My Kitchen Obsession – 20 Ways to Reuse Glass Jars

I have obsessions in my kitchen – cast iron anything…really good knives….beautiful ceramic dishes.  I have plenty of each, more than I need to actually have a function kitchen.

I also obsess over glass jars.

It’s my mothers fault. She saved glass jars (and card board boxes, “Just in case we need it”) in addition to using her mason jars.  Some glass pieces are just so pretty!  And some are so practical. Mom made salad dressing in a small jar she saved from pickles or jam, and kept it in the cupboard.  Salad meant shaking that jar with the oil and vinegar and spices.

I find myself looking at food in beautiful glass thinking to myself “After we eat the food inside, what can I use the jar for?”.    Or I buy a product just for the jar.  Yes, I confess that I have done that.

20 + ways to reuse glass jars

So when the the jelly jars, baby food jars, olives, pickles and spices jars, vinegar and oil containers all start to accumulate:

  • small tall jars (like for capers) can turn into a bud vase
  • as storage containers – beans and rice and flour or sugar can be stored in anything
  • Gift jars for cookie mixes
  • Spices
  • holding screws and nuts, etc in the workshop (my dad had jars lids screwed to a board, and the jars were full of small bits of hardware. I remember going through them many a time looking for something needed)
  • holding office supplies – paperclips, rubber bands and the like
  • Oil and vinegar dispensers – just add an inexpensive pour spout
  • Storing candy once the plastic bag is ripped open
  • sand paintings
  • sprouting plant cuttings
  • candles –  using craft paraffin melted to turn and empty jar into a candle
  • hand cream or soap dispensers, just add a pump
  • Lunch – a salad to go in a large jar
  • Sewing kits – needles and thread inside, and make a pin cushion on the top for pins
  • storing buttons
  • holding cutlery on the picnic table
  • Store seeds for the garden next year
  • as a terrarium
  • Leftovers in the fridge
  • Freezing stocks or soups
  • and the  2 bonus ideas – for shaking up salad dressing! Or make a small first aid kit for the car with band aids, antiseptic, and first aid / antibiotic ointment.

Dress them up

And no need to leave them as plain jars. Remove the labeling by soaking in hot water, using Goo Gone or a similar product, or even peanut butter or oil.

Paint them, inside or out (do not paint inside when using for food storage).

Wrap with twine or yarn.

Add chalk labels on the side or lid top

Get an etching kit and make a beautiful design

Use a label maker for identification of what’s inside


Regular glass jars are not as thick, so do not use them for canning, even if the screw top lids fit.  They can crack and breaking a hot water bathe, and worst case they can explode in a canner .

You can freeze goods in them, just leave enough room for expansion of any liquid ingredient.  I often store whole nuts in glass in the freezer.

What uses have you come up with, when you just can’t part with a container?

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