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PARIS - Back when peanut butter came in glass jars, my mom declared these the best of all savable containers because they were large, sturdy and reliable.
She used them to store bacon grease, for orphan buttons, and in the summer, my dad filled jars with homegrown cucumbers from his garden with vinegar and dill. He used them for storing nails and screws in the garage, too. I dont think a jar was ever thrown out in our house.
Ive also inherited the love of old jars.
Its embarrassing to admit, but my boyfriend and I probably go through at least one jar of jam every week or so, and I save them all.
Ive always used them for making vinaigrettes and storing leftovers, but after seeing one composed salad after another at some of Paris trendy to-go lunch spots, each featuring layers of veggies or grains or legumes, artfully stuffed into clear plastic cups, I thought about a more economical and environmentally friendly way to do the same thing: with repurposed old jars.
Instead of going out to buy that perfect ramekin or cute little dish to make that recipe of chocolate mousse or whatever, just use your old jam jars. I say jam jars, because theyre often fat and squatty, and therefore easy to eat out of, but any wide-mouth jar will do (some salsa jars are great for this).
I now use them for all sorts of things, from making single (and portable) servings of cold salads, like lentil salad with smoked salmon, to stuffing them with plums, cauliflower or chicken and warming them through, like the mini-casseroles they are.
Pick your jars depending on what you plan to do with them. If youre using them for stuffing and traveling, any old jar will do, but if youre using them to cook in, make sure theyre heat-resistant, as canning jars will be.
Besides the obvious money-saving appeal of using jars, theyre cute, especially the ones I find at the flea markets in France. I like to think of it as recycling.
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