I have a cupboard full of a variety of legumes: black-eyed peas, black beans, red kidney beans, navy beans, barley, lentils in a variety of colors, pinto beans, navy beans, tapioca, etc. However, rather than keeping them in the plastic bags they come in, which makes finding the type of legume that I want hard to find, I remove them from the plastic bag and pour them into plastic containers that I purchased at a supermarket after they have been emptied.
I also found that even though some of the ingredients that I put into a variety of re-purposed jars may be in the very back of a shelf, I can tell by the shape of the jar what legume or seasoning is in it without seeing the label. I have learned the shape of the jars and do not need to see the label anymore.
Interesting story to tell you, I use tapioca for much more than just pudding. As you probably know, rhubarb is a spring I was making a variety of rhubarb recipes: sauce, strawberry rhubarb cobbler, etc. and I thicken the rhubarb with tapioca. I went to the supermarket this past spring; however, I could not find the tapioca, so I asked for help. The rep headed to the refrigerator section and then the puddings and Jell-O. I explained that I did not want pudding but rather I wanted just the tapioca. I said that it resembled coarse salt crystals and if usually found in the baking section of most other supermarkets. I had looked there but did not see it. So, we went back to the aisle where the flour, sugar, seasonings, etc. are all kept and he walked right past the flour and sugar and went to where tapioca pudding is in lunch size snacks. I reiterated that I did not want pudding but rather the raw ingredient. He had no clue and was in the process of telling me that that store does not stock tapioca when I rolled my eyes and tilted my head and suddenly I saw the red and white box on the top shelf between the flour and sugar. I grabbed the box and showed him as I said: “oh THERE it is! Thanks very much for your help!”
Small Organizers for Small Items: Reuse many jars that other foods and sauces come in. Remove the label for the item that was in the jar by soaking the jar in water overnight and then pealing as much of the label that will come off at that time and then spraying Skin So Soft on a paper towel, which easily removes the rest of the glue that held the initial label on the jar (WD-40 also works; however SSS smells better!). I make new labels with the name of the item that I will store that also has a picture of the item and sometimes uses. NOTE: plastic containers are great for legumes of all types and also rice and macaroni; however, because plastic tends to absorb the scent, glass jars are better for herbs and seasonings.
Small jars that initially held mustard, baby food, applesauce, pickle relish, salsa, etc. are great to reuse for items such as:
- Paperclips (one for small and another for large)
- Rubber bands
- Screws, Nuts, bolts, nails (the boxes that they come in always rip)
- Buttons (extras that come with many new shirts and blouses) by color, straight pins
- Seasonings. In fact, I discovered that by using different shaped jars to store seasonings,
it is much easier to find the seasoning or herb because I no longer need to read the labels to know what seasoning or herb but rather the shape of the jar.
The plastic container to the right was from a container of Pupcorn that my dog LOVES. I really like natural sugar; however, it tends to get hard if not kept in an air-tight container. Therefore, I removed the Pupcorn label and stash the bag of natural sugar inside.
Please share the different items that you store in jars that you re-purpose.