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Simple kitchen hack using glass jars

Updated on June 10, 2015
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Simple kitchen tip - fast and free

Below you'll find an image of an item that is so very important in my kitchen. It saves me time - and money too - plus makes several cooking tasks so much easier

But it gets even better. It doesn't cost a penny and takes about a minute, if that, to make.

I use it just about every time I make dinner; when I'm working with dough or pastry, when I'm making delicious salads, when I'm rinsing ingredients ... and I imagine that you'll be able to think of other uses too. (Do let me know in the comments section below - I'd love to hear from you).

It comes in really handy on the rare occasions that I make fruit pies and other desserts, it's essential when I make pizza and I use it for spices too. You can use just one of these (I have two) or make several, customising them to your own style of cooking and your requirements.

What is this wonderful item? See below.

All images © BritFlorida

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Simple, effective kitchen hack

That's a bit disappointing, isn't it? I imagine you were expecting to see something really clever. But wait - this really is so very useful. As you can see in the image above, I use recycled jars to store dry goods.

(Notice that I store them on their sides in the pantry. That has two advantages. The first is that I can fit more of them on the shelf - nothing gets hidden at the back. Secondly, I can quickly see what's running out.)

For some items, I use the same size of jar from the same product (Patak's curry sauce). That's because then, the lids are interchangeable. So? Well, in the photo at the top of the page you'll see I have a jar of flour.

When I want to sprinkle flour onto a pastry board or a cookie sheet, I simply remove the lid from the jar and replace it with the lid I have in the drawer - the one you see above with holes I made using a kitchen skewer and a hammer.

Now I have a flour sprinkler but there's so much more.

Many other uses for your recycled jars & special lid

  • I keep salad dressings (in the fridge) in these recycled jars; homemade vinaigrette for example. I also decant bought dressings into them. By using my special lid, I can shake the dressing onto the salad - I use less and it's distributed more evenly.
  • Sugar - both regular and confectioners - also live in these jars. That makes it easy to sprinkle sugar evenly on pies, fresh fruit or on breakfast cereal or oatmeal. I'm convinced that we use less this way.
  • Cocoa can be sprinkled easily onto chocolate cakes (or ice cream - delicious) and if you use those commercial sprinkles on cakes and desserts this system would be ideal.
  • I don't know about you but the sprinkle section of a box of paprika always gets clogged for me. Plus, I tend to break my fingernails opening the awkward little blighter. Now I decant paprika into a jar.
  • I make my own spice mix (powdered cumin, coriander,pepper, etc.) and by keeping it in a jar it's easy to sprinkle onto plain vegetables - potatoes, carrots, for example - before roasting them.
  • I like to rinse rice before cooking to remove the starchy powdery stuff. I put it in the jar, fill it with water, shake it around then shake out the water. Then I put the jar on the drainer - standing on it's lid - for five minutes whilst I get on with other things (like opening a bottle of wine).
  • French toast plus powdered sugar - need I say more?

Some other great uses for jars in your kitchen

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  1. When I'm cooking, I have either one or two clean, empty jars on the work surface right by the chopping board. (The number depends on the kind of dish I'm making). Any offcuts of vegetables, peelings and so on go into one jar. When I've done, I add a lid and keep the bits for the next time I'm making vegetable stock. I put things to throw away in the other - then at the end of cooking, I just empty the contents into the trash.
  2. I'm determined to cut down on our paper towel usage. (See the links below). So when a piece has been only lightly used,I put it in a jar I keep on the counter. Even though they have been slightly used, they are still fine to wipe up spills, clean the fridge door, wipe the cabinet fronts or the kitchen floor.
  3. Photograph number three was taken when I was making my berry pudding recipe which calls for the crusts to be removed from slices of bread. As I removed them, I put the crusts in a jar so they could be stored in the fridge - perfect for using in my Boston Bake recipe. (Yep, link below).
  4. Number four shows three other uses for jars in my fridge. On the left, is the flesh, juice and skin from half a large mango.I used the other half in a salad so stored the rest. In the middle is a bunch of cilantro. There's about half an inch of water in the bottom of the jar.Every herb I've tried this way keep well. Sometimes I store spring onions in the same way. Finally, because we have curry so often, which invariably contain garlic and ginger, I keep the two together in a single jar. This saves small garlic cloves getting lost in the fridge.
  5. The last photograph shows my 'refrigerator hack'. Instead of the rigid plastic front to the door shelf, I used a piece of flexible, plastic-coated wood from Home Depot. Because I cut it slightly longer than the shelf, it form an arc which means that the jars fit perfectly even though the shelves themselves are narrow.

