Homestead Hack: Labeling Glass Jars

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

I’m constantly repurposing glass jars for food storage. Sometimes I use jars that come with the food we buy, sometimes empty canning jars. But having unlabeled food in the pantry or fridge is a problem waiting to happen.

I need to label the food in those jars. But I don’t want to buy disposable labels. Check out today’s Homestead Hack.

I'm a big fan of repurposing glass jars but I need an easy way to label the contents.. Check out today's Homestead Hack. #TexasHomesteader

Repurposed Glass Jars

I’ve used canning jars and pickle jars. Big jars and small jars. Heck they’re all beautiful to me!

I’ve moved to plastic-free food storage in my refrigerator. I like that plastic is not touching our food.

I prefer to store our food in the refrigerator contained in glass jars. No plastic touching our food! #TexasHomesteader

Pantry Storage

And I use glass jars to hold dry foods and dehydrated veggies in my pantry too. Again, I’m a big fan of repurposing glass jars. I mean, what’s not to love?

They look bright & shiny in my pantry. And since they’re clear glass I can easily see the deliciousness lining my pantry shelves. 

Labeling Food In Jars

Now back in ‘the day’ when I needed to ID food in those glass jars stored in my pantry I’d put a little sticker on the top to properly label the contents.

Since I’m a “Use Whatcha Got” kinda girl I moved to using  silver duct tape on top of the jars. I’d just write on the tape with a permanent marker. 

But to read the jar’s contents I’d have to pick up & look at the top of the jar. Sometimes these jars are stacked 3 deep on the shelf. There’s got to be an easier way! And there is. 

Mark On The Glass

Now I’m apparently not smart enough to come up with this on my own, y’all. I read it somewhere on my Facebook Newsfeed (sorry, i can’t remember who originally posted it) But I wondered why the heck I didn’t think of it before!

Now when I place dry food in my glass jars for pantry storage I take a permanent marker and write directly on the surface of the glass!

I'm a big fan of repurposing glass jars but I need an easy way to label the contents.. Check out today's Homestead Hack. #TexasHomesteader

I dehydrated these apples, cut them into raisin-sized chunks to use in my homemade Pumpkin Granola and placed them in two jars – a quart canning jar and a repurposed honey jar.

I wrote “Apple Raisins” on the jars so I’d know these were dried apples that I’d use like raisins in my granola.

Daily Snacking

Of course I also placed some dehydrated apple slices in another jar for RancherMan’s snacking pleasure. It was easy to write on the glass to identify the snack for him. 

He enjoys snacking on a handful periodically throughout the day. And c’mon – who doesn’t love her hubby snacking on apples??  🙂

I'm a big fan of repurposing glass jars but I need an easy way to label the contents.. Check out today's Homestead Hack. #TexasHomesteader

Now some people take extra measures such as oxygen packs or vacuum sealing to assure their dried food stays fresh. But I’m pretty good about going through my dried food stored in my pantry in a timely manner.

So I just write the contents on the outside of the jar, slap on a lid and I’m good to go.

When the jar is empty a soapy rag, a sprinkle of Baking Soda Cleaner & a little elbow grease has it sparkling clean again in no time.

The permanent marker is tough enough to stay put while in the pantry yet easy enough to scrub off when the jar’s empty. These jars will stand at the ready to do service again & again!

UPDATE: I also figured out how to see what was contained in a jar several layers back on the pantry shelves.

I hated having to move the jars in front to read the contents of jars behind them. I started making my own Chalkboard Labels For Jars so I can see the contents from the top.

MYO Chalkboard labels for 2-part canning lids using black construction paper. #TexasHomesteader

See how easy it is to read jars in the back? (Slaps forehead) What didn’t I think of that before??

Other Glass Jar Labels

Oftentimes when I have leftovers to go in the fridge, I need to label the contents. No need in rummaging around in the fridge wondering what this jar of food contains, right??!!

Chicken broth label written on glass jar with permanent marker - can be easily scrubbed off later. #TexasHomesteader

This leftover chicken broth? There’s no question as to the contents of the jar. I use the same method when making Homemade Mayonnaise and such.

It’s simple to label the jar with a permanent marker before putting the food in. And to remove the marker it’s easy to lightly scrub it away when the jar is empty. A nice zero-waste way to label jars of food!


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24 thoughts on “Homestead Hack: Labeling Glass Jars

  1. LIZ Rice

    .Hey ladies.
    Great ideas.I have another easy solution. Scotch tape on jar. Write on tape. Easy removal.

