Ditch The Plastic! Using Glass In The Refrigerator

by Tammy Taylor

As I was getting items out of my fridge recently I smiled looking at all the glass jars typically stored in my refrigerator. (Have I mentioned how much I hate plastic?? LOL)  Oh yes indeed, I used to have that same tumbling stack of plasticware that many of us are burdened with, all shoved in the cabinet with all their mismatched lids.  Of course I already knew not to attempt to use any of that plastic when heating food in the microwave since I’ve read toxins leach out of the plastic when heated, but those plastic storage bowls still stained horribly after years of use.  The unsightly stained plastic and missing lids meant a constant culling and repurchasing of plastic bowls and lids as the years went by which was not only an ongoing expense but it also made for more & more mismatched sets every year.  Then one day I cried “ENOUGH!”  I started using a sturdy and stain-free material that I already had – GLASS!  Switching to storing my food in the fridge in glass containers has been a game-changer for me, especially with regard to the reduction of food waste since I can always SEE the food without even opening the container!

Ditch the Plastic! Glass jars are easy to repurpose and being able to see the food in your fridge may slow down your food waste as well #TaylorMadeHomestead

 

Restaurant Leftovers, Anyone?

I couldn’t label everything in this picture obviously but the first thing I see is the glass dish I take with me when we go to a restaurant.   The environmental side of me has always HATED that awful Styrofoam box they force on you when you take home the uneaten portion of a restaurant meal.  And if the contents are the least bit heavy the container gives enough to pop the lid open, plus those dang things are so bulky to store in the fridge (not to mention Styrofoam can be an environmental nightmare!)

So several years ago I purchased an inexpensive small glass bake-ware pan with a snap-on lid.  I just wash the dish and allow it to thoroughly dry, then snap 3 of the 4 corners of the lid onto the dish so it stays clean and I store it in my car. Since it’s always in the car I have it with me even if we stop for an unscheduled restaurant meal.  I just grab this small dish & carry it in with me. If I end up with leftovers they are transferred to my container, brought home & placed compactly into the fridge. I often enjoy restaurant leftovers for lunch the next day and since this glass dish is microwave safe I can heat & eat in the same dish – no extra dirty dishes, no extra trash! Win/win!

Single-Serve Breakfast, No Waste

I also see in this picture my yogurt since several years ago I started making my own homemade yogurt.  I always make my yogurt in handy single-serving-sized 1/2-pint jelly jars so I still enjoy the same grab-n-go convenience that the commercial stuff offers, but mine is healthier and so much less expensive.

I used to make all my yogurt unsweetened and unflavored so that if I wanted I could use it as a low-fat sour cream substitute.  Back then when I wanted yogurt for breakfast I’d sweeten it by taking one of these jars and stirring in some honey & fruit.  But these days I’ve increased my breakfast convenience when I’m making my yogurt by just plopping a tablespoon or so of homemade fruit jam in the bottom of about 3/4 of the jars and leaving the other 1/4 plain to use as sour cream substitute.

Homemade Pickles from Garden Cucumbers

I also see a repurposed queso jar filled with homemade pickles.  I recently discovered the beautiful simplicity of making quick & easy homemade pickles using the heirloom pickling cucumbers I grow in my veggie garden.  I could probably use canning jars here as well but my family saves these small wide-mouth jars for me and they’re the perfect size to experiment with small batches of various flavors of pickles that I want to try – sweet, dill, garlic, etc.  RancherMan loves them and I love the ease of making them!

Of course in this photo I also see the canning jars from various things I’ve made and canned – homemade applesauce from the apples my aunt shared with me from her backyard tree, the chilled vanilla pears that I’m planning for dessert tonight, and of course RancherMan’s favorite pear preserves. I very much enjoy preserving healthy food so there is always a supply of shining jars filled with my preserved food in the pantry or fridge.

Store Leftovers In Glass

And I since I already have the various sized canning jars from my canning tasks I repurpose canning jars to store our leftovers in the fridge as well, anything from the leftover veggies from last night’s supper to the leftover raspberry icing I used when I made RancherMan those Lemon Cookies last week.  And I gave up years ago on those tiny plastic disposable squeeze bottles of mustard & now I just buy a large canister of it and pour the mustard into a pint-sized canning jar – I just use a knife to spread my mustard so it’s easy peasy.

Now I realize not everyone has the same strong aversion to plastic that I do, but the transition from storing our food in disposables, then in plastic storage bowls, and now in glass has been an easy yet a very positive one for me.  If you don’t already have canning jars just use whatever jars you have!  Instead of dropping that glass jar in the recycling bin, wash it out & use it to store your food.  Glass jars are super easy to repurpose and being able to see the food in your fridge may very well slow down your food waste as well.  Give it a try!

