by Linda @ Cheap Places to Retire Blog
Storage is an issue for almost everyone. Some people earn a living by helping others learn how to store everything they have. This article concentrates on the small things, especially in the kitchen. How to store small bits of leftovers can be a puzzle.
Many people toss leftover food because they don’t know how to store it or they just don’t want to mess with it. How wasteful! Maybe they don’t own storage containers. Or maybe they have lots of containers, but they are all stuffed in the back of a cupboard. Lid? Who knows where the lid is? Did that ever have a lid?
Plastic storage containers are available in endless sizes, shapes, and styles. Most seem to be flat; that is, wide and shallow. Some are a bit taller, either round or square, and have proportions sort of like a cube. The down side of such containers is the amount of space they take up in your fridge or cupboard. Even if they are clear, the plastic is cloudy and not much surface area is exposed. It’s difficult to tell what is inside, especially if you stack the containers to save space. Without picking it up or finding what you wrote on the lid (yes, you can write on the lid), the contents remain a mystery.
Enter: <dramatic pause> the empty peanut butter jar! I love empty peanut butter jars for storage! Look at their advantages:
- They are unbreakable.
- They are completely clear.
- Their footprint in the fridge is small.
- They’re lightweight.
- You can stack them.
- You store them with the lid on, so it’s never lost.
- They’re recyclable.
- And they’re free!
Plus, they have a wide opening, and you can pour liquids from them without spilling. They are a wonderful container for storing almost any food. (OK, not a leftover roast turkey.)
Nuts for baking and cooking (pecans, almonds, walnuts, etc.) come in plastic or cellophane bags, which are not very sturdy for long-term storage. I transfer the nuts to a peanut butter jar and store them in the freezer to stay fresh longer.
A small amount of uncooked pasta, dried beans, or lentils stored in a peanut better jar is easier to manage. It won’t accidentally come open and spill the contents into the far corners of your cupboard. You can snip cooking directions from the label and tuck them into the jar. An extra benefit is that the jar is insect-proof, if that is a problem in your area.
We eat fruit on our cereal every morning. Whether I buy fresh or frozen, I store it in a peanut butter jar in the fridge. If fresh, berries remain plump without getting smashed. If frozen, the jar holds enough thawed fruit for just a few days, so it’s always fresh. When I dice the fruit in advance, such as frozen peaches or strawberries, the no-spill, no-mess guarantee of a jar is welcome in the morning fog.
I use peanut butter jars to store small amounts of orange juice, gravy, and creamy salads. If we open a large can of pineapple juice for summer cocktails, peanut butter jars offer the perfect way to store the leftover juice in the freezer.
So fix lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for your grandkids, and remember that it’s a protein-rich lunch for yourself. Then save and reuse the mighty peanut butter jar!