Les Jars


I hope for your sake that you’re nothing like me. If you are, you’ve probably saved every single glass jar that’s ever crossed your path. (Don’t even get me started on reusable plastic containers, which merit a whole separate post.) Once something lands in my apartment, it’s there for the duration. Someone once attempted to give me a smackdown for advising my favorite people in the world, my readers, to cover their cookie dough in plastic wrap.

But little did she know that I’ve been using the same sheets of plastic wrap, and plastic bags, since my arrival in Paris many years ago, which I rinse and dry methodically. Believe me, if a plastic bag or jar ever exits my threshold, it’s destined for only one place, and that’s the Smithsonian.

jar collection

I have two areas in my apartment specifically dedicated to the preservation of glass jars. One is for jars I use for jams and jellies, and the other is for jars I’ve used for pickles, kimchi, and other things that are stinky. And nary the two shall meet: we all, somehow, have learned to co-exist in my tiny garret.

I am an avid jam-maker and I always make jars and jars of jam with whatever fruit happens to be copious at the market. It’s a bit of a sickness and like my cabinet that’s a jumble of plastic containers, I’d need to increase the bandwidth here to let you know what’s going on in my refrigerator. When giving away my overload, I choose which jar goes to whom; if it’s a particularly pretty or interesting jar, it goes to someone I really like. If it’s a dinky jar, it’s for someone I don’t know all that well, but still want to give them a taste of the jam.

(If you don’t get anything, well, you know where you stand. Sorry)

ziploc bag

A lot of jars, especially in France, are pretty distinctive, French Dijon mustard jars come to mind. And in France, Bonne Maman jams and marmalade come in attractive ribbed jars with wide mouths which make them easy to refill with your own confiture du jour. Plus the labels come off easily after only a brief soaking.

To jar fanatics like me, there is absolutely nothing more annoying than those labels that don’t slide off after a few moments of soaking, meaning those of us with OCD (obsessive confiture-jar disorder) have to scrape them with our fingernails and get all that icky glue stuck underneath them. (My kingdom for a gallon of Goo Gone. I lent ‘someone’ my bottle of it a while back, and haven’t seen it since. And yes, that same ‘someone‘ does get a majority of my jam—on a regular basis.)

working glasses

(On an dubiously tangential note, it’s funny that Americans have co-opted French jam jars for use as drinking glasses, which somehow got dubbed French “Working” Glasses. I’d defy anyone to go into a French home and not find at least one long-emptied mustard jar being used as a glass—which I’ve seen called a “verre à whisky”, with the distinctive swirl of ridges. So I guess mustard jars are okay, but those “working” glasses definitely don’t “work” for anything but storing jam: drinking out of one is considered un peu bizarre. And speaking of bizarre, there’s a new trend in Paris to serve soup in canning jars. What the enfer is up with that? I don’t mean to offend anybody, but if we can’t drink from your jars, then you can’t eat soup from them either.)

maille mustard maille mustard

I often ride my bike down the Quai des Celestins since it has a bike path and is marginally safer than riding on the suicidal thoroughfare. It’s actually not all that safe as the Midas muffler shop regularly has cars double-parked and if you’re taking in the scenery and forget, and don’t swerve away quickly, you’ll likely to fly over the handlebars and plaster yourself on the side of a Citroën. There’s a great shop on the corner, agreeably called Cornershop Diffusion, and the brightly lit window filled with Danish flatware and other modernist goodies always makes me stop, gradually, to take a look.

I keep hoping that my sleek—but somewhat unusable…at least according to my resident jam-eater, Arne Jacobsen flatware will one day be on sale, so I can add a few more pieces. Including that elusive—and pricey…bouillon spoon that I seem to be missing, that may, or may not, have gotten swiped. If you’re out there and have a single Georg Jensen bouillon spoon in your possession, and don’t get any jam from me, well, I hope you’re enjoying that spoon.

One recent evening I was riding by and, as usual, I slowed down when passing their brightly illuminated window, looking for my flatware en promotion. Since I’m an optimist, hope springs eternal, but I haven’t seen it yet. Yet illuminated in the window were these graceful, charming jar tops. I gently squeezed the brakes, not wanting to risk of flying over the handlebars, because I knew that life again was worth living when I discovered yet another, and rather creative, use for my reusable jars.