~TMH~

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41 thoughts on “Ditch The Plastic! Using Glass In The Refrigerator

  1. Grandmas House DIY

    You made SO many good points! I keep every glass container I can to store all of my herbs in and then I buy the herbs in bulk, so no more plastic in my pantry 🙂 I’m going to have to try some of your tips for in our refrigerator as well! Thank you for sharing with us at the To Grandma’s house we go link party – hope to see you at the next one that starts tomorrow! Pinned!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      The glass in the fridge has been a very easy transition for me. Give it a try, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is. AND you can write directly on the glass to identify the items in the fridge if you like. This has been very helpful when I’m making various flavors of refrigerator pickles at the same time. ~TMH~

      Reply
  2. Katy SkipTheBag

    We too try to use mostly glass in our house. We aren’t as good about take out though. Thanks for sharing on the Waste Less Wednesday Blog Hop!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      The take-out glass dish has been super easy for me Katy, especially since I leave it in the car ready for any impromptu stop we might make. ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Janet Vinyard

    Love the idea of the glass restaurant container! Very clever idea! I hate plastic, too and don’t think it’s good for our health. Thanks for the storage ideas! Blessings, Janet

    Reply
  4. Kayla

    I LOVE your idea of the glass take-home container. I have struggled the idea of either throwing away good food or poisoning the planet with more styrofoam. Even when I decided that even if I took a plastic container with me, I would be too embarrassed to actually use it. But you’ve inspired me. Putting it in the car to have at any time, makes it really easy to have no excuses. In the past, I’ve at least try to bring a water bottle with me every time we go to a place that I know is going to have styrofoam cups. Thanks for these other great ideas!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I’d struggled with with styrofoam takeout containers too Kayla but since getting this glass dish for leftovers I’ve never looked back. Like you I wondered if I’d feel embarrassed to use it but my experience have been that the servers all comment what a great idea it is. ~TMH~

      Reply
  5. Katy SkipTheBag

    I should try to make our own yogurt. I have taken to making refrigerator oats in glass jars for breakfast though. I haven’t taken to bringing glass to restaurants for leftovers though. Thanks for posting at the #WasteLessWednesday blog hop.

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Saving Money On The Grocery Budget

  7. Laura Lane of Harvest Lane Cottage

    Well done! Just tweeted it for you! https://twitter.com/LauraLane1986/status/701080516779356161

    Reply
  8. Susan

    I’m a big fan of using glass containers for food storage, too. Congrats, you’re featured this week at the #ThisIsHowWeRoll Link Party on Organized 31.

    Reply
  9. Amanda @ The Fundamental Home

    Awesome! I am planning on doing some reorganizing this month, and I need to work on this. I especially love the idea of using small jars for yogurt. Why have I not thought of this before?!

    Reply
  10. Gen

    I am thankful for your great idea of using glass jars for refrigerator storage. I have so many unused canning jars stored in our garage cabinets. I am really not happy using plastic containers so this is a great alternative. And even the small jelly jars are stackable. Thanks for a great reminder to recycle other glass jars for storage. Great post!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      🙂 Thanks for your sweet words Gen. Our glass jars serve double duty here – canning, making homemade yogurt, storing dried goods in the pantry or storing leftovers in the fridge. Hey we’ve already got ’em and while they’re not being used for one thing they’re certainly open to being used for another! ~TMH~

      Reply
  11. Andrea

    I switched to glass containers a couple years ago for 90% of my food storage, and love it! No more stains, rapid deterioration, and dangerous chemicals leaching into my family’s food 🙂 Thanks for linking up to This is How We Roll linky party!

    Reply
  12. Amelia V.

    This is such a great idea! I have several jars I have been hanging onto because they are too pretty to throw away. I love the idea of keeping a glass container in your car to take home restaurant leftovers – everything you’ve said about the restaurant containers happens to me when I bring leftovers home. That is, they take up room in the fridge if they haven’t spilled out in the car or on the ground when the container collapses.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      LOL – it’s a common problem with those dang take-out containers, huh Amelia? That glass dish is always in reach for me to just grab-n-go when we get to a restaurant, even with an unscheduled stop while we’re out running errands. I’ve had lots of people tell me they’re going to adopt this practice as well. No one likes those styrofoam monstrosities! ~TMH~

      Reply
  13. Deedra

    I would totally do this if I didn’t think my kids would drop them and glass would be everywhere. It is a great idea. Have a great day.

