Storage containers can start adding up pretty fast. Being a proud tightwad, I started looking around and decided that I could recycle some of the containers that I bought food in all the time! You can all blame Mariah Maskey for this one … for those who don’t know me, she is my daughter and has nagged me for years to recycle more! Here are some of my ideas that are working for me.
Plastic containers should have PETE or HDPE on the bottom of them.
Next check the lids and see if they have a soft lining, usually made out of silicone or nylon to create a airtight seal when reused. If there is not a coating or gasket, I lay a sandwich bag over the top and screw the lid down.
Smell it. If there is an odor that the dishwasher (top rack)doesn't eliminate it, you will need to soak it with clorox water. Dried foods will absorb smells and taste like the old food.
If the container has a small opening, I use the two funnels to fill it with and use foods like popcorn, dried veggies, cracked wheat. Just as long as it is not too fine or powdery and will pour out on its own weight. Those foods go into the wider mouthed containers. If I am planning to put it away for awhile, I drop in an oxygen packet before sealing.
I have successfully used the jars that sauces, fruit and jam come in.
Once again, look for the gasket on the underside of the lid to create a good seal. If there is cardboard, add the sandwich bag to help create a good seal.
Some people try to reuse these jars for home bottling wet foods. DON'T DO IT! You can always find some one who has gotten by with it. I know an entire family wiped out by doing it. It isn't worth taking the chance!
These can be used more than once as long as the foods are completely dry. Each time it will be a little smaller.
You can seal and store foods that come from any source, not just the cannery.
I have made half and quarter pouches for foods that I use more slowly so that they stay fresher. I am dividing up my seasonings into the quarter packets so they stay fresher for the years that it seems to take me to ue them up now.
I have pouches, oxygen packets and sealer that can be checked out and taken to your home if you want to use this method. It is $ .50 per full sized pouch (my cost). These are the same materials that you would use at the church cannery, in fact that is where the pouches and packets came from!
As I am trying to reclaim my own living room, I am finding myself going back and reminding myself! Hope this helps those of you who are suffering from food storage "overload".
For over fifty years, I have seemed to spend a lot of my time in the kitchen. First, it was the usual “helping Mommy” whether it was everyday meals or canning. Mom wasn’t really into cooking, so I had to create my own kitchen adventures. As the years went by, I enjoyed it more and more. Fortunately, my family have been pretty good sports about my experiments!
Canning fruit in Utah led to huge gardens as a wife and mother, canning meat when it was too good of a price to pass up . . . Oops! No freezer . . . DUH! Finding that these activities have blessed my family repeatedly led me to this point.
Life experiences, working in a church cannery for three years and serving as cannery specialist two times have brought me to the point of sharing what I have learned. The most important lesson being, keep an open mind and always be ready to learn from others. Be sure to check out the links I have in the side bar of the blog!!!