So the other day, I took a walk over there to get them. When the clerk showed me the box, I noted, rather incongruously, that there was quite a bit of packaging involved to wrap these five jar tops, which I presume was meant to be a ‘green’ gesture. There was a box, a cardboard slotted holder for the lids inside, plus two reinforced cardboard side holders, and each screw top was individually wrapped in plastic. And there was an instructions book. Raise your hand if you need instructions for screwing a lid on a jar.


But since I was riding a bike, not driving, I figured I was neutralizing mon empreinte carbone so I bought them. What was funny was when after I paid, the clerk reached for a bag while I was simultaneously opening my reusable shopping tote, to take them home. “Il faut!” I said, (“It’s a must!”) and we both had a good laugh as he slid the box into my nylon sack. And now I’ve got five jars with new lids, and new lives.

Cornershop Diffusion
3, rue Saint-Paul (4th)
Tél: 01 42 77 50 88

Related Links and Posts

Royal VKB (Jar Tops)

How to Find Food and Other Items I Mention on the Website

Cookware Shops in Paris

No Recipe Cherry Jam

Cheesecake Baked in Little Jars (Chez Pim)

Five Extra-Pretty Canning Jars (The Kitchn)

Coconut Rice Pudding (delicious:days)

Rhubarb-Berry Jam

Weck Canning Jars (Heath Ceramics)

Christine Ferber’s Strawberry-Lemongrass Jam (Wednesday Chef)

Le Glaneur

How to Make French Vinaigrette

Never miss a post!


  • Vicki B
    June 27, 2010 10:23am

    You have successfully made it chic to be a compulsive jar collector! I can’t stand to toss a glass jar into the recycle. What I really covet is some of these http://www.weckcanning.com/

  • Susan
    June 27, 2010 10:42am

    I am also a jar hoarder, however, my very favorite storage containers are those working glasses. Crate and Barrel also sells the lids separately, so I’m able to get the glasses at the thrift store when I come across them..which is fairly often. ( I don’t understand why anyone would discard them.) Like you, I still need the jars for sharing the jams that I make with in season fruit and ice cream sauces, too. This sounds a little nuts, but I have a couple of people save their jar lids for me. I find that jar lids get a little scraped up and rusty looking around the edges after a lot of use and I get leary of them, so the lid hoarding keeps the jars in service. I save the plastic bread bags that I occasionally get, and the shower caps from hotels for use as bowl covers. Can’t have enough of those!

  • June 27, 2010 11:13am

    Back when I was young, it was “in” to use the small Nescafe Instant Coffee jars for drinking. Yes, we use instant coffee over this part of the world. Today, some people still do, only the glass styles are different..

    I too hoard these recyclables, from olives to peanut butter and to tostitos dip jars. I love them all. I also recycle, styropore supermarket packagings. I just keep them around, just in case. Other things I recycle are aluminum foils, just wash and dry and keep. I do the same to Zip locks.

    But I am surprised you do. I didn’t expect that a man as sophisticated and ‘bon vivant’ as yourself recycle.

    Cheers to all of us!

  • Sophia
    June 27, 2010 11:21am

    I can’t believe the timing of this post. I’ve just spend the last hour searching high and low for the quart size Bormioli jars I bought last year at Container Store in order to store iced coffee concentrate. They are nowhere. Completment disparu. With my canning jar lifters that I needed yesterday when I turned my just-picked strawberries into la confiture.

    Iced Coffee

    Time: 5 minutes, plus 12 hours’ resting

    1/3 cup ground coffee (medium-coarse grind is best)

    1. In a jar, stir together coffee and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or 12 hours.
    2. Strain twice through a coffee filter, a fine-mesh sieve or a sieve lined with cheesecloth. In a tall glass filled with ice, mix equal parts coffee concentrate and water, or to taste. If desired, add milk.
    Yield: Two drinks.

  • June 27, 2010 12:20pm

    To Remove Stickiness from Old Labels


    To remove the stickiness from long gone labels, smear the spot generously with vegetable oil and leave on over night. The next morning it should scrub off. Some persistent glues need a second oiling. This always works.

    You’re not a glass jar hoarder, you are a recycler magnifique!


