Hi there!

I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.

While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Recycling glass jars for preserving

I gather glass jars from anyone and everyone...my neighbours all know to gather them for me....and I put a call out on freecycle when ever I need some and am running low..it's not uncommon for me to come home from somewhere, and find a bag of jars on the front step.

When I recycle empty glass jars....I do the following:

As I collect them, I sort them into boxes of 'labels on'  and  'labels off'.....
When I have a good supply or need to clean them for a day of preserving......I do the following......

The jars with labels need to be soaked to remove the labels, some will slide off easily....and I use the back of a knife to scrape the glue residue away from the jars.....occasionally I will get a jar that will leave the glue sticky and I will need something petroleum based to remove the sticky glue...I get about 3 or 4 a year like this.
Soaking recycled jars to remove the labels.

Once I have a supply of jars
they need to be cleaned, sanitised and stored until needed. 
I clean and sanitise all my jars in the dishwasher.
I am able to do far more this way than on the stove.
Ready to go, in the dishwasher.
All lids are stored separately.
Once they are dry, I store them by size or type in cardboard boxes.
Large Fowlers Vacola Jars..this box is to be sealed on all sides and edges with tape.
Then I seal all the sides of the box with wide tape due to cockroach problems. 
This way I know that I can take a box of jars from the garage and they are ready to use immediately. 

A lovely gentleman at the local club gathers glass coke bottles for me when I ask him to.
I use these for my Plum, Tomato and BBQ sauces.

Un-sterilised but sanitised.
All I need to do then is place them in a hot oven for 10 minutes to sterilise them....
I sterilise them on the day that I need them.
When I have a supply that are mixed sizes...
I clean and sanitise them amongst normal cycles with the dishwasher.

It is very handy to have this shelving close to the kitchen....I use clean glass jars for all sorts of things including storing foods just opened. Some are ideal sizes for canisters. Some are used to store my own dehydrated spices. The list is endless........

Now that I have all the lids gathered in one place,
I will boil them briefly, drain  and dry them,
then store in a sealed container.

I love that I am recycling them. I also find that I am getting jars back that have my label on them too....so they get recycled and reused MORE than once....and that's way cool.

Doing this is far cheaper than buying jars for your preserves....You just need to inspect the lids, and if any are scratched, dented or damaged; discard them and replace with new ones from the internet.

Do you recycle glass jars, 
or do you buy them new?
Maybe I have inspired you to
start saving your dollars 
by saving your jars.

If I have inspired you to start, 
let me know by leaving a comment
I love to hear from you.


  1. Yes I use recycled glass jars and bottles. I just wash them in hot soapy water in the sink, rinse well in hot water, then heat in oven until needed.

    I like to use pop top ones the most, just feels safer when they pop down lol.


  2. I reuse jars for dried goods but we use special canning jars for preserving foods in the U. S. Our commercial jars are made out of thinner glass which might not withstand the heat processing we put our preserves through.
    I buy the canning jars, but they are reusable. I also collect them from garage sales or thrift stores. A neighbor gave me a boatload recently as well:)

  3. I use glass peanut butter, honey & jam jars for dried goods like raisins, macaroni, lentils, nuts & rice. I have larger glass cannister jars too. I so dislike the plastic packaging everything seems to come in and try to get the goods out of that soon and into the glass jars and in my pantry. Maybe someday I'll replace my large plastic snaptop containers for flour, sugar etc with glass.

  4. I am recycling like crazy! Here is my biggest secret!!!..............ready?
    Recycling centers that recycle glass. They get a huge amount of canning jars. Empty store bought pasta jars, pickle jars. You name it I get it for free. I have over a thousand jars in my garage. I believe in having a large amount so that when free food comes or other food I can store it up. Also, I can share the jars if needed. I still pick them up even though my supply is huge. I figure someone can use it, so let me not allow it to be crushed.
    Hope you have a glass receptical there.

  5. We used to have access to the glass at the tip, and I would look through there too....I never knock back an offer of jars, not matter how little or large the amount....Melissa, it is uncanny how much alike we are....

    Linda, I am so jealous...a boatload...lucky you..lol

  6. Hi Nellymary - I try and recycle as many things as possible - if you click on http://ecofootprintsa.blogspot.com/search/label/recycling you'll see a few of the ways that I do so.

    Love all your clean glass jars, just waiting to be filled... But haven't you found that you need an extra cupboard just to store the jars - drives me crazy LOL

  7. thanks Dani, just checked out your blog....I love the large jars you get from the restaurants....will have to ask around...thanks for sharing your ideas.....I haven't looked back since I set up this shelving for my jars...it unclutters my kitchen cupboards slightly.

  8. What temperature do you put them in the oven at?

  9. Have you ever baked a cake in a non canning jar? I have read you can bake cakes in jars im just afraid the one that fits the.shape and size I need will ruin my oven. It isn't a mason jar and that is what they were saying they used.

  10. If I was to put them in the oven..I would just use the same temperature as for a cake...and leave them at that temperature for about half an hour then turn the oven off....allowing them to cool slightly before using them....

    I have never tried baking cakes in jars...although I believe too that it is done...even bread too...If you provide the link then I could check it out too....
    My oven would not be tall enough to bake a cake in a jar I don't think..unless I had a really wide mouthed jar.

  11. Sticky glue from labels? I just rub in some foodoil or butter/margarine, wait a few minutes and then use a nylonscrubber to get rid of it, no elbowgrease, just a few back and foremovements over the glue is enough.

  12. Thanks for the hint Anon....I will try food oil next time.

  13. Love your blog, might inspire me to do one! I've had the same problem you had with the preserved lemons, same type of jars - old Moccona coffee jars. I use them for storage because of the cool pop-top glass lids, used them for jam a couple of times but the lids keep popping up like your lemons.


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