Recommended

Ball Jar Heritage Collection Pint Jars with Lids and Bands, Blue, Set of 6
Ball Jar Heritage Collection Pint Jars with Lids and Bands, Blue, Set of 6

Without doubt, mason jars are the best in design and flexibility of use. Originally intended for canning, these are fine when heated or used in the freezer -plus they are wonderfully attractive as decor items. If you're not a jar hoarder like me, these are lovely.

 
Chalky Talky Variety Mason Chalkboard Labels, 48 Reusable Labels For Jars - Erasable & Waterproof
Chalky Talky Variety Mason Chalkboard Labels, 48 Reusable Labels For Jars - Erasable & Waterproof

Whatever type of jar you use, these chalkboard labels are simply lovely.

You can re-use them over and over again and have a great French look that's so stylish.

 

Do you have further ideas for repurposing jars?

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    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @RoadMonkey - thanks so much. I do like to save money whenever possible :)

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 

      3 years ago

      What great ideas. I keep lots of jars but never thought of these uses before!

    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 

      3 years ago from Covington, LA

      Great ideas. I need to work on getting some shelves in my pantry wide enough to stack the jars.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      Thanks so much for the vote up, Carb Diva!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      3 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Absolutely genius! Thank you for sharing. Voted up.

    • amandamarie31 profile image

      amandamarie31 

      3 years ago

      I love jars I use them for storing things in, jars for my paint brushes. canning, I use them for everything.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 

      3 years ago from Topeka, KS

      I love jars! It's so difficult for me to get rid of one as I know there are tons of uses. Love your idea of putting some veggies in a jar with a small bit of water. Great tips! :)

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 

      3 years ago

      Nice idea but I' a clutz and can't keep glass jars to save my soul. I'm sure glad it's working for others though.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 

      3 years ago from Shanghai, China

      I keep crickets as pets for a short time each fall in jars. Makes a lovely fall sound in the city.

    • WedgeAntilles profile image

      Wedge Antilles 

      3 years ago from Mount Vernon, WA

      I hate using plastic glasses to drink out as they tend to pick-up odors if the have had something in them - no matter how well they are washed either by hand or in the dishwasher; therefore, we tend to reuse glass jars as drinking glasses - we save the lids just in case we want to reuse a jar for something other than drinking from. And since they come all sorts of shapes and sizes, they can be used for anything from water glasses to wine glasses to beer steins to cocktail/highball glasses and more. We like to use Pace Picante/Salsa jars as wine glasses because of their shape - sort of an hour-glass shape: we use small jars as punch glasses and so forth. Like you, I use them with their lids that I have punched holes in to sprinkle powdered sugar, regular granular sugar, light and dark brown sugars: I also store colored sugars and other baking decorating things and to store my own spice blends like my taco seasoning and other various combinations for different kinds of meat and meats rubs. use them to make 'Gifts From...' and put all of the ingredients needed to make things like home-made brownies, cakes, cookies, etc. Also, for home-made bath salts and so on. There are just so many uses for them and with just a bit of imagination, people can come up with their own uses.

    • starbeautii profile image

      starbeautii 

      3 years ago

      nice

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      3 years ago

      You are clever and smart - excellent use of jars.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 

      3 years ago from Concord VA

      I love these ideas! Storing the jars on the sides is good thinking, but my favorite is putting the holes in one lid and using it for whatever you need it for. Excellent! :)

    • SilverLotus1 profile image

      SilverLotus1 

      3 years ago

      Great ideas! When I make a big batch of kimchi, I break it down into smaller sized jars, great for giving others and easier to store in the fridge.

    • MarathonRunning profile image

      Martina 

      3 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      I reuse jars until they crack. I use them for canning, to store little things like buttons or pins, to store dry food and food leftovers that have to be kept in the fridge and even for some crafty, DIY things for the kitchen like vases.

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 

      3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      How very creative, I never gave this a thought, I do keep glass jars for preserving my hot peppers and eggplant. Never thought of dry goods. Thanks as Always :)

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 

      3 years ago from San Francisco

      These are all terrific suggestions. I think I could save room in my freezer by replacing the quart bowl I use to capture vegetable trimmings with the small jars as you suggest. You can also use jars to grow alfalfa, bean and veggie sprouts from seed. If you're handy, you can cut a wire mesh to insert into a canning jar ring, and use that in place of a lid. Then when you need to rinse the sprouts, it's super easy. The mesh also permits air flow. You can also buy the mesh circles, pre-cut in almost any kitchen supply store.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Great ideas here, Britflorida! I haven't saved mine, but will have to start.

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 

      3 years ago from UK

      We have always collected jars of all sizes, Mostly for jams, pickles and chutneys including things like crab-apple jelly. Whenever we finish anything in a jar, the question arises, "Are we saving this or have we got enough for now."

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I like to use jars for storing small amounts of leftover tomato-based dishes/sauces since the sauce doesn't stain glass. Love your suggestions, too!

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