  • Shirley in Berkeley
    June 27, 2010 12:52pm

    Holy moly!! For I second I thought a picture of the jars collection in the bottom of our pantry had somehow gotten into your website — looks like it, even to the Bonne Maman jam jar lid!! We eat a lot of tomatoes in bottles (okay, it’s Organic Classico Pasta Sauce) and cannot bear to throw away the Atlas Mason jars it comes it, so I freecycle them when there’s an embarrassing build-up. We also save all plastic and paper bags, and when they threaten to take over, we take them to our local thrift store. BUT be sure to take a look at bags before you just pass them on. I have found important items that fell off a shelf into a bag (how about that Georg Jensen bouillon spoon?) and EGAD, my husband’s wedding ring was found at last in a plastic bag that must have held wet lettuce! Home is okay, but I DO miss Paris! Thanks for your blog, David!

  • Shirley in Berkeley
    June 27, 2010 1:27pm

    A note about jars odors — the smell usually resides in the lid, not the glass. If you can’t get it out and it’s too gross to ignore (new contents will supplant the old aroma of pickles), just replace the lid and KEEP the precious jar!

  • June 27, 2010 3:49pm

    I have been obsessively collecting all sorts of jars, including any lost soul on kijiji or freecycle who dares give up their own (what are they thinking?!). My husband raises an eyebrow and begins to grumble until I point at the jam in the fridge or the fact that we no longer purchase ‘drinking glasses’. I even have my mother on the hunt for jars for me … to be fair, she’s paid in jam and various marmalades. I’m a little too freaked out by germs to wash out plastic bags so I try to limit their use (what else am I supposed to do with a million jars). I fully approve of jar hoarding!

  • Eileen
    June 27, 2010 6:28pm

    the ziplock bag will dry better and faster if you hang it in the opposite direction.

  • June 27, 2010 9:50pm

    I LOVE this post. I, too, have a similar obsession. I just cannot throw out or even recycle glass jars… they are too useful! When my husbands grandmother passed, I found out that she had the same obsession with glass jars. So on top of my glass jar over-flowing pantry (something I once thought I would use only for food), I have boxes and boxes of glass jars in my attic… which by the way I got some really cool old ones such as GLASS!! Skippy and Peter Pan Peanut Butter jars, Tang and my favorite Ball blue jars.

    I use them for everything…. besides when I make my years supply of local strawberry jam… I use them for storing leftovers, gifts of herbs dug up from my garden, seashells, sea-glass, baked gifts, granola, pasta, grains, bulk coffee and teas… LOVE glass jars :)

    Oh, yes… and I wash out my baggies/ziplocks (in fact I don’t buy them… only reuse what others give me) and I do the same with the plastic wrap. ;)

    Now only if I lived in Paris…

    Off to dream :D

  • Margaret Pilgrim
    June 27, 2010 10:02pm

    Hmmm. I have forced my husband to eat yogurt at every breakfast in France in order to acquire the maximum number of those sweet little jars with the snap-on lids so useful for…????. We also have finally assembled with greater difficulty a set of 8 of the smaller Maille mustard glasses, which, damn!, they have discontinued. It is this short style-life of bottles and jars that makes us such compulsive collectors.

  • Sara
    June 27, 2010 10:21pm

    Many a Texas Southern style restaurant use Mason Jars to serve iced tea.

    My Granny Melba was a great jar collector, and to my husband’s dismay, I have a great collection. My faves are Polar Jam ( mini urn), Pomm Iced tea ( straight, tall glass that is great for making salad dressing- the lid pops back on well), and Inglehoffer Mustards ( short squatty and great for spices).

    Love your blog.

  • Sheila
    June 27, 2010 11:10pm

    Hi, labels will come off jars easily if you use eucalyptus oil or tea tree oil.

  • June 28, 2010 1:51am

    It’s so funny you mentioned Cornershop this week! I was just there for a Designer Days event as they carry our glass baby bottles and water bottles. The store is just around the corner from our apartment so when I am in Paris, I too love to go there to “window lick”. The owners, Bridget and her partner are very nice. If you like to drink out of glass (but not necessarily jars), ask them to show you the new glass and silicone covered water bottles and tell them I am a fan of yours!

  • lee
    June 28, 2010 5:25am

    I remember years back there was a news story talking about how people were getting sick because of the printing on bread sacks, which were being reused by many for lunch sacks. The newscaster seemed to think reuse was a bit bizarre; how times have changed!

    I switched brands of jam to a cheaper brand with fewer ingredients (and it tastes better) than the one my mother buys and the jars it has have handles. I found they are so very useful. I have pierced a few of the lids with an awl and hammered the undersides flat so I have shaker lids. the handle helps when my hands are slippery and I find them very useful for sprinkling. I have made them with different sized holes for different mixtures.

