I hate being wasteful and insist on running a tight ship at home. My family knows better than to crank down the air conditioner or allow the garden hose to run willy-nilly. Planning the week’s menu is also a waste-reducer; I’m mindful of using up all the fresh food in the refrigerator bins before spoilage sets in. A couple times a week, I haul out all the leftovers and reserve them in a creative way – or simply sell the mess to my hungry kids as a “smorgasbord sampler plate.”
So, with all of this earth-friendly economizing, you won’t be surprised to learn that I love to recycle and repurpose items. With America Recycles Day coming up in November, it’s the perfect time to make a plan for all those left over Litehouse Food’s salad dressings jars that have accumulated in my recycle bin. Whether you choose to recycle or repurpose glass jars, join me in giving Mother Earth a great big hug by keeping these containers out of the trash. In one week alone, Americans throw away enough glass to fill up a 1,350-ft building – a shocking statistic considering it takes glass 1 million years to fully biodegrade!
Removing Labels from Litehouse Jars
There are a few steps to take before giving empty dressing bottles a second life. Rinse out any food residue in the sink and then run the bottles through the dishwasher. I’ve found that removing the label is easier on a warm bottle. Carefully peel off the label sticker right after the dishwasher cycle or use a hair dryer to loosen up the adhesive. If any sticky residue remains, a cotton ball soaked in something like vinegar, WD-40, baby oil or Goof-Off helps to rub off stubborn adhesive. Also, use a dull knife to lift up and remove the paper liner under the lid.
Litehouse Jar Salad
In past posts, I’ve used cleaned-up salad dressing jars (wide-mouth) as casually chic drinking glasses for smoothies and other beverages. The jar salads I’ve traditionally pack in mason jars for a portable lunch would work in washed out dressing jars just as well. Glass jars also make great food storage containers that never stain or leach plastic chemicals into food when microwaved (remove the lids). I also like to create thoughtful, homemade gifts for the holiday season with repurposed Litehouse Food’s dressing jars. Here are two easy ideas that even the kids can help with:
Homemade Bath Salts in Repurposed Litehouse Jar
Fancy Spa Bath Salts: Clean out a bottle as described above and spray paint the lid in the color of your choice. Using stick-on crystal designs available at most large craft stores, create a blinged-out facade to fill with pre-purchased bath salts – use one color of bath salts or layer with multiple colors. These pampering bottles of bath salts make pretty teacher gifts that a child can help assemble.
Infused Vinegar in Repurposed Litehouse Jar
Infused Vinegars: Not only are herb-embellished vinegars gorgeous displayed in the kitchen, they add a special flavor twist to salad dressings, marinades and sauces. To make a bottle of infused vinegar, you’ll need to give the container an extra good cleaning by bringing it to a boil in a stock pot filled with water. After the bottle has been sterilized, add a couple tablespoons of fresh or dried herbs (including any variety of Litehouse Food’s Instantly Fresh Herbs) and top off with vinegar – white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar, rice vinegar or whatever you prefer! Screw on the cap tightly and place in a dark pantry to steep for two to four weeks. Once the desired flavor has developed, strain out the herbs and pour infused vinegar into newly sterilized bottles. Vinegars will keep for four to six months in the pantry; or even longer in the refrigerator. Be creative and come up with exotic combinations! My bottle is made with lime and lemon peel and kicked up with Litehouse Food’s Instantly Fresh Ginger.