Making the Switch to Glass Storage


As you might know, as convenient as plastic is, it is harmful to us and the environment.  If you aren’t already convinced of this, take a look here.

Reduce Footprints current challenge is

This week refuse to use plastic wrap (aka cling film, cling wrap, glad wrap, etc). Instead, choose Eco-friendly, safe ways to store food. And, as always, we’d like to hear all about your efforts.
Or …

If you’ve already banned plastic wrap from your life, please review your food storage methods to see if there’s any room for improvement. For example, if you’re reusing plastic containers to store food consider glass, ceramic or stainless steel containers instead (old plastic containers may leach harmful toxins into your food). If you use aluminum foil to cover your food, consider covering food with an inverted plate, a lid from a casserole or pan, etc. And, please tell us about your efforts.

But replacing all the plastic storage items you have collected over the years could be daunting and expensive!  It doesn’t have to be!

I stopped buying plastic wrap a few years ago.  It wasn’t as difficult as I thought.  But as I think back, I took this step several years into my green journey.  I was LOOKING for things to reduce and change.  So, depending on where you are, this may be easy or difficult.
 

Before I made this step, I made sure to set myself up for success.  I stocked up on plenty of other storage containers (with lids) so I wouldn’t be looking for the plastic wrap.  At first I used my stand-by plastic containers.  Then I slowly converted to glass. I watched for sales and bought 2 sets of  Pyrex glass storage containers with lids (affiliate link).  I still kept foil in the house for those rare occasions.  Foil is expensive!  So I reached for it sparingly.


Inexpensive Glass Options

 CheapGlassFoodStorage
 
 
Reuse glass jars you buy food in!!!! My best discovery.  Total light bulb moment.  Like spaghetti sauce, salsa, pickles, applesauce.  They are free and come in so many shapes and sizes.  I figured I would do this until I stocked up enough on “real” containers from sales or yard sales.  After a while, I didn’t want to give up my free jars!  Why should I?  They worked great and they were “free”.  I learned from my trip to the recycling plant, that glass gets crushed and sits for a long time before it can be reused.  So, to reuse it at my home was a much better option.  I keep them all in the basement.  I save them ALL! At some point or another I am looking for a particular size and there is it.

 

 
Where to find cheap glass storage for food
 
 

Where Else To Find Them  Yard sales and thrift stores are great places to look.  I found these babies at our thrift store Savers for about $2 each.  Don’t pass them up because the rubber ring is dried out or missing.  You can buy replacement rubber rings at kitchen stores and hardware stores (during canning season) for about $3 for 4.  I even saw them 4 for $1 at The Christmas Tree Shop this past spring.

 Glass storage for food - CHEAP! Mason jars are another inexpensive glass storage option.  A case of pint jars are about $11 – less than $1 a piece.  I use them in the fridge and the freezer.  They come in a wide variety of sizes and are plentiful during spring and summer.  You can find them at hardware stores, Target, Walmart, or online (affiliate).  I saw them sold singly at The Christmas Tree Shops this past spring as well.  Update 7/20/12:  I was at Bed, Bath and Beyond yesterday and they sell cases of mason jars at about the same price as elsewhere, BUT you will use your 20% off coupon to get them even cheaper!

 BigPickleJar

 

I saw this HUGE beauty of a  pickle jar at the grocery store.  It stands about 14 inches tall.   We like pickles, but not enough to eat almost 2 lbs of them.  I keep thinking of when I would possibly use all those pickles JUST so I can have the jar!  Anyone know any pickle recipes?

 

So Many Uses

I like to store as much of my food in glass as possible.  So I use these glass options for both cold and pantry storage.  They look so cute too!

In the freezer for stock, soup, homemade baked beans and cooked dried beans are just a few ideas.  Make sure you leave plenty of head room – I usually leave at least an inch to be on the safe side.  Just like the plastic storage, make sure you label them.

 

how to reuse glass jars
 
 
For the pantry, I put all of my dried fruits, homemade granola, various chocolate chips, dried beans….
 
how to reuse glass storage
 
 

Now I certainly have not cast plastic out of my house for good.  I still have plastic baggies for certain uses.  We do have reusable cloth bags that we use a lot, but there are certain things I just can’t seem to get away from.  So there’s my plastic confession.


What is your favorite non-plastic storage?  Do you still have some plastic?

 
 

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35 Responses to Making the Switch to Glass Storage

  1. Margaux at YoungNesters July 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    This is wonderful. I need to switch badly but we’re on a budget and I haven’t wanted to shell out the cash for some fancy storage containers. Reusing our glass jars is a fantastic idea!

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) July 16, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

      That is exactly how I felt too! I happened to come across two great sales on Pyrex sets, but most of my glass containers are reused jars. It is nice having a few of the larger or square Pyrex ones, but I probably could have done with less. Thanks for stopping by Margaux!

  2. Erin Slocum July 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    I’m a lover of glass and am still in transition. I only freeze in glass. With a large family freezing meals is the way to go!

  3. srambach July 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    I’ve been reluctant to use glass in the freezer for fear of breakage, not from headspace so much as bumps when I’m rooting around for something. Is that a needless fear? Also, I’m curious what you are using to label the jars. They look so cute!