    The other use for those jars is for when I buy spices from the Indian store. My other spice jars were much too small. Fortunately I am going through the spices at a good clip so they are not going stale, which I feared when I bought them.

    I made my grandmother a little stand out of pretty scrap wood for drying her plastic bags. It seemed to work well, and it is decorative.

  • June 28, 2010 6:33am

    Hmmm. I thought this was an article about male geese — that’s the definition of jars, in French. ; )

  • Toni
    June 28, 2010 6:38am

    David, I don’t know if anyone’s mentioned this yet, but I’ve found the best way to get rid of the sticky residue left on jars is by using nail polish remover. I’m sure most sorts of alcohol-based products could do the trick!

  • lee
    June 28, 2010 7:29am

    Citrus solvent, not those citrus cleaners, but 100% Orange Oil which I get for wood working, does nicely one some of those residues. I also have a bottle of very cheap vodka which works well on others.

  • June 28, 2010 7:55am

    Hej David!

    Now that I read your post I am obsessing over the Luminarc Working Glasses with lids. The Amazon seller doesn’t ship to Sweden and I can’t find a retailer in Europe.

    Any ideas?

  • ashley stone
    June 28, 2010 8:31am

    i love the gingham on the bonne maman jars too! though i also adore the heleos brand jam jars. the tops of the jars have cute pictures of the fruit flavor that’s inside. is there not recycling in paris?

  • June 28, 2010 11:39am

    I’m guessing, given the number of fellow jar-hoarders here, that I’m not the only person who has been known to buy something for the jar rather than for the product inside! The positive side is that I can sometimes justify purchasing a “designer” jar of jam if I count the jar as part of the cost!

    My jams and empty jars have recently been relegated to our spare bedroom for storage, as we simply don’t have enough room in the kitchen to keep them all.

    I wish I could find Maille mustard here in L.A. for a reasonable price. They had it at Surfas for a while, but then they moved to a giant (as in, 2 or 3 L) jar of it for $40 or so… no more Maille for me!

  • Jeff H (Los Angeles)
    June 28, 2010 12:35pm

    Ah! My kindred souls! Not just jar hoarders, but plastic bag reusers! I don’t think about it anymore, but this post made me realize I haven’t bought plastic bags in probably 6 years. My partner hated it initially, but could never counter my argument that the bags were still good, especially after I’d washed them and he couldn’t tell the difference between a new bag and an old bag. Same with the jars, but with five fruit trees, I’m always in need of empty ones, and canning jars can get expensive. The lime tree alone last year gave us 14 jars of marmalade, not counting the lime curds and tarts and limeade. And the juice stored in the freezer in — you guessed it — recycled freezer bags.

  • June 28, 2010 12:35pm

    ashley: There’s recycling (except for plastic bags) but I’m doing my own bit of recycling. Right here at home!

    margie: Try Amora brand. It’s another commonly-found French mustard that is pretty popular in France.

    Mother Sweden: Check at the end of the post for tips on ‘How to find things mentioned on the website’.

    Pam: Interestingly, I walked by there last Sunday when they were closed. But they had my flatware in the window..for €69 for a set of 5. And they had bouillon spoons, too!

    Sophia: I tried making that cold-brewed coffee once and mine didn’t turn out. Which is probably a good thing since if it did, I’d be drinking coffee all day long during the sweltering Paris summer. And staring at the ceiling above my bed all night, wide awake!

  • June 28, 2010 1:53pm

    Thank you, David!

    That list is a shopper’s Paradise!

    (Uh, oh…)

  • caroline
    June 28, 2010 2:05pm

    I wish I could hoard jars! It seems the only jarred things I ever buy are pickled, and it is just too difficult to get that smell out. I’ve ruined a few things by storing them in former pickle jars that I thought were completely deodorized.

  • Dean E.
    June 28, 2010 3:29pm

    Thank you for making me feel less strange for keeping bottles. I have tons of dry goods stored in what were originally Bonne Maman jars. Not only are they a convenient size and quite durable, but the lid is attractively appropriate as well. I also keep nicely colored small sake bottles around to re-use for herb infused oils and vinegars. Glass is the greatest!

