How to remove pesky labels and glue from jars


I like to recycle ie reuse ALL my glass jars when I do buy stuff in glass. But how to remove those pesky labels? A good soak in hot water or hot water and soap helps but in most cases, the glue/gum remains on the glass, doesn’t it? Grrrrr. Nail varnish remover and paint thinner are two VERY unecological ways to do away with the labels – banish the thought! (Can you imagine this chemical gunk going down our drains, into the sewers and eventually into the oFullSizeRender-2ceans?). So I tried salt, thinking that its abrasive nature would help AND, it does to some extent but not enough for that perfect and clean glassy look. So I thought about using the ash I harvest from my barbecues (I actually sieve the leftover coals once they have cooled- is that crazy?) and guess what? Ash and wire wool work wonders and within seconds, the toughest glue/gum comes off without a scratch on the glass! Hallelujah!

If you don’t have recourse to ash, salt will have to do. Scrub away!

I have come up with my own pretty labels to affix to these jars, for the freezer or fridge or plain storage or to fill with oils or as wax or..but I digress.

UPDATE: A word to the wise: a lot of labels are now stickers so, before wetting them or steaming/boiling/grating etc, why not try peeling them off? Believe me, it makes the job a whole lot easier!

Step 7: Storage containers for staples


Recycling is not about throwing rubbish into the right recycling containers ( a common misconception in Spain!) but about re-using whatever you have so that you don’t end up throwing anything away, to either be remade in polluting and or energetic ways or to fill landfills. I keep all my dry staples either in shop bought glass jars I bought years and years ago or, reuse jars of items like tomatoes, pesto and cooked legumes that I buy from time to time. You can see that plastic and I have no kinship 😉 and ergo storage doesn’t have to be in plastic containers.


I have seen stainless steel storage containers as well as ceramic, wooden or bamboo ones. The glass, ceramic and metal ones have the added advantage of being useful to store liquids like oil/ vinegar/ milk/soup/water/juices etc in. My fridge fair pops with these 😀

A word of warning re aluminium storage containers – they are best to avoid or you can make sure they are lined in food grade material. When in doubt, AVOID!

I find it convenient to wash and dry herbs and put them in mason/glass jars lined with a cloth, in the fridge. Ginger/ chilli/ onion and garlic go in glass jars too and stay fresh for long like this. In fact, I have a wooden crate full of glass jars and bottles of different sizes to store food items like feta cheese, sauces, vegetable milks and soups as well as the personal hygiene items I make (future posts, I promise!). Believe me, they are VERY handy! I even store food items in glass jars in the freezer and they work pretty well ( make sure to leave some space in every jar, for the moisture to expand in as it freezes). Glass especially mason jars are also so brilliant to store food in, for long term, like sauces, tomatoes, jams, soups etc.

So, let’s live sustainably and re-use what we have!