The Last Thing You Should Do with an Empty Jar of Pasta Sauce

updated Jun 9, 2021
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Someone holding an empty jar of Rao's Marinara
Credit: Sarah Crowley

What is pasta sauce, if not one of the most versatile pantry staples there is? I always have at least a few jars on our pantry shelves and regularly reach for them for quick dinners. And guess what? The jars themselves are actually just as versatile! Yup, if you use pasta sauce as much as I do, that means you have a steady supply of the very best glass containers. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

The Best Way to Reuse Glass Pasta Sauce Jars

Next time you empty a jar of pasta sauce and swirl water around to clean it out, think twice before you toss it into the recycling bin. Instead, the last thing you should do with your empty jar of pasta sauce is remove the label, so that you have it nice and clean and ready to reuse. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

My favorite way to remove labels from jars is to give them an OxiClean soak. To use this method, fill your sink or another container with warm water and a scoop of OxiClean. Fill your jar with water so it stays submerged and let it soak until the label lifts away from the jar. 

Another way to remove sticky residue is with a bit of coconut oil and baking soda. Rip your label off and then apply coconut oil to the leftover residue. Let it sit for a bit and then sprinkle baking soda onto the oil. Use a sponge to scrub the residue off and rinse clean. 

Anyway, back to the jars: Doing this with every jar of finished pasta sauce will give you a nice collection of versatile jars. The jars are big enough for storing leftover soups and broths (just make sure not to fill them all the way, so the liquid has room to expand as it freezes). I also like to use them for sprouting avocado pits. You can even use one as a giant water glass on your WFH desk, if you’re trying to drink more water.

If you typically buy the same kind of tomato sauce, your jars will be uniform, which is a nice bonus factor if you plan to use them for storage. For instance, I have a set of pasta jars whose lids I painted and labeled; I use them to store dry beans and grains in my pantry. 

Whatever you do with your tomato jars, even if you don’t know what it will be yet, making it a habit to remove their labels as soon as you’ve used the sauce opens up a world of reuse opportunities.

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: The Last Thing You Should Do with an Empty Jar of Pasta Sauce