  • Martha in KS
    June 28, 2010 5:22pm

    I spotted the Bonne Maman jar right off. I use WD-40 to remove gooey labels. Odiferous, but it works! As for removing lids, think RIGHTY TIGHTY, LEFTY LOOSEY. Works everytime.

  • June 28, 2010 6:33pm

    although I buy fromage blanc in 500ml plastic containers, which are the perfect size for giving away a half-batch of ice cream!

    Ditto–when I started making frozen yogurt, I only had one tupperware big enough to hold it. Over the past year, though, I’ve started accumulating empty 1 QT yogurt containers, and it’s a perfect set up: buy 1 QT yogurt in plastic tub; turn yogurt into frozen yogurt; put frozen yogurt back in original yogurt tub!

  • June 28, 2010 6:34pm

    P.S. Before I visit Paris, I’ll have to measure the mouths on the jam/canning jars whose tops have gone missing, so I can get nifty Parisian replacement tops!

  • Lisa W.
    June 28, 2010 6:36pm

    I love Le Parfait jars. And, yes, I buy French jams and things I don’t ever use, like lemon curd, and blood orange jam, just for the jars! I also love Lorina French soda bottles. Tres formidable!

  • June 28, 2010 6:48pm

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one with the jar obsession, which I inherited from my grandmother. Who still will make vats of soup and transfer them into huge pickle jars and give to my mother and neighbors. But to make it even MORE ridiculous, she keeps track of each jar and if you don’t return one, she’ll remind you.

  • Tammy B.
    June 28, 2010 9:00pm

    I am so relieved that I am not alone. If there is a 12-step program, I’m probably not going to attend. : ) And I agree 100% about the label issue. When I label my home made stuff, I use plain old glue stick. The labels just slip right off in water. No hassle to clean off. Okay, so I must confess that I bought a case of pesto for not only the pesto but, the jars as well. The company was going to a different jar and I knew about it in advance. To me, when buying something in a jar you will reuse is a two-buys-in-one deal.

  • sara
    June 28, 2010 10:43pm

    I save a lot of jars! With summer here and three children home all day…we painted our glass jars with glass paint and made them into lanterns. Hmmmm…maybe I should have saved them for that 40 lbs of strawberries we picked!

  • Tonya
    June 29, 2010 12:33am

    With all this talk of hoarding of jar, I think I might join the band wagon. Next time I go to town I am going to look for interesting jars on the shelves. I do have a collection of glass bottles, so when I go to town I can take my own spring water with me in them instead of the plastic ones. Love your post, those mustard jars are beautiful. I wish they sold mustard like that here in the states.

  • June 29, 2010 1:33am

    It is funny that this post was staring up at my from my dashboard. I just finish sterilizing and storing a vast amount of jars as I have been on a jam, jelly and preserve marathon. I am in the process of hunting down a goose feather to get started on my Lorraine Jelly with the white currants in my garden!!! Any advice?

  • diana
    June 29, 2010 5:13am

    My mother has a SHED in the garden only for jars and tomato juice tall glasses. And my (very old) father spends his late winter/early spring scratching the goo away; it’s his thing to do.
    I, on the other hand, recycle: Nice, pretty jars, new lids, bonne mamans et comp stay with me, ordinary honey/pickles/peas etc.- to my mother’s. Ain’t I a charm? But I already have 12 jars of strawberry made-by-myself confiture, and plan to make six more this week-end. All in bonne maman jars!

    I enjoy every single post of yours, they are tasty!

  • June 29, 2010 1:53pm

    This post brought back a flood of memories of my grandparents. Holdovers from the Depression pervaded every corner of their home. My grandpa is the only person I ever knew to wash out, hang dry and reuse his Ziploc bags.

    My grandma saved every plastic butter tub and glass jar to reuse–I can’t say that I have ever reused a Ziploc bag but I certainly got the jar-saving gene (I buy kosher salt by the pound and keep it, ever so appropriately, in an empty pickle jar). She had a few of those confiture jars you linked as “French working jars” (I’ve never heard them called that) that she saved throughout the years (mainly to store leftovers) and they’re actually some of our treasured family heirlooms (and still used for leftovers).

