We have slowly been upgrading our kitchen with glass storage jars and canisters. This is complicated by the fact that two of the women in family, including the one who does most of the cooking, are unable to handle any heavy containers. Little jars don't hold enough for most of the day to day staples and most gallon jars would be too heavy for them to handle when full. Add to that we have older cabinets that are often too short for modern containers. We've been on the search for medium sized, attractive, sealable glass containers and not finding a lot of options within our limited budget.
The attractive part is probably the biggest deal breaker. Even without the glass canisters, we face and front our cabinets regularly so that everything stays looking neat and tidy. One of the biggest things keeping our open cabinets from looking cluttered is having things arranged so they're not random collections of all different sizes and shapes. It matters enough that I have slowly been putting the money into purchasing things in matched sets that will fill at least one full shelf at a time.
We just figured out (after years of everyone throwing out my jars whenever I let my guard down) that the 4 lb jar (little over a quart) shaped like a classic bee hive is exactly the right height for our top row, big enough to take a full bag of things like rice, beans, and pasta. They're also small enough that they won't become too heavy for my sister, even when full. Turned sideways they fit four across and look beautiful. That's actually the whole thing spurring this post. Beautiful jars, large enough to serve as canisters that I didn't buy for that purpose. And honey doesn't leave any unpleasant food odors in the jar.
Outside of honey, does anyone else know of other items that regularly come in attractive glass jars that are between a gallon and a quart? They don't need to be fancy shapes like the bee hive, in fact these wouldn't qualify for our pantry if they weren't flat enough on two sides turn sideways and store efficiently. I think plain, straight sided cylinders and cubes are great.
They may be too tall for your application and it's not precisely what you were asking for, but the antique often blue-glass canning jars in half-gallon size (the kind with the wire bales and the natural rubber gasket) are finding a substantial place in my pantry and kitchen. Antique stores want $8-10 apiece for them around here but I can regularly find them at garage sales for a buck or two. The natural rubber gasket always needs replacement but you can buy silicone gaskets for narrow-mouthed canning jars online for cheap that work just fine. And I find them very attractive.
Like you I am trying to upgrade to all glass; I had been using a motley assortment of dollar-store plastic food storage jars with insecure screw top lids. I regularly find attractive glass kitchen cannister sets at garage sales for cheap, but usually these too have deteriorating natural rubber gaskets, and the sizing is non-standard enough that I haven't been able to find a source for new gaskets online at a price my cheap butt is willing to pay.
Most of those things I see in plastic jars these days. Even a lot of pickles are starting to come in plastic instead of glass. I'll start keeping an eye on the import section of the store in case we get any there.
I used my current storage allowance this month on more freezer safe Ball canning jars. I have several cases of these in use, from the kitchen to the craft room, and beyond. They're just not quite large enough for bulk storage.
I did find this site http://www.fillmorecontainer.com/Food-Containers-C7.aspx which seems to carry a lot of the common glass containers for much less than Amazon or most other retailers. I don't know what shipping would be. I like being able to hold things in my hand a fiddle with the lids before spending my money on them, though.
When I was looking for gallon-sized jars, I spoke to a friend who worked in the kitchen of a nursing home. She saved a few for me. Cafeterias would be a good bet as well. Places where they prepare food in large quantities will often get food in gallon-size jars. I also see some regularly in thrift stores, but they usually show up when I don't really need one.
We use antique canning jars which I find on the internet, in old sheds and houses and even under hedges. Ours all match except for a couple we're phasing out and they came in 1/2 quart, 1 quart and 2 quart with glass lids and wire bails. They are fairly heavy when full of rice or other dense foods though but they show the contents beautifully and are square so they fit our cabinet really well.
Some cost $2 others I paid up to $20 apiece.
Those are lovely. It's great picture, too. It shows how nice glass storage looks. Garage sale season is here in my area. Tired as I am each morning when I leave work, maybe I should still be dragging myself to some of the weekend garage sales.
I save all my glass jars for reuse. Mine are mostly 32 oz jars from hamburger dill slices and 16 oz pickle relish. The only other things that still come in glass jars are salsa, spaghetti sauce like Ragu and some store brand preserves and jellies.
At Sam's Club there is a "South of the Border" brand salsa that comes in a jar I really like. It is maybe 32 oz +/- which is more salsa than two people can use.
I used to get half gallon or gallon size jar containing pickles just for the jars. Made great jar for sun tea and making friendship cake.
Other than those, the quart size wide mouth canning jar are easily available.
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We've finally had the paradigm shift that has sped up our shift out of plastics. It's similar to what happened with cast iron where I spent years applying steady pressure towards getting the rest of the family to stop reaching for Teflon pans. Overnight they fell in love with one particular pan and so we've finally finished with the Teflon. Apparently that size of around a quart hits the sweet spot of easy to work with but large enough to be worth filling in food storage.
I stumbled across three packs of kilner jars in this size for 8 dollars and brought home twelve. These were instantly filled. We raided my cases of freezer safe pint and a half jars to organize another shelf. When I went today to replace my canning jars they were on sale for 25% off every two cases or packs. So I have 4 more cases of freezer safe jars and 8 novelty spiral shaped jars in that size, that are easier to grip than a straight side would be.
If you've never seen them, Ball's freezer safe jars are a good alternative to plastic Tupperware in both the fridge and freezer. Yes, you can can in them also. My mother likes them as drinking cups because the measurements help her track fluids.
I think jars are soon to join socks and curtains on the list of things Casie can't control herself with.
Believe it or not, this is the usual state of our cabinets, now with added jars and less boxes. I don't want to show what a mess my pantry is. That's where the inconvenient overflows hide. I've not been inspired to take pictures there. Also note that I've angled all the photos up so you can't see the counters. The cabinets are pretty much our only housekeeping triumph. I just want to gloat a little.
I get a cheap brand of pickles called Best Maid that come in a sort of rounder barrel shape, (top shoulder and bottom have some moulding to them, the center is flat and smooth) in 1 and 2 quart sizes. They look pretty enough. (to be honest I collected a bunch of these to float/segregate betta fish in a large aquarium when I ran out of space. I could put the net over the barrel, drain it, and refill it from the tank below daily). Trying to figure out better lids for them though. They are narrow neck/lip short and flat track screw on metal. You probably want something that will take a mason jar lid of some sort.
I admit when I shop for stuff sometimes the size or brand chosen depends on what it's packaged in!
Yeah, the mason jar lids for the screw tops is a big thing. All our jars are wide mouth. Even in the clip tops we made sure the tops are standardized so we can replace gaskets. With kids we have to plan for random losses and destruction.
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