You may not know this about me but I’m a bit of an organizing fanatic. Whether it’s keeping the aesthetic of this website clean and user-friendly, or storing leftovers in my refrigerator, I like my surroundings to be very orderly.
One of my favorite organizing tools is glass mason jars. I’ve been a mason jar devotee since the early 1990’s when I took my Ayurvedic training in New York City. Back then we were taught the principles of healthy cooking and food storage and those have stayed with me over the years. I’m still a total enthusiast when it come to glass. The first thing they often say when they walk in my kitchen is, “Why do you have so many glass jars?!” Here you’ll find out why glass is better than plastic!
1. Glass is Healthier than Plastic
I avoid plastic as much as possible for a number of reasons. First, plastic is made of petrochemicals that are full of toxic endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC’s) known as xeno-estrogens. These chemicals can leach into your food and then your body.
2. Glass is Cheaper
Plastic containers cost a pretty penny. Glass on the other hand is cheaper and a better investment. This sturdy material lasts much longer than plastic. If you don’t want to buy glass jars, you can collect them. It still blows my mind that every time we finish a jar of almond butter or coconut oil, a beautiful piece of glass remains. Save for a year and you’ll have an entire matching set!
3. Easy to Organize
Glass containers are super easy to organize. Your struggle to find matching lids for plastic containers will be a thing of the past when you switch to glass.
4. Easy to Clean
Because of its solid and sturdy surface glass is a breeze to clean. You won’t scrub away at glass until it deteriorates and leaches into your food!
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5. Won’t Melt in Dishwasher
Unlike plastic, glass can be safely washed at high temperatures.
6. Doesn’t Stain
Glass doesn’t stain. Unlike plastic, this sturdy material does not absorb oils and spices. I love that I can drink a Golden Turmeric Latte out of a mason jar, then place it in the dishwasher, and pull it out looking brand new!
7. No Flavor Trespassing
Plastic is not a durable substance. Its pliability makes it absorb and retain odor. I wouldn’t want to store my Mustard Lime Chicken in a plastic container. The plastic would smell like the savory mustard and chili in this recipe no matter how much I washed it. Who needs lingering food odors in their storage containers? Everything tastes better in glass.
8. Mystery Food in the Back of the Fridge? No Thanks!
I like to see what’s in my fridge. Visibility makes that space so much easier to maintain. Who wants mystery foods concealed by plastic hiding out in the back of the fridge, turning into a science experiment?! Not me.
9. Saves Space
Glass is fantastic when it comes to using vertical storage space. Tall mason jars fill my fridge shelves and pantry taking up less horizontal real estate by occupying the vertical spaces in our fridge, pantry, and cabinets.
10. Glass is Beautiful
Yes, glass is beautiful. Glass is gorgeous and aesthetically pleasing. Our fridge looks like a work of art when I’m done cleaning it out and organizing it.
Buy Glass for Your Kitchen
These are my favorite jars for storage!
And here are some great pieces that can go from fridge to oven to table!
This post is an oldie but goodie from the archives, I first published it in 2008.
Great post! I refuse to put plastic in the dishwasher and have for years. I use glass for all food storage and I got rid of all my plastic, thank goodness! You’ve been a big proponent of glass on your site for a long time. Thank you for helping to spread the word about how great glass storage is!
I too am pretty fanatical about organizing my pantry and fridge.
Frances, thanks for your wonderful comment and for recognizing my efforts to promote the use of glass and healthy living all around :-)
Happy New Year 2015 Elana, and thank you for all the wonderful posts on how to make REAL food. Can’t tell you how many times I have been disappointed when I see a dish someone has posted on Facebook only to open the recipe have have it read, “open a can of this” or “add a package of that”!!!! I know when it’s one of your recipes, no changes need be applied. I have been using glass for many years now too, and keep those plastic containers for organizing arts and craft materials, or nuts and bolts out in the garage. I took it a step further though and got rid of ALL my plastic utensils meant to be used when cooking and have replaced them with stainless steel utensils. Looking forward to more wonderful recipes in 2015!!
Kitt, thanks for your lovely comment!
You can get a white plastic (I know,)covers for canning jars.
Great idea! I have never thought of using mason jars in the fridge, but it makes so much sense, especially as we try to eliminate plastic from our lives.
Hi Elana, First of all thank you for sharing all of your wonderful recipes and for this great idea using glass vs. plastic. I’ve been saving my glass jars and reusing for food storage in the frig for awhile now. A friend suggested to me years ago that it was much better in keeping food fresher and, like you said, you can see it easier than in a plastic container. I like that it doesn’t hold the smell after something pungent had been stored in the glassware.
Maureen, I agree! Glass is best :-)
Glass is awesome, but I recently read that the metal lids contain BPA…?
Terra, we buy BPA-free lids :-)
In this regard, do they make canning/mason jar lids that aren’t plastic? Even if the lids are BPA-free, doesn’t the plastic still contain petrochemicals/ toxic (EDC’s/ xeno-estrogens? Thank you! Love your website!
Michelle, thanks for your comment! I use metal lids for our mason jars and link to them above :-)
Elana do you store your nuts and dried fruit in the fridge or freezer for longer keep? That’s why I haven’t moved those items into glass yet (everything else I have is stored on glass) but with limited freezer/fridge space is still pit my bulk nuts in the plastic bags :-( I hope to some day have a large enough fridge but living in our apartment our fridge is so small.
Brittany, yes I keep all of our nuts and seeds in glass jars in the fridge so their oils don’t go rancid :-)
I started storing most food items in glass jars ever since I had a nasty experience with food moths! So, another plus of glass containers is well-sealed food and less likelihood of getting these nasty creatures in your food ;)
Liliya, that is a great point :-)
It depends on where you live. I have to keep almost everything refrigerated because Florida is so hot and humid. Glass is heavy and it shatters. As I get older, there are days when I can’t seem to keep a grip on anything. However, if you are preserving/vacuum-packing, then yes, I would go with glass. These days, at least around here, it is easier and cheaper to find plastic.
Christine, thanks for your comment!
I like using glass to store nuts and seeds in the pantry too. I just started collecting glass jars as we use them. Since so many things come in glass jars, I can’t justify just plain out buying them. They aren’t that cheap here, but maybe I’ll go check out the local thrift stores and see if I can find some on occasion.
Amy, thanks for your comment!