Reusing Glass Jars

reusing Jars

So you’ve used up all your strawberry jam; and that curry paste went down a treat for dinner the other night….after we have enjoyed the food contents most of us chuck out those glass containers, but why waste? Don’t be so quick to dispose of those little glass beauties… We have a handy tip to repurpose them, turning them from single use to pantry or cupboard essentials.


You open the kitchen cupboard looking for a food ingredient but instead you are hit with a flurry of colour; The multicoloured packaging that prompted you to buy from the supermarket, now makes it harder to navigate within the depts of your cupboard.

Chances are you’ve used a bit of sticky tape or elastic bands to keep the rice bags from spilling all over the place… and I’m sure we’re all victim of the old self raising flour spill when we unfurl the paper bags, right?

If only there was an easier way to spot the food ingredients you need faster. Well there is….


Because they are… well glass.. they are see-through, clear, shiny and lovely… you can see the contents so clearly, so they are ideal for storing food items; Wet or dry.

Glass is fairly robust, easy to clean and most importantly, its non-porous which means food stored inside will not leak out over time (like the blasted flour bag) and will be preserved longer. The non-porous quality of glass also means food smells will not transfer into the glass, unlike some poor quality plastic containers you buy from euro stores. As long as you take a bit of time cleaning and sterilising the jars, using glass to store food is super safe!


At home in our kitchen, we wanted to have the ease of looking into the cupboard and seeing the food items through glass jars rather than the outer packaging. So we set to work.

Over the past 2/3 weeks, instead of throwing them away (making them single use containers) any glass jars we used, we stored. The pickle jars, jam jars, jalapeño jars, olive jars, big ones, small ones, thin ones and tall ones. No glass jar became a victim people!

Once we had a reasonable collection of jars, it was time to give them all good clean and sterilising. Below we go through the steps we made to turn the jars into pantry nirvana, enjoy…


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3.
  2. Remove any labels attached to the jars.
  3. Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water. scrubbing away remaining label paper and glue particles.
    (this may take a couple of washes and some good old fashioned elbow grease. A good tip is to leave the jars submerged in hot soapy water for a good half an hour or so. It makes it so much easier to remove the labels)
  4. Rinse the jars in hot water and pop them on the draining board, but don’t dry them.
  5. Place all of the jars and lids onto a baking tray and pop into the oven for 10 minutes.
  6. Soak the lids in boiling water for a few minutes.

When we completed the task sterilising our glass jars, we wanted to give them a bit of pizazz. So with a paintbrush, some chalkboard paint and a good music playlist, Liam sat and painted the tops of the lids and left to dry to a black matte finish.


Now our jars where ready for use and even though they were all different sizes and shapes, the black matte tops really brought them together.

From our cupboard, we opened up the packaging of pine nuts, walnuts, sugars, stock cubs etc and placed them into their own glass jar container. Because Liam had painted the lids with chalkboard paint, this allowed him to write the food name and the expiry date of the food on the lid with a chalk pen.

It feels so good repurpose some single use containers and they look better in the cupboard than half bags of what ever!! We are really happy with how the inside of our cupboard is looking now. Try it out for yourself.


Glass jars can be used for so many other purposes as well. Here are a few more ideas.

  1. Lunch containers.
  2. Simple vases around the house.
  3. Tea light candle holders.
  4. Small plant pots.
  5. Pencil / crayon holders.
  6. Cool drinks glass.