    While it would not occur to me to use them for drinking, I will confess to savoring a cold glass of milk out of a mason jar now and then. I think that’s mainly because I have more of them than I do of drinking glasses especially at the beginning of the year before canning starts again in earnest. :)

  • Michael
    June 30, 2010 2:32am

    Hi David,

    Great post, but I have a warning for you. While the glass jars are not a problem, there are dangers in reusing the plastic materials. Over time, plastics break down and can leach hazardous chemicals into your food or personal environment. Plastics are simply fossil fuels that have been processed. Many things like plastic bags, bottles, etc…are not designed to be used repeatedly, and subjecting them to things like heat simply makes the risk worse.

    Read a book like Cradle to Cradle which talks about this kind of stuff and how most of society doesn’t understand the risks. Of course, it may not be necessarily better to throw them into the environment (I use my plastic bags as trash bags so I never have to buy them), but just be careful in terms of contact with food, drink, etc…

  • June 30, 2010 7:08am

    Hi Michael: Yes, I’ve been reading a lot of the warnings about plastic, and have stopped using plastic water bottles as much as possible (they’re an unfortunate necessity when traveling). I do like glass, and other materials, and use them as much as possible.

    One thing I do…and recommend to others who wish to lead a healthier lifestyle…is to walk everywhere, as much as possible. Not only does it cut down on all the fumes in the air produced by driving (and all the other problems associated with petrolium production), but it’s a good way to stay in shape.

    For me, plastic garbage bags are an unfortunate necessity. The regular shopping bags here are a bit weak and I tried buying the ‘green’ ones, which broke and leaked, prompting me to double up on the bags. So I’ve reluctantly gone back to the thicker ones. I’m still waiting for the city to start a home composting program, too!

  • June 30, 2010 12:12pm

    Expandable kitchen drawers to the rescue!

    I could not help but take pictures when my lunch today was served in canning jars, at least half a dozen! Only dessert and coffee were served on ye olde plate and cup. ;-)

  • June 30, 2010 1:52pm

    Too funny David!
    Yesterday at the NY Fancy Food Show I was given a jar of Braswell’s Select Strawberry preserve and I noticed this morning as I was opening it, it says on the label,
    ‘Preserved in European Drinkware’
    ! ! !
    What goes around comes around it seems..

  • Geraldine Toltschin
    June 30, 2010 6:00pm

    Hi David,
    I’m always astonished with how truly entertaining your posts are! And JARS….well, perhaps I should go shoot a photo of the Garage, or do some explaining!

    Since I’ve CLOSED my little bake shop (insert tear here), I have time to read in depth your posts, something to be said for not working 18 hours a day,. After reading each and EVERY reply to your post on jars, alas, NO ONE said what I have been doing for years. With some of the jar lids I make kids baker’s clay molded to the top, remember I’m a baker. Anyway it’s simple, fun and very entertaining for kids. I do not put color in the clay, simply paint the finished shape with mily to color it naturally and bake away.

    Since the Jerez airport is only a jump away from my house, hopefully next year I’ll spend a lot of time in your marvy city! Thanks for all your Paris informatioin it is truly fantastic.

  • June 30, 2010 6:05pm

    you had me lough out loud, “European Drinkware”! :-)
    At our house, we are using Nutella jars as drinking glasses (they don’t come with a screw-on metal top but a plastic one). They seem to last forever! ;-)

  • July 1, 2010 3:22am

    Merisi> french people think it too (that those glasses last forever).We have a jaded/amused saying with shrugged shoulders for the moment someone drops one of the sturdy glasses on the floor and it finally breaks : é=”bah… c’est comme ça que ça s’use !”, “well… that’s how it wears !” :D

  • July 1, 2010 6:13am

    thank you for that information,
    made me laugh out loud! *giggles*

  • July 1, 2010 7:43am

    David, I recently began reading your blog, having moved to France (Touraine) this time last year. When I saw the post on glass jars, I immediately shared it with a friend who, just days before, said in disgust, “What on earth are you going to do with all these glass jars? They’re just taking up space” USE THEM! I love them, particularly the wide-mouthed jars. I just returned from Italy with large bags of spices like oregano which require larger jars. I’m a great one for making up spice rubs, too, which need containers.

    Oh, want a solution to your adhesive removal? Try non-acetone nail polish remover. Works like a charm–fast and not messy and doesn’t damage glass the way it would plastics. I just used it last night on four creme fraiche jars.

    And one other thought, based on your photograph–try hanging your precious Zip-locs upside down to drain. They’ll dry faster. (And if you know anyone in Austria, they sell the ones with the zipper slide, not just the plastic zipper there. I have a friend who brings me them from Vienna.)

