Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Illuminate your Pasta Sauce?

By Archive, August 1, 2007  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Archive
Alright, we're definitely not talking about how to make glowing pasta sauce (something tells me that if it existed, glowing pasta sauce wouldn’t meet our Quality Standards), rather Jami, who shops at our Kansas City store, had a rather unique idea for how to reuse any number of glass jars, including, you guessed it, glass pasta sauce jars. Here’s her terrific idea: "I like to take my glass jars from finished pasta sauce, jelly, peanut butter, etc. and turn them into romantic lighting for our dinner parties on the patio. It's easy: just clean them, remove the outside label, and drop a tea light candle in the jars. Better yet, keep a stash of old candles that have melted down and turn them into one fun layered candle. It’s easy and best of all you've got beautiful mood lighting that benefits both the environment and your dinner party!" How do you reuse your glass containers at home? Is there another easy, environmentally conscious way that you reuse items to add ambience to your outdoor parties?
Category: Green Action




Donna Updike says ...
I hate throwing away empty glass jars and lids. I have found that it is possible to reuse jars for preserving applesauce, jams, and jellies because they will re-seal at least one more time. I prepare the jars by washing in hot, soapy water. After I have processed the applesauce, jams or jellies, I fill the jars, tighten the lids and place in a hot water bath. Then they are processed according to the canning directions. I will sometimes decorate the jars with fabric and ribbons to make them look festive. This is a great way to save money (no need to buy canning jars) and to have gifts on hand for holidays and visitors. The best part is that I am able to avoid sending the jars to recycling or to the land fill.
08/02/2007 6:17:58 AM CDT
keri says ...
we reuse our old glass jars on the patio for two things. first, we fill them with water mixed with a little lemon dish detergent (a natural way to deter mosquitoes), and then place a floating candle inside to make them pretty. second, i like to use them as holders for plastic utensils when we are having a barbeque. for holidays we paint them--red white and blue, etc.
08/02/2007 7:22:16 AM CDT
Kathy Jentz says ...
I reuse glass jars for seed saving from my garden. They are perfect for it as they are air and water tight. Keeping out moisture is the key for seed longevity. You can easily label jars of collected seeds and line them up in a cool, dark place such asyour basement, garage, or pantry. They can be usedthis way over and over again. Plus they are quite decorative and charming in their own way. My favorite seeds to collect are annual flowers like cleome, hollyhocks, and marigolds. This year I'm being more adventuresome and trying out vegetable seeds, which require a fermenting process to collect them. I trade my collected seeds with others and there are laways plenty of extras to go around.
08/02/2007 8:04:11 AM CDT
Elke Muller says ...
I love reusing glass jars! I thoroughly clean them and remove the outside paper. After drying them, I use them for dried lentils, dried spices, and pastas. Anything that I purchase in bins at Whole Foods keeps really well in a glass jar - plus it is see-through and I know immediately what I need.
08/02/2007 9:27:23 AM CDT
mimi sicard says ...
I use my pasta sauce jars for bouquets of flowers for co-works - just wrap jar in a colorful tissue paper and tie with a pretty bow. No worries about getting the vase back or if my co-worker happens to have a vase in her desk.
08/02/2007 10:51:46 AM CDT
Alecia says ...
I re-use my glass pasta sauce jars to store loose pasta and other small kitchen/household items (bobby pins, elastics, paper clips, pens). I also use them for my Nature Clean Dishwasher powder. Once the box is opened the soap forms a big hard lump. To make it easier to use I pour it into the jars and then each bit of soap is sealed. It stays as a powder and its easy to dispense.
08/02/2007 11:09:08 AM CDT
debi moore says ...
I reuse glass jars for leftovers...after cleaning thoroughly and removing the labels, I put any leftover foods like soups, pastas, etc. If you remove the lid, they microwave easily at work!
08/02/2007 11:17:04 AM CDT
Robin Beattie says ...
