in bulk and it comes in big plastic bags that can be a bit unwieldy. So when it arrives, I dump the bags into several jars and stash them in the freezer. Much easier to dump chia seeds out of a one-quart jar than a five pound bag.
My fridge is also full of glass jars. I buy nuts and seeds from the bulk section of our grocery store, and store them in the fridge in glass jars. When I make salad dressings and smoothies and soups, they get stored in glass jars (if they make it as far as the leftover stage!).
I use empty glass jars to store stuff in my pantry too.
Remove the labels, wash out the jars, and glue on new labels. Easy and free and much better for keeping track of everything than it would be if I kept them in the bulk bags from the store.
Jars are also a great way to shake up protein supplements or any other powdered drinks. I mix things like powdered greens, probiotics, spirulina, protein, etc. with water every day. I use my blender for smoothies, but when the ingredients are powdered, shaking everything together in a jar is a quick and easy solution. Much faster and more effective than stirring them in a glass with a fork (always ends up chunky. Spirulina chunks? Yuck.) and less expensive than one of those purpose-made “shaker jars” that some of the protein powder companies sell.
Another way I love to use empty glass jars is for giving edible gifts. I enjoy cooking and baking, and food is always a welcome gift. I don’t ever want to give people food in containers that they feel they need to return. And I don’t like the idea of buying disposable food storage containers just for the purpose of giving food to someone – seems like a waste of money and resources. So instead, I save the nicest of my empty glass jars for this purpose. Large, wide mouth jars make great containers for soup. Smaller jars – especially if they have interesting shapes – look great filled with bite size cookies (or dough balls!) or spiced nuts. Fill jars with layered ingredients for “soup in a jar” or “cookies in a jar”. Use your imagination! spruce them up with some pretty fabric glued to the lid. Tie a ribbon around the top with the recipe attached.
One caveat. Please don’t use this as an excuse to have 100 empty jars cluttering up your shelves! I have a lot of jars in use in my pantry, freezer and fridge. But that means I don’t really need any more. I save the nicest ones these days to use for food gifts, but I make liberal use of the recycling bin for most jars we get these days. Save the jars you can use right now or in the immediate future. Recycle the rest. And enjoy your recycled, frugal, plastic-free food storage!
I know you guys have plenty of other ideas for repurposing glass jars around the house. Please share!