6 Groceries I Buy for the Packaging Because They’re Major Storage Gems

published Mar 10, 2023
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A variety of jars used for storage in an open kitchen cabinet
Credit: Leela Cyd

I do not live a zero-waste lifestyle — I would say I’m zero-waste aspirational, at best. I don’t feel too guilty about buying disposable things I need, but I do get a huge kick out of reusing something destined for the recycling bin or trash. 

I’m always on the hunt for grocery packaging that can find new life as storage solutions. I would much rather spend an extra dollar or two on delicious French yogurt than drop the $200 I will inevitably spend on empty bins if I so much as walk by The Container Store

Here are my favorite groceries with packaging to repurpose and how I give them a second life.

Adams Peanut Butter → Specialty Flour Container

The 36-ounce jars of Adams Peanut Butter are perfect for specialty flours, such as rye, almond, or spelt. They’re also a great size for snacks from Trader Joe’s. The wide mouth makes it effortless to scoop out what I need, and the clear jars make it easy to see when it’s time to restock. Plus, removing the label is a breeze with this simple hack

I prefer the jars with gold lids because they don’t have the Adams logo on them. I’m reusing, but it doesn’t have to be obvious. 

La Fermière Yogurt → Small Serving Storage

I have a teenage boy in the house, which means ice cream often disappears before I have a chance to taste it. If you, too, live with someone who eats faster than you, La Fermière Yogurt jars are perfect for storing small servings. I add a masking-tape label with “Mom’s!” scrawled across it, but a less passive-aggressive labeling system would also work. 

I also use them to store leftover chopped herbs, olives, and — appropriately, I think — homemade yogurt. They’re also perfect for individual banana puddings. They even have a whole page on their website dedicated to reusing the yogurt pots. For $11.99, you can order a set of bamboo lids for these cuties. 

Simply Organic Spices → Spices

I firmly believe that the only way to store spices is in a drawer, and the Simply Organic brand is perfect for it. Their containers are glass with a wide-enough rim for my teaspoon to fit inside, and they have flat backs, so they don’t roll around in my spice drawer. Plus, the labels are minimalist and clear, so I don’t even have to remove them. 

Mason Jars → Freezer Containers

We often have an abundance of leftover coconut oil jars. They’re especially great in the freezer, and in ours they house leftover chicken stock, single servings of soups, apple cider, and more. An unexpected perk is that the entire top shelf of my freezer contains items of the same height, making it easy to pop a sheet pan with scones or cookie dough to freeze on top of the jars. 

Earth’s Best Baby Food Jars → Pesto 

We can never eat basil as fast as I grow it, so I make huge batches of pesto and freeze them in Earth’s Best baby food jars, the perfect size for a single serving of pesto. Red Star Active Dry Yeast jars work, too. 

Truff Brand Sauces and Oils → Open-Shelving Containers

A lid shouldn’t make so much difference, but the quirky geometric tops of Truff hot sauce and truffle oil make these grocery-store finds pretty enough to display on an open shelf. I find Truff at Whole Foods, but you can also order it online. The lids come in red, black, and white, and I would honestly buy these empty — they’re so sleek.  

Reusing doesn’t have to look like martyrdom! What are your favorite groceries to repurpose without compromising on aesthetics?