We buy in bulk. It’s less packaging, less expensive, and more food for our growing family, but logistically it can be difficult to find a place for that 25-pound bag of buckwheat or brown rice. We use 5-gallon buckets with gamma seal lids for the majority of our bulk storage, but we also use glass jars. I have an obsession with glass jars and there isn’t any help line for that. It seems that all forums just encourage the use — so I indulge.
I don’t know what it is about seeing all those beautifully God-made organic foods — neatly lined up in the pantry and peeking through clear glass — that puts a smile on my face. Maybe it’s the memories from great-grandma’s cupboards with food stored in recycled jelly and mayo jars.
Or maybe it’s the thought that my food is pest-free. Ants, weevils and the like have a hard time finding their way into glass jars, properly sealed (unlike their plastic counterparts). And, did I mention you don’t have to worry about BPA, PVC or other toxins?
Interested in using glass for your pantry storage? Here’s how to get started in two easy steps!
1. Gather and Prepare the Jars
Glass jars can be acquired from several places. Your family’s size and needs will determine what size jars you need. For a single or two-person household, your standard jelly and mayo jars will do. Families with two or more children may find it easier to use recycled gallon glass pickle jars in which to store food.
One easy way to start collecting jars is to ask family and friends to save their old jars for you. If you prefer jars that are uniform in size, purchase pint, quart, or half-gallon mason jars — all at once or a dozen at time as your budget allows.
Want to use recycled jars but don’t find the brand’s logo appealing on the lid? No problem — carefully spray the lids with some funky or classic colored spray paint to match your kitchens decor. Be careful to not get any paint inside the lid as you don’t want it coming into contact with your food.
Pesky labels won’t come off? Try this trick that Jami shared with us.
2. Organize the Pantry
Some of you are blessed with walk-in pantries and won’t have to put too much effort into this part. But if you’re like me, with no actual pantry and only cabinets… you can do this, too! While I prefer to store food in half-gallon or gallon jars because of my family’s larger-than-average size, it’s not always doable. The largest jar to fit into any cupboard of mine is a quart jar. And so I make do.
A 2-pound bag of organic coffee beans will fit nicely into three quart jars stacked perfectly into a row. I fill quart jars with raw honey from the 6-gallon bucket we buy annually, three fitting into a row. Organic popping corn, quinoa, arrowroot, and other frequently used items get stored in quart jars as well. Organic coconut oil, cinnamon, pepper, and real salt get stored in pint jars. Spices and baking powder or baking soda are easily stored in half-pint jars.
The grains and legumes go in gallon jars on a shelf in our kitchen. Not only is this pretty and an eye-catcher to all who enter, but it’s easy and convenient to make a batch of rice or black beans.
For more information on how to get started with bulk buying from food co-ops, click here.
Want more ideas? See how Wardee organizes her pantry staples here. Surprisingly, Wardee reports this hasn’t changed much in 7 years, though she has added a rack of jars next to the kitchen (pictured below) and there are more bulk food storage places elsewhere in the house now, too!
Do you use glass jars for storage in your kitchen? What are the biggest benefits you’ve come across to using glass?
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