Here’s a reader question from Brenda. She writes:
“I like using glass jars for pantry staples. What method do you use for cleaning and deodorizing the lids? I don’t really want my rolled oats tasting of dill pickles. Thanks for sharing all your ideas.”
First off, you’re welcome! I love sharing all of my ideas and thank you for reading.
My steps for cleaning and deodorizing are simple. First, I start by running the glass and lids through the dishwasher. (Make sure to remove the label, first.) Then, I do a smell test. With some relishes, curries and other spicy foods, the lids can be a real problem. The discoloration doesn’t bother me except if it’s rusty and then I don’t re-use it. Be sure and recycle if you can’t re-use your glass. I try to purchase our food items in glass only and not in plastic or cans.
Some labels are attached to the glass with so much glue, the glue will not go away. My method for removing most labels is to wet the jar, fill it with warm soapy water, and put the lid back on. Then, using a butter knife or glass scraper (pictured below), I scratch the label a little (to break the seal of the label) and put the entire glass jar into a soaking vessel. For me, that’s whatever bowl or pan is sitting in the sink. Add baking soda, vinegar, and warm soapy water to the soaking vessel.
Be very careful when using this glass scraper. I keep mine hidden in the kitchen because it’s excellent for getting the last bits of gluey-labels off glass jars.
For some reason, my husband and kids like to say, “Oh, this needs to soak” if they’re cleaning up the kitchen and there’s a big pot to tackle. This means I usually have something sitting in the sink which requires soaking so baking soda, vinegar, and warm soapy water seem to help whatever is still lurking in the pot and on the glass. I guess you could call that win-win.
I do purchase condiments and other jarred items with an end use in mind. I love Adams peanut butter because the mouths on their jars are really wide and are great to re-use. We also like the peanut butter, too. While wide mouth jars are the most desirable, I have found this handy plastic wide mouth funnel helps me almost daily.
Applesauce, pesto, and I used it today with the granola I made. I also keep small jars for spices and other uses. Using a label maker keeps my jars and containers looking like they match even though they don’t.
Presently, I have my eye on a very large pickle jar that’s glass and would make an excellent container for our oatmeal. The problem is there are too many pickles for our household to consume. My husband won’t commit to eating that many pickles prior to them going bad just so that I can have a pretty glass jar for my old-fashioned oats. I may have to plan a “Pickle Eating Party!”
Go Gingham related links:
National Match-Up Day is a new holiday I’m organizing – it’s when food storage containers drawers and cupboards get organized!
Grocery shopping from the bulk bins and food storage containers
Frugal grocery shopping – without coupons!
Fruit flies be gone – with lids from glass jars
Pantry basics for the home cook – what’s in my pantry
Refrigerator basics for the home cook – what’s in my refrigerator
New to cooking at home? Fear not!
7 thoughts on “Glass Jars”
With stuff like oatmeal, I’ll buy one canister of and then refill it over and over with oats I’ve bought from the bulk section. That way, the container is labelled for me, and if someone (my husband) who doesn’t know how to cook oatmeal comes along, the instructions are right there. This works better for grains that come in reusable(ish) containers than, say, dried beans. 🙂
Andrea, we have had that very problem with hot cereals. The Bob’s Red Mill bags seem to get destroyed when my “cooks” (read “kids”) open them and cook breakfast. (I’m not one to complain about that to my kids…I’d rather they make their own breakfasts than not!) Then, I pour the cereals in glass jars and sometimes I don’t include the directions. The next thing you know, we’ve got several jars with 10 grain cereal or something else in there! In the end, I toss them all into my granola recipe and bake it up! We also now all have the ratios down for cous-cous (1 to 1), quinoa (2 to 1), and brown rice (3 to 1) but I don’t think we should add anything else to that ratio mix, unless we can find a 4 to 1!! Thanks for the comment.
I had to laugh about the comment about Adams peanut butter. And I totally agree. We moved from the northwest and can’t get it any longer. I treasure the jars that I did accumulate while living up there. And you are right – they are perfect. Now, I buy yogurt in a glass quart jar almost as much for the jars as for the yogurt. And yes, for me, more frugal to buy it than make it.
I have also written to companies praising them for labels that are easier to get off. Although I do it, I don’t like working so hard to get the labels off.
Patricia! Yes, those peanut butter jars are the best! I had one crack in the freezer recently (I over filled it with black beans) and was more upset about the jar breaking than the mess to clean up. I’m impressed with the fact that you’ve written companies. Thank you for doing so. I think it’s important for companies to hear from consumers when things are going well and not well. PS I don’t make my yogurt either. Frugal is also being smart with your time. If that what works for you, do it! Thanks for the comment.
As a maker of yogurt, I feel that making it is also time-frugal. It takes 1 hour to “prep”, but only 15 minutes of that is active time (stirring/pouring). The remaining 8 hours (i.e. overnight) it is just incubating. I’ve been making it for many years, and now it’s second nature to me – I know the burner setting and time needed to reach temperature. I also make double-batches so it’s ~15 minutes every 2 weeks. Cost = $3 for 2 quarts of organic lowfat yogurt.
This is such a good question! Aside from the dishwasher (which some of us don’t have) there wasn’t a real answer. Mine, I soak in soapy water, and if that doesn’t work, then in bleach water, then baking soda, then out on the porch in sunshine, progressively. It seems to depend on what was in the jar to begin with. I agree on the labels, too. Most of my instructions for stuff like oatmeal I have taped on the inside of the cupboard doors. Keeps me straight on amounts, etc.
Thanks for all the hard work on the blog! I love reading it.
Kathleen, thanks for the reminder that not everyone has a dishwasher! I don’t have a microwave so I can appreciate giving alternative methods. I use the sunshine for many stain-removing methods – white clothing in particular. Thanks for the nice compliment, too, about my blog. I’m glad you’re enjoying it and thank you for reading!
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