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Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Ten Tips on Reusing Bottle and Glass Containers

(one of our kitchen cupboards with glass storage containers)

In our house, its always exciting to come up with creative ways to reuse items which would normally be expected to be recycled. We love to recycle or reuse items, and for me, mamie (French for “mom”) the homemaker, I enjoy reusing glass containers. All it takes is some creativity. Recycling has been, I guess you could say, part of my nature as it’s been nurtured in me and my siblings. Growing up during difficult financial times, we learned to live within our means and to learned to make-do with what we had. I can honestly say I feel truly blessed for having lived in those circumstances, however difficult it was at the time as it is helping us now. My father, an upholsterer by trade, wouldn't think twice to pick up an old couch on the side of the road and reupholster it for our household.

About five or six years ago, we decided to do away with plastic containers and replace them with glass. After reading on the possible dangers of plastic leaching, we decided to move toward storing our food goods in glass containers. At the time I had many mason jars and without wanting to spend extra money, the mason jars were put to good use. About a few years ago, I started purchasing artichokes which are stored in a 32 ounce jar, and being bigger than the quart size mason jars, I opted to use those instead. Opening the lids is always a challenge but I don't mind living with a few dented lids. Taking the label off the jar does take some time, but it’s for a good cause. Good stewardship sometimes takes some sacrifice but its well worth it.

If you've got some extra jars that need to be used or you are considering switching over from plastic storage to glass storage containers, here are a few ideas which we use in our home. Using jars for canning is a given.

1. Glass salad dressing containers with appropriate spout: Reuse for homemade salad dressing

2. Quart size or one gallon glass containers: soaking/prouting grains, beans, etc. or making sour dough starter

3. One gallon glass juice bottles: used to hold oils which are purchased in plastic containers. We use it for olive oil as well as grape seed oil

4. Small glass spice containers: Reuse when purchasing spices in bulk

5. Mason jars or bigger jars: storing grains, rice, beans, spices, raw honey, maple syrup, herbal loose tea

6. Glass milk quart jars: we used these very often as water bottles and also cold herbal teas. This may be more appropriate for older children and adults.

7. Pint Size containers: Storing sewing supplies such as buttons

8. Baby Food Jars: I’ve used those to store vegetable and fruit seeds, also storing homemade toothpaste

9. Tall containers: flower vase

10. Pint size jars: Storing homemade raw almond nut butter, homemade jams. (check out our recipe for both here)

11. Glass vitamin bottles:  we capsule many of our herbal supplements which we store in the bottles

(recycled glass vitamin bottles with our capsuled herbal supplements)

I know there are many more ways to reuse glass containers. If you have different ways which you and your family benefit from, please share. I would love to hear your ideas whether it’s for storage or otherwise. For example who has used glass containers as indoor gardens?

This post is also shared on:
Real Food Wednesday at Kelly Kitchen Kop
Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet


  1. Great tips on re-using! Thank you.
    Christie (luvncrafts.etsy.com)

  2. I love reusing my jars! Small jars work great for keeping baby food in!

  3. Your cooking herbs & spices will thank you for storing them in the brown glass vitamin jars, too. Herbs last best when protected from light.

  4. Thank you ladies, more great tips for storing, yeah!


  5. When we have pancakes, I make a bit of extra mix, and store it in the fridge in a glass jar, for the kids to be able to quickly make more pancakes.

  6. Thanks so much for the great tip Stephanie! this will help us as we are reintroducing major meal planning in our house.

    Thanks for sharing! ~ Carmen

  7. Ok, I know this is an older post, but I just found it today---I do save and reuse my jars. But I'm having an issue with some really wonderful large pickle jars. Unfortunately, they still smell like dill pickles. I'm afraid to store grains or beans in them because I don't want anything to come out tasting like/smelling like dill pickles.
    Have you ever encountered this problem? If so, what did you do about it?
    My email is heart2home (at) tampabay (dot) rr (dot) com. If anyone who reads this has a solution, I would love to know it.
    I was so excited to get these great big jars but until I can find a fix, they're sitting (unused) in my pantry.
    Thank you!

  8. Hello Michelle, great question! Have you tried washing them with water and baking soda? Baking soda is great at absorbing other smells. I would try to fill your jars with water and add a good amount, i'm thinking maybe 1/4 cup, of baking soda and make sure it dissolves well and let sit there for a while. Let me know if this works. Are these 1 gallon jars? If so, I could sure use some as well for sprouting my grains! I'll email you at your email address as well to make sure you get my response.

  9. Carmen,
    I tried the baking soda with water and it didn't help. But, I really felt that you had the right idea so I next tried baking soda with some vinegar--also didn't help. I finally just poured some baking soda into the jar and lid and let them set. First for a few days--the smell had greatly diminished, but I could still smell it. Finally I poured more dry baking soda into the jar and lid and let them sit for a week or so (I lost track of time, so I'm not sure exactly how many days). Success!
    So, I think the key is not being in a hurry and allowing the baking soda to completely absorb the odors.
    Thank you so much for the help--I hope someone else benefits too. :-)

  10. Thanks so much Michelle for letting me know the outcome of being able to rid the smell in your jars. When you mentioned leaving only baking soda in the jars, it reminded me of when people left baking soda boxes in the refridgerator to help absorb bad orders. I will remember this tip.


  11. Great tips! I've just found your blog and am enjoying reading up on your posts :-)

  12. Amy, so glad you've found some information you are finding useful! We are learning too.


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