Sunday, May 10, 2009

Eco Chic with Glass Jars

It really drives Jim crazy that I collect odd things in the garage like these glass jars. I just find them so beautiful and useful. I probably have four dozen of these glass jars, of all sizes that I have been storing in the garage for years and Jim finally said, you should either do something with them or throw them out.

Okay, so I did a couple things. Everyone wants to be green these days, what better way to reuse and recycle than to re-purpose these glass jars? One great use for these jars are to place little tea lights in them and use them as homemade lanterns on your back porch. Or use metal wiring to tie around the neck, make a long loop at the top and hang on fence posts with little tea lights in them. Use these quirky lanterns to line the walkway to your front door on evenings you are having guests over. I've even filled the jars with about two inches of sand first, for stability, and then dropped a candle inside. So cute.

My pantry was getting so messy with all those thin, floppy plastic bags and I would forget what I had, and lose things underneath other bags. So I took a few of my favorite jars, the On The Border salsa jars. I was buying this salsa like crazy until I found a copy cat recipe online! Seriously this hot salsa is good. I used goo gone to try and remove the labels. Part of my problem is that I've washed these jars in the dishwasher - with the labels on - so they are like cooked onto the jars. Grrr...

Goo gone worked pretty well, but it was a lot of elbow grease and the sticky stuff would just NOT come off. So I then soaked all the jars in the sink overnight with some sudsy water.
Ah! finally, clean jars!!!

I took all the lids and spray painted them black. I think if you had a red kitchen then you should use red paint to color coordinate with your kitchen colors. My kitchen has natural wood cabinets, green walls and black appliances so I am decorating in black and white.

Now that the jars are rid of the sticky residue, I ran them through the dishwasher one more time, then started filling each one with the grains and pastas I had in little baggies crammed in my pantry.

Now I can easily scan my pantry shelf and see what I have. By the way, in this picture I'm showcasing some Carnaroli rice, which is short-grained and gives off starch as it cooks, perfect for risotto since it makes a really creamy texture. Most people use Arborio but I truly love Carnaroli.

Here is my finished pantry. There were a couple of jars I needed to label, most of these are obvious but I needed to label bread crumbs and panko crumbs. I simply used a sharpie and wrote right on the glass. I could probably use (haven't tried it yet) finger nail polish remover to whip it clean when I need to refill and relabel.

Reuse glass jars for making salad dressing and storing items instead of plastic tupperware. Glass does not absorb odor like plastic does. Transporting sauce, dressing and other goodies to friends houses. You could even leave the jar behind as the hostess gift and they can reuse/recycle. Spread the love! Pour used grease in one instead of pouring down your disposall - big no no.

Now, jump ahead and see my new labeling system!

Do you save glass jars? What do you use them for?


  1. I love your re-purposing of these jars. With a born & raised Texan husband, he has 1/2 of a cabinet dedicated to these empty jars (also, label free and ran through the dishwasher) He uses them only for Iced Sweet Tea. His Drinking Glasses...

  2. Cool idea Mandy I have a red kitchen so these would be perfect.

  3. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing, I'll definitely be doing this!

  4. Love it! Will steal it! (The idea, that is) :)

  5. Yes, I do this, too (and I also have a love for the On The Border salsa!), but I don't have as many as you. You've inspired me to get collecting!

    I use mine mainly for sprinkles :) and also for vases.

  6. I love this -- so simple and yet so perfect. I may have to start annoying my husband by collecting random things now... :)

  7. I love the idea of spray painting the lids, makes for a cohesive look.

  8. Mason jars are perfect for home made pickles. I've stored rice, pasta, granola, yeast, and raisins in reused jars. Hubby steels them for his coin collections too!


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