    Reply
  14. Elaine

    I love that you can see what’s inside!! Thanks for Linking up on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday! Hope to see you again! Pinned!

    Reply
  15. Minh

    We are trying to get rid of all our plastic containers currently and I’ve started to purchase glassware instead. Never thought about using the glass jars for this purpose but I will start – thanks for the suggestion!

    Reply
  16. daisy

    We prefer glass as well. It’s also used in the pantry for items like rice, beans, pasta and homemade cereal. It’s so convenient to be able to see how much you have left, so you know when it’s time to make another batch of something. Enjoy your goodies!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I was surprised at all the glass that already comes into the house or can be saved by family members. Keeps it out of the landfill or recycle bin. I really like to use the same kind of jars if at all possible so the jars & lids will all be interchangeable. Those wide-mouth queso jars are a fave of mine, as well as canning jars. I’ve found that peanut butter jar lids fit my canning jars so I can use a one-piece lid when using them for storing leftovers.

      Reply
  17. All that's Jas

    I like the idea, but rarely have leftovers at the restaurant. What can I say, I’m a pig, lol. And I know I would never remember to bring a container with me, ha! Thanks for linking up with Thursday Favorite Things!

    Reply
  18. Jamie @ Medium Sized Family

    Neat ideas. I’m afraid that if I took a glass container in to the restaurant I’d leave it sitting on the table! haha

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      LOL Jamie – I think the fact that I’ve purchased that glass container (as opposed to it being a free container from the restaurant) I’m more conscious of it. Many times in the past by accident I’ve left behind a restaurant container of leftovers but never once have I left this one.

      Reply
  19. Tracy @ Our Simple Homestead

    I love putting single serve portions of leftovers in pint jars…it makes it so easy for my family to help themselves to a snack! Thanks for sharing it on today’s Blog Hop! http://oursimplelife-sc.com/our-simple-homestead-blog-hop-21/

    Reply
  20. MissB

    I like your idea of keeping the glass container in your vehicle. I can think of lots of other times when that container could come in handy other than just for restaurant leftovers. We are not fans of plastic storage containers either, but I will admit I use the ones in which our occasional lunch meat purchase is packaged. I use them to store leftovers in the freezer since I am still a little traumatized by a “broken glass container in the freezer” incident. Lol. It was due to dropping the glass bowl though, not due to the bowl breaking as a result of freezing. Since the freezer leftovers are consumed fairly quickly and we do not reheat food in them, I hope we are being fairly safe in that regard. My biggest gripe about plastics, aside from the staining and residual food smell even after washing, is that they never dry completely in the dishwasher. It’s 2015 for pity’s sake, why has no one come up with a solution to that issue yet!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I hear ya MissB! There are places where I still use plastic such as in the freezer. When you have a loaded chest freezer one wrong ‘clink’ can spell disaster! Although I hate plastic, it’s the lesser of two evils for me for storing broth, etc. in the freezer.

      Reply
  21. Ann'Re

    I’ve been working to do the same thing. I used to have stashes of plastic tubs and now I have stashes of glass jars. It took a while, but we are mostly glass now. Hubby was opposed to taking any glass in his lunch, but now he has no problem with it. I LOVE your idea about restaurant leftovers…I will be adopting that! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      There are some places where I’m apprehensive about glass – in my freezer for instance since I have a chest freezer and one wrong “clink” could bring on a disaster for me. But I’m pushing everything else to be glass – I’m even looking at a protected glass water bottle to replace the plastic water bottles I’ve used during the hours-long tractor duties I’ve worked when mowing pastures during the heat of summertime.

      Reply
  22. ColleenB.

    You and I must be long lost relatives or something as I also hate those plastic containers. Some of my square plastic containers I used to plant some Succulent Plants in and the others that I no longer wanted, I put in my Target recycling bag to have them recycled. We dump the bag at least once a week at Target in their recycling bins. The other day I was putting my yellow mustard in glass jar and my dear sweet hubby asking what the heck I was doing; taking mustard from the plastic container and putting into a jar. Glass containers look much better in the frig than those ugly plastic containers. Never thought about taking and leaving a covered glass container in the vehicle. I always carried a ziplock freezer bag in my purse. Like your idea so much better as I have a nice size decent size pyrex container with red lid that I could use. :}

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Give it a try Colleen – I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to use my little lidded bakeware for restaurant leftovers. And even if I do leave it in the car by accident it’s a quick trip to the car to fetch it. I do hate styrofoam!

      Reply

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