by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Not only are glass jars useful, but they can also make whatever you fill them with beautiful. If light is streaming through or just reflecting off the contents, the jar makes something merely functional into an aesthetic experience. But whether or not the latter is relevant is another thing. The usefulness of glass jars, especially those that come for “free” with a variety of products you may purchase is not in question. I placed the word free here in inverted commas as, in all honesty, we do pay for the glass jars with our purchases. They are thus not really free. And still many throw such jars out into the waste stream or for recycling (and then go out and buy recycled glass storage jars). Yes, I have come across such people personally.
Many products bought in stores, whether it be pickles, mustard, instant coffee or other products, often come in glass jars of a variety of shapes and sizes and most of them just ask to be reused for other purposes.
Our grandparents and their parents hardly wasted one of those jars and they were used for all manner of things, including drinking vessels and the terms “having a jar” for having a drink of beer (or whatever) more than likely has to do with the fact that the poorer people could actually not afford drinking glasses and cups and reused and repurposed glass jars for this job.
Glass jars are great for storing salt and other dry products and produce, incl. flour, dried pulses, rice, pasta, etc. in the pantry and our ancestors did just that as well. Furthermore, they are great to store leftovers in the fridge for use the next day or so, instead of using plastic.
I must confess I have a whole cupboard – well, almost a whole one – full of empty glass jars of various shapes and sizes and I also repurpose some other ones as drinking vessels for various drinks, from water, over lemonade and beer to spirits.
All possible odds and ends, such as hardware for working with wood, such as nails, screws, etc., as well as hardware for leather work, plus other stuff, are all in different glass jars in the storage areas. The advantage with glass jars is that, more often that now, you know what is inside by just looking and no labels needed. Other glass jars are repurposed as vases, should there be cut flowers to display, such as some coffee jars.
The uses for the humble glass jar are almost endless and the best part of it is that they are – quasi – free.