28 October 2007
I love jars. I do store some things in plastic, but if it will fit in a jar, that is where it goes. This is my jar cupboard. Many of the jars in here are recycled jars, but there are also some Fowlers Vacola preserving jars, Italian Mason jars, old glass vinegar bottles, and some plastic soft drink bottles. Believe it or not, the plastic drink bottles are the ones I find hardest to get. I use them for my lemon cordial and ginger beer.

I went looking for a preserving jar yesterday afternoon to start off the ginger beer plant and was reminded again of the wonderful collection of jars in my cupboard. I've used a Fowlers jar for the ginger beer and placed an open weave milk jug cover over it. That is to allow the wild yeasts to enter the mix which will give me a good depth of flavour to the drink.

Below are the jars I like using when I'm preserving. Fowlers jars are nice to look at and evoke those days when grandma did her bottling, but I find them fiddly and expensive. If I'd know how great the Italian Mason jars were when I bought my jars, I would have only bought them. They're freely available in most department stores and the last time I shopped at Woolworths (three years ago), they were in the supermarket too. You can buy new lids for them here (Australia) and here (US). The French jars and rubber rings (at the front) are also freely available at department stores and are excellent for preserving.

The jars below are all recycled - the three at the back are jam jars, the other one is a Golden Circle baby food jar. Recycled jars are great to have in the home as you can use them for your homemade jams and relishes, and giving them away to family and friends isn't a problem. I still ask for the jar to be returned. : ) LOL Most of the time people are happy to do that.

The jar below is a French jam jar. They are my all time favourite jars as they have a wide mouth, they're really easy to fill, the glass is good quality and you can boil them to sterilise, and the lids last a few boilings. They also look good. I use them to store buttons and odd and ends in as well.

I'm sure many of you will already be recycling your jars and have a good collection of them. If you're not doing this, why not try a small collection and see how you go with them. Even if you're not preserving anything, they're useful for small amounts in your pantry cupboard - things like spices, seeds and nuts or in the fridge for the whey you pour off your yoghurt or cream. Don't ever throw out a fancy bottle as you can easily make up some flavoured spicy vinegar or cordial for gifts.

Most people like receiving homemade produce in recycled jars and bottles. It brings back memories or older days when everyone's mum or grandma made things to store in glass jars.


  1. I'll admit to this particular fetish too, but honestly, don't have a place to properly store anything as yet!!!

    So always stumbling over things...


  2. Wow its nice to see others collect the same things I do! I have collected jars for years, and when I see them above my cupboards they bring a smile to my face. As usual you give such great adviec Rhonda, Thank you so much for your wisdom. Have a wonderful day or evening, Hugs Pam

  3. I love the french jam jars too! I have only one but it is just the right size, I always seem to be reaching for it. The open weave cloth is lovely did you make it? Because I can so much food I have shelves overflowing of jars, but I plan to give some of them to my daughters as they start to can.

  4. I love your Bonne Mamane French Jars. Can you buy them over in Australia ? If ever you want any sent over just let me know. They too are my favourite. I just love your Table cloth too, it is very traditional. Karen.

  5. I love stopping by everyday :)
    My jar collection is growing too and I too am finding a multitude of uses for them. I am going to make some of your orange cordial today as all the lemon has gone again. I'm also going to use your tip about freezing the juice for my nxt batch of cordial. Fortunately I have two ppl who constantly give me lemons most of the year, but still easier to freeze for later! Have you tried an orange/lemon combo...my nana apparently made one like this?

  6. HA! I knew you'd all be out there with your jar collections. : ) Good morning/afternoon/evening wildside, pam, niki, karen and lis.

    Niki, the milk jug cover was given to me but they're very easy to make if you crochet. It's just a circle with beads on the side to hold it in place.

    Thank you Karen. Yes, we can buy them here buy at $5.50 a jar I don't buy too many of them. I've had my collection for a while now and my sister just brought up two more of them for me.

    Lis, yes, the frozen juice is the way to go. I find it a real pain to do the juicing but once in there it makes making the cordial really easy all through the year. As soon as my tree starts bearing again, I'll be juicing for the freezer. Here is a link to my cordial recipes, you might find something you like there.

  7. I have begun a jar collection too, luckily have plenty of space in my laundry that has built in cupbaord under the benches!!!!

    infact yesterday I did my first ever attempt at preserving ~ pickled cucmbers and it was a good feeling going and picking out the jars from the collection!!

  8. Hmm, another jar collector here too, although my collection isn't too extensive... yet!

    What are Mason jars, Rhonda? You mentioned they're from Woolworths - are they sold as preserving jars or do they come with a product in them?

    Ta... Ree :)

  9. We recycle jars all the time! We had a huge collection in the old apartment which we sadly left in all the hassle... now we're building up our stock of jars again. :)

  10. ree, Mason jars are glass jars, usually with a screw on lid, but also with a clip on, used for preserving fruit and vegies.


    The Woolworth's Mason jars are sold as preserving jars. They're the ones in my photo with the gold tops. You can buy some products in Mason jars though. Five Brothers pasta sauce used to be in Mason jars but I haven't bought any pasta sauce for many years so I don't know what they're in now.

  11. I love my fowlers jars, and have been able to source quite a lot through Op shops and garage sales, and then just bought/inherited/been given the corresponding equipment. I also love the hexagonal/octagonal jars you showed and loke to use those jars for jam too. Other jars I tend to keep for spices and storing seeds in. You can never have too many storage containers.

  12. I've been on again off again about collecting jars to use over the years. I've got a zillion quart mason jars in my garage that I've moved from house to house. I'm waiting to have a place to garden. Perhaps next year. It appears we will be moving during this growing season.

    You've inspired me to start collecting again!

    Laura of Harvest Lane
    Missouri, U.S.A.

  13. I know this is an old entry, but I just had to leave a comment and tell you the pictures of your saved jars have me laughing. The storage shelves in our utility room have many saved jars on them. Hubby thinks I'm nuts, but I prefer to store what I can in them instead of plastic.

  14. Can you reuse the original jar lid???I didn't think they would RE-seal.I have been buying lids everytime I can, however if this is un nessasary I would rather save the money:)

  15. I never throw away a glass jar with a good lid and had a habit to collect them and store in the shed. One day my husband just could not get a lawn mower out of the shed, and started taking out all these bags and boxes full of empty jars. Then he smiled at me and asked whether I REALLY need so many jars? I had couple of hundreds of jars, that's for sure: jars from gherkins, olives, jam..... I selected the dozen or two I really liked, and I grouped others (like all olive jars together, all gherkin jars together), photographed them and put them on TradeMe (New Zealand online auction web site) for sale. They ALL were gone within a week, and I made around 100 extra NZD in cash. Could not describe my delight :D From now on I sell extra jars I do not need and enjoy extra cash :D



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