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Saving glass jars

This makes me very happy:

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This, not so much:

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I've been making a much greater effort lately to clean out and reuse glass food jars. When I buy stuff in bulk it makes me absolutely crazy to have all of these plastic or paper bags shoved in the cabinets. I have a hard enough time getting inspired in the kitchen, so when I can transfer my bulk goods to glass jars, my shelves are less cluttered as is my mind. I can actually see what I have. Better yet would be to just carry the glass jars to the grocery to fill, skipping that whole plastic bag middleman entirely. I can sometimes remember to bring my own plastic bags, but bringing my own glass jars is not a baby step I've taken (yet). First, I must organize. (BTW, those homemade croutons were inspired by the Chicken. You must, must, must try it. Never again will I throw away the ends of the sandwich bread loaf.)

My favorite jars are the Adams Peanut Butter jars in the 36 oz size, which we go through once a week. (I will be so bummed if they start recalling peanut butter. I am so furious over this whole issue, which is a whole 'nother post. The food industry is out of control!) You might think that peanut butter jars are a burden to clean out. To me, I feel like I'm hitting the jackpot. And I don't think they are time-consuming to clean. I just fill them with a pump of soap and hot water and let them sit for a few hours, and then they are super easy to wash out. The labels come off easily -- just get them wet in hot water, peel until you get to the gluey residue and then scrape it off with a fingernail. Seriously, it probably takes me all of five minutes to wash and delabel a peanut butter jar.

Smaller, dijon mustard-sized jars are like gold:

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I don't like labeling the jars unless I think I won't remember what it is. When I do, I like to use the top part of a post-it note so that it's not permanent (plus it makes it easier to clean).

Glass jars also figured prominently in the band we formed one afternoon:

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We'd just attended a 'symphony storytime' at the library where we learned about percussion instruments and making new colors (which is music-talk for sounds). We had a blast filling up the jars with differing levels of water to make new colors, as well as finding stuff in the kitchen to add to the band. The potato masher was a hit.

While glass can be recycled indefinitely, I'm going to keep on reusing when I can. And now is the time to keep an eye out for canning jars at rummage sales and thrift stores! Summer is coming, I just know it.

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