    Thanks for a great blog!

  • Mumsabai
    July 1, 2010 11:24am

    Oh Merci David de partager cette petite obsession avec nous.
    Je vais courrir rue Saint Paul ce WE pour acheter des nouveaux capuchons pour donner une nouvelle vie à mes bocaux !

  • Laura
    July 4, 2010 5:23pm

    I buy that exact same jam with the gingham lid. I recognize the label on the not-peeled one. While the jam is very good and inexpensive (my hubby eats the cherry preserves by the spoonful!), I partially buy it just for the jars so that I have a lovely row of matching jars holding little crafting doo-dads in my craft storage.

  • July 5, 2010 12:57pm

    Hi, I am one of your fans, and glad to know a prominent chef like you also collect jars! I am obsessed with them too. Here is my finding, and hope you would enjoy. Use any oil such as cooking vegitable oils to scrab the sticky grew. It works like magic for almost any kind!! :)

  • July 6, 2010 11:48pm

    We obsessively recycle jars, but always buy new lids. We find the lid seems to harbour most of the aroma from previous fillings, so a new lid allows us to reuse the lime pickle jar for a cherry jam. I also like buying the lids with pop tops that suck in when we hot water process the jars. Sometimes they seal on so tightly that we literally have to break into the jam with a can opener – at least we’re sure nothing is getting in!

    Those Maille mustard jars look divine – we get Maille here, but in nothing so fancy. I think the one in my fridge is a squeezy bottle. And you’re right about jam making – it’s a disease. We make massively more than we could possibly eat – then try and give it away!

  • Mariam
    July 8, 2010 1:40am

    I am that person too! i actually spot some of the jars i have in your pile.

  • July 8, 2010 8:36am

    My family & I started getting into “saving” (collecting) glass and plastic containers from food purchases several months ago. Boy do they add up quickly! But it has been great knowing that I have so many little containers to store things in… I don’t need any plastic or disposable things in my house now. I love the idea of using those lids to make the life of your containers last even longer!

  • Ana
    July 8, 2010 6:36pm

    How timely! After six years back in California, I am finally moving back to France. Last time I stayed in my boyfriend’s tiny flat in Strasbourg, jars of all shapes and sizes had taken over the 40 sq.ft. we were sharing. I am pretty eco-aware (I am a Cali-girl after all) but was driven mad by what seemed like dozens of boxes full of jars (and the absurd amount of disposable cups he also re-uses). Your find has given me new hope and optimism for the future that awaits my soon-to-be husband and myself.
    Thank you!
    P.S. If you need me to drop off a “jar” of GooGone on my way to Strasbourg, just let me know!

  • July 19, 2010 10:22am

    Once I arrived here in France, I noticed that everything in a verre jar, and this luxury don’t exist in my country, Indonesia. So, once I realize about this fact, I went crazy and keep all the empty jars.. I used it from keeping a conserve pickled cucumber to saving a cold expresso!

  • Hillary
    July 19, 2010 5:04pm

    I love jars, too. My drinking glass in the bathroom for the past 15 years has been a Nutella jar (small size). I don’t even know if Nutella is sold in glass jars any more.

    I just discovered your blog and love it. I want to come and live in it!

  • Esther
    August 4, 2010 5:23am

    I just stumbled across the jar-post and am simply enamored about how much love for detail is put into this enchanting piece of writing. I am deeply delighted that apparently there are after all some people who share my “spleens”! Thus I am sending my cordial graditude into the digital void!

  • Susan
    August 4, 2010 1:23pm

    Just a question – can you make jam in a Bonne Maman jar, and use the original lid, or must you buy new lids? I thought with the whole canning sterilization and sealing thing, one should always use new lids?


  • August 4, 2010 5:05pm

    Susan: if you’re going to can and preserve something, through boiling water or another method, I believe you should use new seals. But I’d recommend checking with the USDA or Ball website (or another trusted source) on canning, to verify what’s recommended for safety.

  • August 7, 2010 5:41pm

    ha, ha, that’s a great post David. I found many similarities. I thought my mom and I are the only ones who reuse Ziploc bags. For glass jars, you can never really have enough. I am already out for this season of jam making and have to tell my friends to return the empty ones or they will not get new jams. Also in Germany there is no household who wouldn’t serve you a drink in an old mustard glass.