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) July 16, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

      I have been using glass in the freezer for about 6 months. I was afraid they’d break. So far so good. I have a large deep freeze and a bottom freezer fridg so things are generally pretty stable when I’m looking around. Try it! When I just tried glass I was so nervous (of breaking) that I put them inside a box in the freezer.

      The labels are chalkboard contact paper with a chalk marker. Jury is still out on these. I love them for the dry stuff, but they seem to lose something when you wash off the labels (to relabel). The chalk doesn’t go on as clean – like when someone uses a crayon on a chalk board. The the paper itself was about $12 for a roll. I’ll let you know as I experiment more.

  4. Shannyn SimplyShan July 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Pinned it.
    I have made the covered bowl/container purchases, and honestly I love them more than I ever did plastic wrap.
    I’ve been re-using jars for years, I started using them for crafting things and then- like you- light bulb….FOOD, lol! Awesome post!

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) July 16, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by Shannyn! I love the glass way more than plastic too. They just look so cool, are study, and easy to see what you have.

  5. Brittney July 16, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    I love reusing jars from other products! I use old food jars or buy them at yard sales! I love the idea of the chalkboard square to label! I might have to do that!

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) July 16, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

      Yard sales are the best! It’s like a treasure hunt. I once found the cutest Pyrex nesting bowls from like the 50′s. The chalkboard squares are cute, but if you want to spend the time, using chalkboard paint might be the better way to go.

  6. Small Footprints July 16, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    Reusing glass product containers really is a light bulb idea. Growing up, my parents never wasted a thing … and yet, they tossed glass jars. So, when I became an adult, I tossed them without another thought … they were trash. And when I learned that I could use them … wow! What I didn’t know is that the jars and their lids can be reused for canning and preserving.

    Thanks for all your great ideas!

  7. La Alicia July 16, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

    I’m still transitioning plastics out of my life. I love to reuse glass containers that foods have come in. I also have muslin bags that I use for bulk products and that means no secondary packaging! :)

    I found you all via RF Meet & Greet!

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) July 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      Hi La Alicia! Muslin bags are a great idea for bulk! We don’t tend to have a lot of bulk options here, so I can take whatever container I use at home to refill at the store. Whole Foods will weigh your container before-hand so they can deduct that from the final price. I LOVE this! I get exactly how much I need and no transferring when I get home.

  8. NatureStop July 17, 2012 at 6:19 am #

    I really love your blog and am really inspired by it. Have a great day!

    Shantana

  9. Emily July 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Sadly, I do have plastic storage containers. I hope to make the switch to glass…I had no idea that the Christmas Tree shop had Mason Jars – that’s reason to go in!

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) July 18, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

      Don’t feel badly Emily. I still do too for certain things. I don’t know if all Christmas Tree Shops have them or still do. I saw these in Nashua NH a couple of months ago. It really only makes sense to get them here if you DON’T need a whole case since I think they are a little cheaper by the case elsewhere. And even if you have to buy a case at the hardware store or somewhere else, I guarantee you will use all 12!

  10. rewinn July 19, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    Wow, that’s a really whack-my-forehead idea – thanks!
    As for pickles … do you like to chop them up and put them in potato salad? One potato salad a week should empty your jar in a couple of months. Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint!

  11. Kelly July 24, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    I do this, too! I love being able to reuse glass jars. I use them for practically everything, even in the office and for school supplies. The tall peanut jars are perfect for markers, pens or pencils. When I begin to accumulate too many I make a batch of gift jars. I especially like to layer homemade chicken noodle soup mix and keep on hand to deliver to sick friends or cookie mixes for birthdays and thank-you gifts. During the holidays we make quite a variety of jar gifts for friends and family, too.

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) July 24, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

      Love the gift jar idea! I have always wanted to do that, just haven’t gotten to it ;) I centered this post on food storage, but I use the glass for other things too like homemade beauty items. We are away from home at the moment and I needed a toothbrush holder. Thank goodness we ate the last of the pickles! A small jar, not the big one above, unfortunately LOL.

      Thanks for stopping by Kelly.

  12. sabkon wells August 31, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    hey love your suggestion. these seem very useful containers.

    Plastic Storage Containers

  13. Deanna April 5, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    I just so happen to have one of those huge jars of pickles on my counter and will be making bread and butter pickles out of them today! My grandmother taught me this easy trick. Slice the pickles into smaller containers (I use glass, wide-mouth jam jars), add a little bit of the brine (not much) and sprinkle a pretty hefty amount of sugar over the pickles. Put on the lid, shake and refrigerate. In about a week you’ll have really tasty bread and butter pickles.

    • Kristina September 7, 2013 at 8:08 am #

      Om my! What a great idea. Yeah I may be able to get that BIG jar!!!!!

  14. Irishwitch January 2, 2014 at 8:54 am #

    How do you freeze things such as home made sauces with meat? I usually use plastic, but want to stop.

    • Kristina January 2, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

      Hi Irishwitch! I use my glass jars for everything. I make a lot of soups and stews with meat and these work just fine. I often freeze soup/stew in pint mason jars which is a great single serving size. Makes for quick hot lunch. Good luck!

  15. Kristie Jo April 4, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

    How do you get the smell out of the lids of some of the jars that you are reusing? I have tried to soak them in vinegar and it doesn’t always work. thanks!

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