Simplified 365: The Kitchen - Bonus 1: Glass Jar Storage & Bulk Buying

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Many people are moving away from plastic and back to our grandmother’s trusted storage containers.  Glass jars.  The Ball Jar uprising is in full effect.  Why, do you ask?  Well, besides the BPA that is currently banned, plastics can contain phthalates and who knows what else.  Unfortunately, the stance seems to be “use the materials in manufacturing first; see what ill effects they have later”  rather than “let’s make sure this is safe and then use it”. Thanks, FDA.  I’m pretty sure we didn’t sign up to be your guinea pigs. 

So glass jars.  

I personally use a mix of Ball jars and Anchor square jars, along with a metal canning funnel.  Trust me on the funnel, it keeps you from swearing as you dump rice all over the floor. 

Step one is to figure out how many jars you will need.  A basic list is as follows

  • Flour - 1
  • Sugar - 1
  • Brown Sugar - 1
  • Beans - 2
  • Rice - 2
  • Pasta - 2
  • Dried Fruit - 2
  • Coffee - 1
  • Tea - 2

Ball jars (or any manner of clear glass food storage container) are worth the initial hassle and cost to set up.  They allow you to see the items you use more easily - no limp plastic bags falling over and behind one another.  They also look gorgeous sitting on your shelves and give your food room to breath.  Rather than squishing as many bags of food together as possible, the jars give them space.  “The music happens in the space between the notes”. 

Now that you have your food decanted into attractive glass jars, you may want to take it a step further.  

Let’s talk about bulk, baby.  

Even Safeway has started carrying bulk, along with Whole Foods, Mollie Stone, WinCo and local independent markets.  There is an a page on the Zero Waste Home website that shows you where bulk items are located near you.  

Why bulk?  The obvious is less packaging waste, but I find the cost savings to be worthwhile, as well as the quality of the food.  On top of that, I only purchase what I need which lowers the cost even more.  Why pay for 1 lb of black eyed-peas when your recipe only calls for 1/4 lb.  This also lowers the food waste as items I don’t need aren’t sitting around my cupboard going to waste. 

It may sound intimidating, but going bulk is as easy as a few clicks on Amazon.  Yes, I realize that Amazon produces waste due to their packaging.  While certainly a worthy goal, we aren’t going for Zero Waste, just easy changes every busy person can make. 

To get started, consider purchasing:

  • Ball Jars or other glass jars - Anchor has a lovely square set with screw on lid, French canning jars are also great, even old mayo jars or peanut butter jars will work.  You can find pretty, solid jar tops on Amazon.
  • Canning Funnel - this helps the food actually go in the jar, not on your counters and floors
  • Reusable Produce Bags - why use plastic when there are easy to wash, cloth mesh alternatives?
  • Reusable Zippered Bags - these are great for flour, sugar, rice, beans, anything really

Well, there you go.  You should be well on your way to a Pinterest worthy kitchen.