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.
Most importantly glass storage containers helps in keeping food products fresh, along with that they also repels food odors, colors, and bacteria which helps in maintaining the real taste of food even after it is stored for weeks.
Gayle Costner says
Hi! I just found your website and love it! I was reading your helpful hints regarding the Instant Pot and in your list of available models I noticed that you haven’t included the model that many of us have: the Instant Pot Ultra. I have the 3,6 and 8 quart sizes and love them! You don’t have to remember to seal the lid because it does so automatically. Also the graph on the display area shows exactly where you are in the cooking process.
Thank you for your informative and lovely site; I will be back!
Love your site. Been very helpful.
One question regarding glass. I love glass to, but recently sent my kids to school after many years of homeschooling. What container would you send a 6 year old to school with?I am a bit concerned about him being too rough with his bag.
Natalie, when the boys were that age I used little metal lunch containers, I think they were called lunchbots or something like that :-)
I love glass, but I have 2 questions. How do you scoop and measure without making a mess? And what do you freeze in? I’ve tried glass but even if I leave head space it frequently breaks. Thanks!
Tracy, for items that I buy in bulk like almond flour, I use one gallon glass jars with a wide mouth lid and I use a 1/2 cup to scoop out the flour. I freeze bone broth in glass frequently. I only fill a 4 cup mason jar with 3 cups and don’t have any breakage problems :-)
Susan (in Australia) says
When I put my glass containers in the freezer as well as leaving some head room I don’t screw the top on until after it has frozen. Then if I haven’t left enough head room it still has room to expand.
Susan, that is a great idea :-)
hi . I have gotten some mason jars but in time the lids rust, now what ?
Lynn, thanks for your comment! I replace the lids when they get rusty :-)
There are both plastic and silicone replacement lids available for mason jars.
Susan Z. says
Long before I understood the health and environmental benefits, I simply enjoyed the aesthetics of glass storage. My Bubbe was a collector of refrigerator glass containers and I just love them and continue to pick them up at tag and estate sales. Here on the east coast they can still be found for a song. Love them!
Susan Z. says
PS All my grandmother’s sets from the 1930’s depression era remain chip-free and have not cracked or have had any issues. It’s a pity that substandard BPA-laden plastic is the standard go-to when there are so many inexpensive alternatives available.
Susan, those are EXACTLY my sentiments. Thanks for being an awesomely faithful reader :-)
Susan, thanks for another wonderful comment! My Bubby also conserved and taught me so much about running a kitchen in a healthy and efficient way :-)
Hi Elana, I just wanted to stop and say thank you for all of your amazing and easy recipes. I’ve never left a comment but always come to your site for recipes. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis several years ago and a paleo diet is a way of life for me now. I appreciate that you take the time to reply to everyone who comments too, that shows you truly care. You’re a true diamond in the rough!
Sarah, thanks so much for your wonderful comment! I’m so glad that you are enjoying my recipes and that you find them amazing and easy :-)
Jeff Stroud says
I have been collecting glass jars from other products for ages, friends and family look at me like I am nuts. Hey thats what the jars are for organizing the nuts, spices, etc.
Thank you for sharing this… good work!
Jeff, I couldn’t agree with you more!
The storage of plastic storage containers has always confounded me! Glass stores away in such a neat and tidy way.
Julie, it’s really the tidiest, isn’t it?!
What do you use for lids and how often do you replace the lids?
Janet, thanks for your comment! I use BPA-free mason jar lids and replace them whenever they get rusty :-)
Thank you, Elana, for all your great info and recipes. Since I have IBS I have been trying to find the best way of eating for me. I thought maybe vegetarian or vegan might work but with this bowel condition I don’t digest legumes or whole grains well. I have two of your books and have made a number of recipes in them and I’m digging deeper into your Paleo cookbook now. I believe the paleo way of eating is what will work best for me. Thank you for sharing your life issues and how you are solving them with us. You are such an encouragement!
Judy, thanks for your inspiring comment! I’m so happy to hear you are enjoying my books and I hope you’ll keep me posted on your progress :-)
I failed to mention that at my Dr’s orders I, too, have removed plastic from my storage shelves and fridge. I have hormone issues and I know plastic can be a hormone disrupter. I feel like my food stored in the glass containers is “cleaner” than what used to be stored in plastic. I need to obtain more jars of varying sizes and I, too, like the look of the organized shelves.
Thanks again for your inspiration to give the paleo way of eating more of a go.
Judy, that’s one great doctor you have :-)