When you need to pickle some vegetables or to store something, what kind of containers instantly come to your mind, mason jars aren’t they. I love mason jars too, and I used to buy many of them to use for pickled vegetables and fruit jam. However, I gradually realized that other than mason jars, there is also another option that I have never paid attention to, pasta sauce jars. This comes first in my mind because I often buy pasta sauce from Target or Walmart. Other than pasta sauce jars, there are many other types of jars or even bottles that you can reuse.
Mason jars are lovely and handy, but they are not cheap. If you keep buying new mason jars, they will cost you a lot of money. To avoid wasting money on mason jars, I just simply stopped buying new ones and reused jars that were food containers I bought from grocery stores. When I shop at grocery stores, I always make sure that I choose glass containers over plastic containers. Plastic containers are less useful when I want to reuse them, and they are harmful to the environment. If you want to reuse pasta sauce jars, when you shop, look for those with a wider mouth so it will be easier to wash and reuse later. After you take all the sauce out of the jar, rinse the inside with water and let the empty jar sit in a bowl of warm water for some time. For some reasons, the food manufacturers love to use very sticky glue to glue the label onto the jar. I guess that glue was meant to be that sticky so they label cannot fall off easily. In most cases, the glue will become easier to remove after your jar sits for some time in warm water. For those labels that are too stubborn, try putting some OxiClean in that warm water when you let your jar soaks. Once you got the label off and cleaned your jar from the inside out, just let it dry and make a new use for it. I often use write-on tape or freezer tape to label my jars. Since I love pickled vegetables, I always pick them in used sauce jars.
Other than sauce jars, I also reuse salad dressing bottles and syrup bottles. For salad dressing bottles, I often reuse them to store my homemade sauces and salad dressings. They work perfectly since they are quite easy to clean. Since bottles are often narrower than jars, you may need to buy a brush to clean your bottles. If you store oily sauces and salad dressings, use warm soapy water to clean your bottles. The grease will come off very quickly. For syrup bottles, I often keep them to store sauces or cocktail mixes. I love dipping sauce, so I always make a few different dipping sauces in advance. Syrup bottles are perfect for this purpose. They always come with a screw cap so you do not have to worry about spilling your sauce. The last type of container I love to reuse is baby food jars. Those tiny lovely jars are perfect for yogurt. I often ask my family members, friends, and coworkers who have a baby to keep the food jars for me. When I make yogurt, I can put in these jars.
Do not throw jars away. You can reuse them, and they will save you a lot of money.