Glass jars are excellent containers for short and long-term dry food storage. They come in various sizes and shapes, create a great barrier between your food and the outside world, and can be reused again when you’re done! However, they’re not perfect, so we’ll be looking at the pros and cons of storing dry food in glass jars.
Let’s start by taking a look at the advantages of using glass jars.
Glass jars are reusable
One of the best things about buying a glass jar to store your food is that it’s reusable! While most people think of glass as a fragile material, it’s quite durable as long as it’s not placed under extreme stress (such as being dropped). This means that once you buy a glass jar, you can reuse it for years.
No release of toxins in food
Glass does not harbour toxins or bacteria within its chemical makeup that can leach into the food, so no matter how long you store your food, you can expect it to taste the same as when you first stored it. You’ll see no effect on your food if you clean the glass jar thoroughly between uses.
Easy to find and inexpensive
Glass jars are everywhere, so finding a handful to use at home is easy to do. If you want a more aesthetic look, you can buy mason jars from your local homeware shop for a couple of pounds. However, if you’re not fussy, you can reuse old food jars instead of throwing them out.
Provide oxygen and moisture barrier for the dry food
A huge advantage of storing food in glass is that it’s a non-permeable material. This means it doesn’t allow air or water to seep through, like cardboard would, even after a significant amount of time. You don’t have to worry about your food becoming damp and mouldy if you store it in a glass container.
Glass jars are insect and rodent proof
Rats and insects cannot chew their way through a glass container, so anything you store inside them will be safe from contamination. The non-permeable nature of glass also means that there won’t be any smells that could attract these pests, so your food will remain completely safe.
Easy to clean and sterilise
If you plan on reusing your glass jars, they’re very easy to clean. Once your jar is empty, simply give it a quick wash with hot soapy water, and it’s ready to use again. Glass can be completely sterilised at high temperatures, so there’s no worry of lingering bacteria.
However, there are some disadvantages to using glass containers.
No protection from light
While glass jars protect from many things, they do not protect from sunlight. This means they must be stored somewhere protected from light to prevent food deterioration, such as in a cupboard. You can buy coloured glass jars, which help reduce the amount of light that reaches the food but will not keep out all light.
While glass containers are durable if left untouched, you must be careful when handling them. Any small knock or fall will lead to the jar breaking, getting sharp glass everywhere, so always be cautious when handling your jars.
Now that you know how great glass jars are for storing dry food, you’ll be rushing out to buy mason jars to fill. Once you’re done jamming your food into all your new jars, you can kick back and play a game of Jammin Jars to celebrate your new-found food safety.
Jen Lin-Liu is the founder of Black Sesame Kitchen. A Chinese-American writer and a nationally certified Chinese chef in Beijing. Jen is the author of two memoirs, Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China and On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome with Love and Pasta.