Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Glass Food Storage

I thought of this topic because I've been on a bit of a decluttering rampage.  This past week I finally ridded myself once and for all of the plastic containers that had been just taking up space in my kitchen cupboards for who knows how long since I stopped using them.  It was crazy how many I had squirreled away in there.
Cut up fruit for my lunch bag.
Sometime last year my sister, Sarah, told me that I'd "be proud of her" because she had started reusing old glass food containers as tupperware.  I believe this was part of a conversation on the dangers of reusing single-use containers like butter tubs and water bottles.  Well, I certainly was proud of her for making that decision because I have to admit it never crossed my mind before she said it.  I had a great set of pyrex storage containers, but it was never quite enough for our needs so we were still using butter tubs for things that weren't warm, such as 1/2 an onion we didn't use with dinner. But glass jars!  Aha!  A light bulb went on in my head as she said it.  We always seem to have at least a couple extra canning jars not being used for that purpose.  Depending on the season I might have a whole load of them!
Leftovers.

So, she should be proud of herself as I consider it one of the best and simplest tips I've gotten.  From fresh food storage to leftover storage it is a genius idea in my humble opinion.  Wide mouth jars are probably the easiest for eating out of and reaching in to, but I have no problem with the standard mouths either.
Partial peppers not completely used up in dinner prep.
I am on many lifelong quests for what I consider personal advancement, reducing the ubiquitousness of plastic in my life being just one of them.  Now, I think that plastic may have valid applications in this world, but we are overusing it and undervaluing it.  We are using it in the wrong (and frequently silly) purposes.  We are not properly valuing all the resources involved when we use disposable plastic products.  So, glass jars to the rescue.  And to think...I was considering buying more glass storage containers when I had so many all along!  I love it when the solution to my problem is something I already have.

9 comments:

  1. Congrats on eliminating one more plastic.

    After reading No Impact Man last year, I really began to concentrate on eliminating plastics from my life. It has been a slow process. I was able to eliminate one more plastic thing by changing my shampooing routine. You can Google "No-Poo" for ideas of how to go about this, if you are interested.

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  2. I have always used glass canning jars or glass food jars from the store for leftovers. I have 2-, 4-, 8-, 12-, and 16-, 32-, and 64- oz (half gallon) canning/freezing jars/jelly from Ball, some are Kerr. If you use wide-mouth (straight-side) canning jars of any size, you can freeze in them, too. I do, all the time.Just never use the canning jars with shoulders. The exception to this is that I have pecans in regular-mouth canning jars in the freezer. If it were something liquid packed for the freezer in regular-mouth jars, the expansion would crack the jars.

    I do use Tupperware since I deem it safe. Other brands of plastic? I have no confidence in them, just the Tupperware brand. But, the only time I use a butter or yogurt container is when I am sending food home with someone. My Tupperware or Ball jars don't/won't leave the house.

    Half-gallon canning jars are used for storing beans, rice, flour, sugar, etc.since I don't want bugs/pests to get into things. A used flat/lid with a ring can be used for storage jars. Actually, I use all sizes for shelf storage.

    It's good you are starting this storage method.

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  3. Cristy- That book is one of the most powerful I have read. It was a real eye-opener. I thought I was doing pretty good about low-impact lifestyle until I read this book and realized that slow and steady I still had a lot of work to do.

    While my shampoo (Dr. Bonner's baby soap) is still in a plastic container it is one I refill at the co-op so it is no waste. My conditioner is an apple cider rinse I make in a quart canning jar. I've read quite a bit about ways to make your shampooing more ecofriendly, but everyone has their own idea. I'd be curious to know more about your personal routine though if you are willing to share.

    Parsimony - I was sort of shocked that I didn't think of it long ago. And I didn't even know they made Ball jars in a 64 oz size! I will have to keep an eye out for those. I actually thought that it would be a great use for the old flat lids that Matt doesn't feel comfortable reusing for canning. Thanks for sharing all your helpful tidbits!

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  4. We are only just starting to make the transition to glass storage - I do have a cupboard full of tupperware and it seems wasteful to get rid of them:)

    I am thinking about the no-shampoo thing too. We just buy generic store brand at the moment, but I keep meaning to research it more before buying the next bottle comes due:)

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  5. Sure, I am willing to share. I did a lot of research about it, and ended up confused and overwhelmed. Then I "spoke" with some mamas on a green forum. They told me what they do. I thought about it. And eventually I tried it. It's pretty simple, actually.

    I use a small palmful of dry baking soda. I let that get slightly wet and scrub it into my hair. Then, I rinse that out. Then I get apple cider vinegar, mixed with water, in a cup I keep in my bathroom. (About 2 Tablespoons of vinegar to a cup or cup and a half of water). Then I pour that all over the top of my head, and make sure to cover all the hair. And rinse it out. The vinegar burns my eyes a little.

    It took a little tweaking to get my hair to agree to this routine. Once I found the right amounts of each item, and used the vinegar every time, my hair looks the same as it did when I used store bought shampoo.

    There are all sorts of other environmental reasons to use this combo, but the only reason I do it is to use less plastic.

    It works for me.

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  6. I've never gotten it in my eyes, but I got vinegar in my mouth last night in the shower....that was tasty...no, not really, it was shockingly sour!

    Thanks Cristy for sharing what works for you. I've done some reading on soda shampooing and I think now that I've heard your description I will try it out for myself. Soda is certainly cheaper than Dr. Bonner's and I can get it in bulk at the co-op as well.

    Homemaker - Yes, that is EXACTLY why I had all my plastic containers stashed in the back of the cupboard for so long! : ) It seemed wasteful to just give them away. It seemed like I might still have some use for them somewhere. But, in the end I just wanted the cupboard space. But, mine was not really tupperware brand which made it easier. Actually, now that I say that, we had two pieces of true tupperware and I think I kept both of them.

    As to shampoo, I did some research on Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) found in most common shampoos and was alarmed at what I read. That motivated me to find a different method. I realized I was pretty cautious about what I put into my body foodwise, but should take a closer look at what I rubbed all over my skin, our largest organ.

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  7. The 64 ounce Ball jars are half gallon that is only for canning pickles. But, they make great canisters for storing five gallons of sugar, just different things. I will store extra sugar in quarts even though that is more trouble. You can use all the used flats/lids for storage. I never throw them away.

    I have a gallon commercial, glass far on the counter. Into that I throw all lids or rings and spaghetti jar or pb lids. When I have jar and lid washed, I put lids on the jars, so the jar on the counter holds things that are in limbo, AND I can see what is in there in order not to yank it all out, looking for the right lid or flat.

    Matt is right not to reuse flats. The British do.

    The harvest so far looks great!

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  8. BLD, I forgot to say in my previous comment that I put the baking soda on with my hair wet. I think that might be important.

    I would love for you to do a blog post about the way No Impact Man changed your life. I would definitely chime in with a comment. I would post a blog about it on my blog, but my blog is not about living lightly on the earth, and I don't think it would fit with my online theme. If you do one, maybe I could link back to your post.

    For me, No Impact Man changed many things in my life. I actually wasn't reading the book because I wanted to be or felt like " a guilty liberal." I thought, honestly, that I could glean things about saving money for my family. I ended up learning about ways to save planet earth, and not all of those ways were cheaper.

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  9. Hmmmm.... I will have to give that some thought. It would be an interesting post I am sure. It was such a swell book.

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!