  2. Sheryl

    I use a dry erase marker to remove permanent marker. Just write over the marks and wipe off. I love your “ use what you have” attitude.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Aren’t you clever Sheryl? I’ve heard dry erase would eliminate permanent marker, although I’ve never tried it before. Thanks for the tip. Thankfully for the most part, the permanent marker I use stays put during the glass jar’s stint in the fridge, even with the condensation moisture. But it’s typically still pretty easy to rub off when it’s empty too. I absolutely love using these glass jars, the wide mouth opening with very little ‘shoulder’ is so easy to use. I’ve used canning jars too of course, but these were destined for the landfill by other family members so I’m thrilled to have something so useful for FREE! ~TxH~

  3. Linda

    I love this idea. I use my label maker usually and put it o. The jar close to the top but on the glass. That makes it easier to read with other jars around. For jars I use often for different items, I put a blank label on the jar then cover it with the Dollar General brand clear tape. It makes it possible to write on the jar so I can see it easily, and is reusable with the nail polish remover trick. I keep a small storage container in my spice drawer with a small glass jar of alcohol or polish remover (I have also used the small 2 – 3 inch high, 2 – 3 ounce travel size bottler of polish remover in it) with cotton pads or cotton swabs. FYI, other plastic jars tend to soften if they weren’t made for alcohol or polish remover, Then I don’t have to go looking for it and I use the same technique to mark containers of leftovers in the basked in the fridge. When we eat the leftovers, I clean the taped covered label, and it’s ready for the next time. And I only use the Dollar General clear tape, if I can find it, because that tape will go through the dishwasher many times before having to be replaced. I’m a firm believer in keeping things handy and using “whatcha got”. LOL

  4. Brenda Seader

    Hi, Tammy! I do the same, because some of my canned goods storage shelves are over my head, and I can’t see writing on lids. For jars with dark contents, I use a Sharpie metallic silver marker. Writing shows up perfectly, doesn’t smear with handling, and comes right off with hot water, soap, and a scrubby.

  5. Carol@blueskykitchen

    My extra pantry can get overrun with glass jars if I’m not careful. I especially love mason jars. I never thought of using a permanent market to label them. What a great idea. Thanks for sharing at Your Inspired Design.

  6. Katy SkipTheBag

    I love writing on glass with permanent marker. If you ever find a stubborn spot a bit of rubbing alcohol will take it right off. Thanks for sharing on the #WasteLessWednesday Blog Hop!

  7. Jean |

    Love this, Tammy! I’m always forgetting what’s in my jars in the freezer! I’m so excited about this because I’m strictly into glass storage and always thought that a marker would be permanent. I don’t know what it is about me and jars, but I can’t seem to ever bring myself to just toss one in the recycling bin!

  8. Jennifer Dunn

    That is such a great idea! I usually write on a canning jar lid, but then have to pull out items sometimes to see the lid. 🙂 This would be much better!
    Your apples look wonderful, and yes who wouldn’t want their husbands snacking on apples!

  9. Michelle

    I hopped on over to check out your tip. That’s pretty simple, alright. I like being able to wash it off when the jar is empty because I don’t like old writing on things. Sometimes I decorate with food by leaving it out on shelves in the dining area, so I want them to look nice.

  10. Nancy Wolff

    Don’t you just love that some solutions are the simplest! Thank you for sharing your post on Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, as one of the co-hosts I will be featuring your post tomorrow!
    – Nancy ( Nancy On The Home Front )

  11. Grandmas House DIY

    That is such a great idea! Thank you for sharing with us at the To Grandma’s house we go link party – hope to see you at the next one that starts tomorrow! Pinned!

  12. Margy

    Handy trick. Much easier than paper labels or trying to read the contents on the top of the lid. – Margy

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Yes Margy. I can’t believe I haven’t been doing this all along. I’m especially thankful for this technique in the fridge when I’m able to label my homemade pickles as dill or sweet flavored. Fewer ‘open the jar & taste to determine flavor’ instances. LOL ~TxH~

  13. Katy SkipTheBag

    Labeling it is really important! I usually can figure out dried food in the pantry, but I am awful about knowing what’s in the freezer. Good to know that you can just scrub off permanent marker. I’ve heard the tip about rubbing alcohol before too. Thanks for sharing on the Waste Less Wednesday Blog Hop!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      The marker is very easy to scrub off using just a little soap & a scrubby, yet it holds well on the jars during storage. Perfect solution for me, Katy! ~TxH~

  14. Janet Vinyard

    Interesting post! I use both printed labels as well as writing on the jar – just depends on how much time I have at the moment! Thanks for the information and inspiration! Blessings, Janet

  15. Tracy Lynn

    I just saw this on the Bog Hop and I love it! Sometimes simple is best, the easier it is the easier it is for me to do it!
    I just put all of our mixes in mason jars and was trying to come up with a good way to label them other than masking tape. Love this idea.

  16. ColleenB.~Texas

    After hubby had put salt on his cereal in place of sugar he would ask after that, but now that Everything is labeled makes things much easier in the household. No more salty cereal here

  17. Laurinda

    You can use less elbow grease if you put a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or tissue, & rub the writing with it.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      That’s a good idea too Laurinda. It really doesn’t take much to remove the writing but it’s still sturdy enough to stay even with handling when the jars are in the fridge or pantry. ~TxH~

  18. ColleenB.~Texas

    I also mark my jars on the front of my jars but I use my label maker. After I remodeled my pantry recently, I made sure that each and every container / jar was marked. No more hubby asking ; “what’s this?”

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      (snicker) RancherMan’s guilty of the “What’s This” disease as well Colleen. Is that a man thing?? LOL ~TxH~


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