Reusing glass jars to store food is a great way to reduce waste and save money by buying food in bulk. Glass jars make great storage containers and can be decorated to give your kitchen a unique homely feel.
Buying Food in Bulk
If you are serious about homesteading and saving money at home, you will know it is far cheaper to buy food in bulk where possible. Some foods will store for longer than others. Start with pantry basics such as these products which can be found in bulk packs on Amazon. (Paid links)
Flour – Shelf life 12 months
Oats – Shelf life 12 months
Rice – Shelf Life 2 years
Dried Pasta – Shelf Life 2 years
Corn Meal – Shelf Life 12 months
Some of these products will last longer than their best before date. Have a look at the colour and smell the food. If it looks discoloured or smells rancid throw it out. The other issue with storing food is weevils.
Preventing Weevil Infestation
Dry foods must be stored in airtight containers to maintain freshness and to prevent infestation. Sometimes weevils will find their way into the flour or grain before you purchase the food and lay eggs.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about this as you won’t see them for some time until they eventually hatch then leave crawl marks through the flour or you will see black specs in the bottom of the jar of grains. Sometimes you will see webs in the corners of plastic bags.
Disposing of Weevils
The best thing to do is dispose of the affected flour or grains immediately in a sealed plastic bag. Wash the jar out thoroughly with hot soapy water then let air dry completely.
You will need to check everything else in your pantry to make sure the weevils haven’t made their way to other foods. They will eat through some plastics which is why storing foods in glass jars is preferable.
If you have a bad infestation you will need to take everything out of your pantry, dispose of any affected foods then clean out your pantry with disinfectant.
I once had an infestation which started in a bag of pearl barley. Within a day or two they had eaten through the bag then infested anything else they could eat through which is why I started storing everything in glass jars.
I was saying a few choice words while cleaning out my entire pantry but I haven’t had a problem since.
Tips for Buying Food in Bulk
It is definitely worth buying in bulk as you can save a great deal of money over time. Finding a supplier that provides products free of infestation is the most important factor when buying in bulk.
Look at reviews on the internet or through word of mouth otherwise you might have to try different suppliers until you find one you are happy with.
Always check the best before date on the product you are buying. Sometimes the best deal isn’t always the best deal if the product is near expiration.
If you are purchasing over the internet check the reviews to see if bags arrived ripped. Some companies take more care when shipping than others. Also remember to ask about the best before date before purchasing.
Storing Food in Glass Jars
When reusing glass jars to store food you will need to choose jars with tight fitting lids. I use these large coffee containers then made them interesting by painting flowers with acrylic paint. You don’t have to be a Van Gough. Just have fun with it.
As I used water-based paints, I painted a layer of varnish over the top so the paint won’t come off when the jars are washed. The varnish does look a little cloudy on the glass but you can’t see it when the jar is filled.
Store food in a cool area out of direct sunlight. Always wash out jars after they are emptied to prevent any contamination between batches.
Amazon is a good place to look for reviews and finding many types of food in bulk. Click on the individual food items listed at the start of this post or click the link below. (Paid link)
To Save or Print this guide on reusing glass jars to store food, click the button below for the PDF File.
For more information on canning, freezing and drying food try this guide to Food Preservation.
Do you like the idea of growing and preserving your own food? Try this free Homesteading guide.
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