I find that these jars really come in handy during the holidays, or for hosuewarmings! I re-use the jars to store dry cookie, cocoa, and bread mix. I make up the mixes myself, put it in the glass jars,cut some pretty and festive cloth to place over the mouth of the jar, and screw back on the lid. I then attach a label with the recipe. Voila- the pasta jar has a new life as a thoughtful, homemade present.
08/02/2007 11:30:37 AM CDT
Kristy says ...
What don't I use glass jars for? After removing the labels and soaking them in warm, sudsy water, I use them to hold popcorn, rice, beans, coffee, tea, cookies, crackers, candies ( and anything from the bins at Whole Foods)...practical and quite pretty in the kitchen! In the craft room, glass jars hold markers, pens, pencils...and In the laundry room, glass jars hold safety pins and lost buttons...the uses are endless!
08/02/2007 11:36:13 AM CDT
S, J. Baker says ...
I use glass jars with a fairly narrow neck for the fragrant oils and infusion sticks that are so popular now. Purchase the refill oils and sticks rather than the decorative sets with their own containers. I also use jars and bottles to root cuttings from my yard--great for basil, coleus, pothos ivy and any other plants that are easy to propogate.
08/02/2007 12:30:15 PM CDT
Marianne says ...
I reuse my jars to store a batch of fresh made tomato sauce, leftovers which stay fresher, sauces, etc. I keep the Whole Foods canvas bags in my car along with the same plastic bags for produce and use each time I shop. After washing and allowing plastic produce bags to dry, I reuse them to store freshly washed herbs, lettuce, celery all wrapped in a cloth or paper towel which helps them keep fresh for a couple weeks. I think it's time people go back to using good old ceramic dishes and galsses for entertaining. Food tastes better, they hold up well and the landfills are a little less empty. Gracious dininng!
08/02/2007 12:33:56 PM CDT
Akilah Rabb says ...
My kids always have a project going. We reuse glass jars to store arts and crafts supplies, mix and store tempera paint, little terrariums and temporary 1/2 day bug habitats (after holes are punched in the metal top), and for kitchen experiments like pickling all sorts of things.
08/02/2007 12:39:08 PM CDT
Susan Sivric says ...
I wash my pasta sauce jars, paint the lids the colour of my choice, glue pretty ribbons around the lip of the lid or base of the jar, and fill them with all sorts of bathroom products - cotton balls, ear cleaning tips, make-up removal pads - they're fabulous and look so pretty!
08/02/2007 1:02:32 PM CDT
Sharon D. says ...
I make mini-greenhouses out of glass jars. Just place one with a wide enough mouth over small cuttings, like begonia or African violet. The extra humidity helps them take hold. Haven't had much luck with reproducing the herbs yet.
08/02/2007 4:44:54 PM CDT
Laura Ewald says ...
I use my old glass jars for storing nails, screws, nut, and bolts, and any other small things in the garage. My husband puts a screw through the top on a wood beam and then you can store all you need in them twist them to the top of the ceiling and still see what's in them. Just be careful taking them up and down!
08/02/2007 4:54:17 PM CDT
kath chyna camasto says ...
We have reused our pasta sauce jars by filling with sand to make doorstops.
08/02/2007 5:48:40 PM CDT
Kris says ...
Recycled glass jar candles can be taken up another notch: Tear up colored or printed tissue paper and dip in a little bit of white glue mixed with water. Stick the pieces (papier mache style) to the outside of the glass. They can match your party colors or go with the house. Light them up (after they dry) and they look like stained glass.
08/02/2007 6:55:52 PM CDT
Cristina Carolan says ...
I reuse glass pasta sauce, pickle, and condiment jars to store seeds and nuts and also use them for sprouting. Sprouts are some the healthiest things one can eat. Soaking nuts makes them more digestable. If you get organic sprout seeds, you can grow your own organic sprouts on the counter and its more cost effective than buying them. You can create different blends and make just as much as you need. Reusing a glass jar is easy and you can put a piece of cheesecloth secured with a rubberband to make rinsing easier. With glass, you don't have to worry about plastic derivatives leaching into your food because it's non porous.
