The Wonderful Utility of Glass Jars

Well, it’s been a steep month since I last posted. I could list reasons, but the reality is that, after feeling a little overwhelmed, I took a leave of absence from certain social media sites. And that spilled over to minimal internet activity altogether, WordPress included. I could have announced my brief reprieve from blogging, but it wasn’t planned, more of a spur-of-the-moment, post-election, pre-holiday season sort of reclusiveness. At any rate, I’ve re-evaluated how I want to get along with the internet, and I’m quite pleased with my new routine: Instagram once or twice a day (there is such little opinion and bias in the accounts I follow, which simplifies the purpose so much for me), Pinterest a few times a week when looking for ways to be productive or crafty, and WordPress.

Likewise, I found myself engrossed in a wonderful book that I simply cannot recommend to enough people–The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine for my readers looking for a cozy winter mystery set in the Scottish Highlands–and began to reconsider yet again what I was doing with my life. I haven’t done a full life audit yet, and I’m hesitant to do so until the holiday season has passed, as things seem to settle much more simply in late winter. Nonetheless, my partner and I have restructured a few activities and habits to aim for our simplest goals, milestones like a regular cleaning routine that we both do well and ensuring we do more activities together throughout the week that don’t revolve around the television. It’s funny how life flows and ebbs in ways we least expect and how I always feel like I’ve ended up where I am supposed to be for the next step, whatever that happens to be.

In the meantime, I want to chat about glass jars. Seriously, they are one of the simplest kitchen tools, and I wonder what ever made us push these aside for plastic containers. When I started looking at our containers, I was a bit frustrated by the downfalls of plastic. The chemicals and industrial issues aside, which for many, myself included, is enough, I have always been irritated at how they stain, how they hold smells, how soap residue sticks to the corners. My partner thinks I sometimes imagine the soapy taste when I eat out of them, but, psychological or not, more plastic is coming out of the dishwasher with white soap in the creases that before.

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We’ve started considering alternatives to plastic containers. Our first go was a set of metal mixing bowls that turned out to really be a set of six metal containers too small for mixing with plastic lids. I love them because of their size–some are perfect for taking snacks and nut mixes on the go–but they can’t be heated in the microwave, requiring another plate for heating up lunch. The plastic lids also introduce the chemicals from plastic containers and are thin enough that they warp slightly in the dishwasher. They work best for lunches and larger meals that we need to take with us, so I’ve been looking for other containers to take my lunches and snacks to work.

When I started working on homemade gifts for Christmas, I decided to try my hand at canning, which had us bring home around 24 half-pint glass jars. I ended up canning less than planned, so I had a lot of small jars leftover. In a rush to get out the door one morning, I grabbed the closest container to toss in a granola and nut mix for the day and discovered how versatile a half-pint glass jar is as a non-canning, to-go container. The half-pint size fits perfectly in my cup holder in my car for convenient breakfasting during my commute, and the glass holds up well in my backpack. Add in that the seal is meant to seal very well for canning, and I’ve got the perfect container to keep snacks fresh for days without plastic.

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I’m a little obsessed with jars at the moment, starting to store as much as I can in them, even cleaning out and removing labels from sauce and jelly jars to reuse when possible. This became a part of my zero waste Christmas efforts as well by leading me to put any homemade edible gifts in the same half-pint jars. With the homemade tags from card stock, these gifts will be partially consumable, reusable, and recyclable so that no waste is created in the end.

It’s a simple change but one that I’m loving–and my partner is liking it, too, helping me discover ways we can use or reuse jars to have fewer plastic containers. It’s interesting how altering a small habit can make you reconsider many aspects of your life such as using glass jars for canning to rethinking Christmas packaging and how to store food without plastic. It makes me wonder what small changes are still to come!

Do you have any small changes that have altered how you view a different habit?

 

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