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Minimizing Food Waste by Freezing and Frugal Glass Storage

My tomatoes are straggling in from the garden. I wanted to make salsa, but I didn’t have enough ripe tomatoes. So I left some sitting on the counter, along with the peppers, waiting for more tomatoes to ripen. Unfortunately, a couple tomatoes and one pepper went bad before I had enough tomatoes to make salsa. So I decided to dice and freeze my bell peppers and hot peppers and tomatoes and when more ripen I can thaw the frozen veggies to make salsa.

I froze the peppers in 1 cup containers.  I also froze some in an ice-cube tray and then put the pepper cubes in a large plastic bag. Each cube is equal to 2 tablespoons, so it makes it easy to add the right amount to a recipe.

It is hard to tell the difference between bell peppers and hot peppers once they are diced and frozen, so I label my containers using leftover Christmas tags (there are always a few tags that I just won’t use on packages, so this way they don’t go to waste).

And if you are doing a mass cutting of hot peppers you might want to wear rubber gloves. If you don’t and your hands start to feel like they are on fire, soak them in a bowl of milk. The casein has a detergent like effect on the capsaicin. Or so I’ve read,  I wouldn’t be so foolish as to chop a dozen hot peppers without wearing gloves. :-)

Last week, I read a post at Hunger and Thirst on using a vacuum sealer to save food. She has an adapter that works on canning jars, so she often saves her leftovers in canning jars, vacuum seals them, and without air they last a few days longer in the refrigerator. I was happy to learn that tip and am adding a handheld vacuum sealer and canning jar adapters to my Christmas list. However, another thought struck me: Canning jars are a frugal, glass storage container for leftovers. So often I receive comments from readers who want to get rid of their plastic containers but can’t afford Pyrex, the answer is canning jars! A 4 cup Pyrex container runs about $5.00, but you can buy a case of 12 quart jars for about $18.00 or $1.50 a piece. You can pick them up for less at garage sales, thrift stores, and grandma’s basement. You can buy replacement lids, both metal and screw on plastic, at Wal-Mart or Target for a couple dollars. So if you want to store food in glass but can’t afford to buy expensive storage containers, consider canning jars.

I am participating in Food Waste Friday hosted by The Frugal Girl and  Frugal Friday.

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About Alea Milham

Alea Milham is the owner and editor of Premeditated Leftovers. She shares her tips for saving money and time while reducing waste in her home. Her favorite hobby, gardening, is a frugal source of organic produce for her recipes. She believes it is possible to live fully and eat well while spending less.


  1. Alea,
    I have all sorts of things in canning jars – years ago a friend gave me a case of them and SADLY I gave them away, who knew I would want them so badly now, or how much I use them today?

  2. I like to use the canning jars for baking soda, cornstarch, and stuff that comes in small packaging. I buy the plastic white screw on lids for about2 bucks and presto, instant storage.

  3. The Prudent Homemaker says: and have coupons right now for both canning jars AND pyrex containers. Redplum has the canning jars.

  4. Thanks for letting me know, those are great coupons!

  5. Canning jars are a great idea!

    And I bet you've never chopped several peppers without gloves! haha
    One day, our neighbor gave us some peppers. I THOUGHT they were banana peppers and I chopped a ton of them up and mixed them with potatoes. WOW, it was hot. And I couldn't wash the heat off of my hands. I ended up slicing a lemon in half and rubbing my hands. It worked great.

  6. I can't find the pyrex coupons. :( Help!

  7. The only Pyrex coupon I could find came out on 8/22 in the Smart Source paper insert. It doesn't expire until 12/31, so you may be able to find some on a coupon exchange board.

  8. You are right, jars are the answer. I love my 1/2 gallon jars for bulk storage on my pantry shelves. When ever I give a gift of jam, I remind the person, bring the jars back, please. That way I can offer them more jam, it is a win win for us both.

  9. Nicole Feliciano says:

    We've been using more and more glass for storage. Thanks for these tips.

  10. I like the tip to use leftover or less-favorite labels. I got onto a mailing list and have address labels coming out my ears, and there are always some odd gift tags mixed in there. I'll have to start using some of those instead of tearing off pieces of masking tape to label my leftovers and prep aheads!

    Ah, the little things in life that make us ladies happy!

  11. I also save those jar with rubber rings on the lid, like spaghetti sauce. I have used those for years for “hot water bath” and open kettle canning. As long as the rubber ring in the lid is “solid” it will seal.

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