How to Reuse Jam Jars in the Kitchen Instead of Tupperware


We’ve all seen those Pinterest-worthy pantries, filled with gorgeous jars, full of dry goods. They look so organised – I love them. They are not only super gorgeous but also do away with plastic, so major bonus points.


I often thought I’d need to go and buy a million jars to get my pantry looking even a little bit like this, but the reality is that I already have jars that I could be using. They are in my fridge filled with jam, olives, jalapeños and pickles.

Instead of putting those glass jars I buy from the supermarket in the recycling bin, I just wash them instead.

Soon, you, too, can have a lust-worthy collection of jars all of your own.

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How to prepare your used jars for reuse

When reusing your jars, you need to do a little more than just wash them in the sink, because you also need to peel off their labels. Here’s how I upcycle my glass jars:

1. When at the grocery store and you’re buying a jar of jam or olives, buy the product that has the best jar. It might be the one that is biggest. Or with the widest mouth. Or with fewer decorations in the glass. Pick the product based on the awesomeness of the jar. This jar will be with you for years, so pick one that is practical.

2. Eat the contents of the jar. Yep, it might take a few months, but that’s ok! Good things come to those who wait!

3. Wash the jar in the sink with the rest of the dishes. You might want to soak the jar overnight to really clean that baby.

4. Peel the label off. Getting the glue off of jars used to be a source of endless frustration for me. Then I read about this technique: get olive oil – yes, olive oil – and rub it all over the label. Then, rub in a good layer of bicarb soda. Leave it overnight. That label will fall right off in the morning, or it will be soft enough to peel off with your fingers.

5. Now, if your jar used to have something quite flavoursome like jalapenos or chilli, it still might smell like those things. Pour in some a 50% vinegar and water mix and let it stand overnight. I often like to let my jars air a few days, too.

6. Viola! You’ve now got a brand new jar, which has no label, smells fresh and is perfectly good to use in your pantry for a new life.

If you do this every time you shop, in three months, you’ll need to dedicate a whole cupboard to the jars you rescued. Nice one!

What can you use jars for?

I use big jars for loads of things:

  • When I open food like flour which comes in a paper packet, I keep the leftover flour in a jar to keep it airtight.
  • When I shop at a bulk food store, I can use the glass jars for transporting my goodies home.
  • I use jars instead of Tupperware. I freeze my soups, stews and curries in the freezer.
  • I use them for my salad-in-a-jar for lunches.

And for the teeny, tiny chilli jars, I use these too!

  • I carry a tiny jar of nuts in my handbag, for a snack on the go.
  • I carry a tiny jar of coffee on a morning walk, so I can keep it in my pocket with the lid on.
  • In the bathroom, I keep my DIY dry shampoo in a tiny glass jar.

How to use glass jars in the kitchen

On freezing

Glass shatters when it experiences extreme temperature changes: if you put it in the freezer, then in the hot oven, you are not going to have a good time. Make sure the glass is at room temperature before shifting it to a place of a wildly different temperature.

If you’ve just cooked a hot soup, let the soup cool to room temperature before putting the soup in the jar. Then put the jar in the fridge to let it cool further. Then, put it in the freezer. It’s just baby steps.

Again, when you want to eat the soup, pull it from the freezer the day before, leave it to defrost in the fridge, then the next day, you can pour out the defrosted contents into a bowl and heat up the contents.

It’s not hard to use glass, but just be aware that it’s a sensitive little soul and loves being at room temperate before getting too cold or too hot. Like me, really.

Filling up the jars

If you’re putting soup in your jars, it’s pretty hard to spoon in the contents without it going everywhere. Ask me how I know.

I made a funnel, so I could pour my soup into something that was a bit wider than a standard jar opening. I upcycled a milk bottle to do this, just by cutting it in half and using the top half as a funnel. I wash these after use and keep them in my pantry.

Let us know: what will you use your upcycled jars for? Let me know if you have ideas which I can usee my jars for!

DIY inspo

Instead of putting your glass jar in the recycling this week, why not clean it up and repurpose it? You might already have olive oil, vinegar and bicarb soda in your pantry so you’ve got everything you need to get it looking gorgeous for reuse!

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