This Make-Ahead Breakfast Brilliantly Uses a Nearly Empty Jam Jar

published Jul 17, 2023
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Nearly empty jam jar.
Credit: Kelli Foster

There are few things that make me feel more victorious in the kitchen than finding super-smart ways to use up leftovers and repurpose ingredients. Like using leftover lemon peels for broth, using pickle juice as a marinade, and freezing the last of the coffee for coffee iced cubes

So what to do when you have an almost empty jar of jam? One option is an easy jam jar vinaigrette (although I think that’s much better with an almost-empty mustard jar). Instead, I’ve got a way better idea for you. It requires barely any effort, just a couple minutes of time, and rewards you by making the morning a whole lot easier.

Credit: Kelli Foster

Use a nearly empty jam jar to make overnight oats.

It can feel totally impossible to get every last drop of sticky jam from the jar (yes, I’ve tried). Even with your skinniest spatula, there are always some little bits left under the rim or stuck in crevices. And there’s no sense in letting it go to waste — especially when there are so many sweet ways to use it up.

Before rinsing and repurposing that jar as a storage container, use it for a batch of make-ahead overnight oats. Simply add about an equal amount of old-fashioned rolled oats and your milk of choice, a spoonful of Greek yogurt, a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and chia seeds (if you like), and a pinch of kosher salt. And if you like your oats on the sweeter side, you can always add a splash of maple syrup or squeeze of honey (although you likely won’t need it). Seal the lid on the jar and give it a really good shake to mix everything together. This will pull the jam off the bottom and sides of the jar so it gets mixed into the oats and sweetens them just enough. Refrigerate overnight, then in the morning give the oats another stir and dig in. This works with absolutely any variety of jam, jelly, preserves, or fruit spread.

It’s a good morning when breakfast is waiting for you. And even better when it’s a jar of creamy oats, lightly sweetened and flavored with your favorite fruit jam. After eating your overnight oats, then you can wash out that jar and repurpose it for storing dry goods in the pantry.