The Surprising Office Supply I Use in the Kitchen Almost Every Day

published Apr 15, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

I have written about my famously weak hands before. And here I am … back at it again. See, I have a hard time squeezing lemons, holding up heavy bowls for scraping, and opening jars. I especially struggle with that last one. Whether I’m trying to open a bottle of kombucha (Health-Ade, I love you so, but your tiny screw-on caps are nearly impossible!) or bust into a jar of harissa paste, I know I’m gonna need some help. Which brings me to my most-used and most-surprising kitchen tool: the humble rubber band.

You may be yelling at me right now: “What about those rubber jar opener gripper thingies made to help with these exact situations?!?” I’ve tried them. So many of them. Too often, they just spin and spin, around the lid, without actually being grippy enough to twist the lid. They’re just too big. And that got me thinking about rubber bands! They’re smaller, grippier versions!

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Out of sheer desperation a few years ago, I twisted a skinny rubber band around the cap of a jar of my beloved kombucha. The band was just bulky enough for me to grab, and just grippy enough to hold onto the cap as I twisted. With barely any effort, I was in. I couldn’t have been more proud. I’ve opened every Health-Ade bottle the same way ever since.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Beyond kombucha, I use rubber bands to open jars of mustard, pickles, olives, pasta sauce, that harissa paste I mentioned, and more. (With “more” meaning every single jar that comes into my kitchen.) Sometimes, the rubber bands need to be carefully looped around the lid, adding extra bulk, which I find helpful. Sometimes (like with this jar of Grey Poupon), the band stretches just enough to fit perfectly around one time — and I still find that it works!

Credit: Sarah Crowley

If you, like me, have a surplus of rubber bands in your home office, take note. I’ve gathered up a bunch, in various sizes, and keep them stashed in my kitchen’s junk drawer. I love that they don’t take up much space and that I can arm myself with a bunch of options, which I can pull from based on the jar at hand. I also love that I found a new use for a pile that was just collecting dust on my desk. And I love that I no longer give myself headaches from straining to open marinated artichokes!

How do you open all of your toughest jars? Tell us in the comments below.