08/02/2007 7:04:40 PM CDT
Ellen Lang says ...
Old cans can be turned into luminarias by punching holes in the sides and putting candles inside. Putting these along the side of a walk or driveway looks lovely.
08/02/2007 8:33:20 PM CDT
Alice Marzolf says ...
I love to place small vases of cut flowers in different rooms of my house and I find that used glass jars and bottles make great vases for this purpose because they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They also look pretty with the stems of the flowers showing and it is easy to see when water needs to be added. They are also easy to wash and keep clean. I also like to use them for flowers on the table on my deck for picnics and parties. The glass bottles and jars can be made especially attractive by placing a ribbon around the middle and tying a nice bow.
08/02/2007 8:59:09 PM CDT
patti connelly says ...
I reuse glass containers by filling them with all of the bulk nuts and seeds I purchase and storing them in the fridge. This way, the paper bulk bags don't absorb the oils from the nuts, the nuts don't go stale and I have fresh nuts and seeds for snacking and/or baking always on hand readily viewable when I open the refrigerator. Then I reuse the paper bulk bags for my kids lunches or save in my "paper box" next to the fireplace.
08/02/2007 9:12:53 PM CDT
Libby Jennison says ...
Reuse are reduce are easily the two overlooked of the three R's-- reduce, reuse, recycle. In terms of reusing items, I find glass jars have many uses, including the many that were already mentioned above. In addition to those, I like using the jars for sun steeped tea. I fill the jar with room temperature water and a few tea bags, depending on the size of the jar and the amount of water. Then I set it outside in the sun for a few hours until it is steeped. There is an energy savings from not using the stove, as well as the reuse of the jar. I usually end up putting these in the refrigerator for iced homebrews, and label them with a sharpie according to the nature of the day they were made: Dreamy Jasmine, Lazy Brew, Sweaty Earl... It's a good idea to keep a closer eye on white teas, like jasmine, that have a tendancy to get bitter if left to steep for too long. If that's the case, and you find yourself with a bitter jasmine, pour over ice instead of refrigerating. The melting of the ice will dilute the tea. Still bitter? I've found that perfumey iced teas, like jasmine or earl, are really good over ice with milk and a touch of honey. They are good blended into a slushie too. Happy Brewing!
08/02/2007 11:12:35 PM CDT
Carole A. Howard says ...
After removing labels, washing, & drying, I love to use my empty glass jars - especially some of the jelly jars that come with the glass handles, for serving iced tea, lemonade, iced coffee, juices, or mixed drinks. Some of those jelly jars have thick enough glass to serve hot coffee or tea instead of in a regular mug for breakfast. These are great for backyard picnics, luncheons, or brunches - save them up for a "set" of glasses or mix n' match as you like! All of my friends love being served in these "glasses" - keep an eye out for some of the ones that have raised glass designs on the front of the jars. [Kids love these, too, as they can see what is inside their "glasses" - serve kids different colored juices at a party - really brightens up the table!
08/03/2007 1:05:31 AM CDT
Sommer says ...
We use them to store dried herbs from our garden. That way we can enjoy homegrown parsley, basil, thyme, etc. all winter long! Mustard, caper, and other condiment jars are particularly attractive and can be left on the counter for easy access while cooking.
08/03/2007 7:44:00 AM CDT
G says ...
I reuse my glass containers by removing the labels, washing them, and reusing them for storage containers. We don't use plastic bags or plastic containers, and the reused glass jars are free! We use them for everything, from storing leftovers, to storing opened bags of cereal, beans, anything that came in a plastic bag. What a positive impact on your pocketbook, the environment, and on your health, if everyone stopped using this much plastic!
08/03/2007 9:06:08 AM CDT