Upcycling is the way of the now! Everyone is looking at ways they can make small changes to help the environment and minimising our waste is one. As a bonus, thinking of new ways to use items that would usually go in the bin is fun!
If you’re at the end of your Moccona coffee and not sure what to do with the jar... STOP! Don’t throw it away. Here are four ways you can upcycle empty glass jars. Best part? They are all DIY!
Ever wanted to try making your own beauty products? Start saving your old glass jars! Coffee scrubs, body washes, facemasks, there are a bunch of homemade recipes out there to try.
Make your own scrub
This body scrub is made with 1 part oil to 2 parts exfoliant, such as ground coffee. Light-textured oils such as sunflower, sweet almond or grapeseed are the best, as they wash off easily and don’t leave skin feeling greasy. Essential oils are optional. Try lavender for relaxation, rose to awaken romance or lemongrass to be refreshed.
Put ½ cup coffee in a bowl and gradually add ¼ cup oil, mixing well with a spoon. (The texture should be moist enough to hold together, but not overly oily.) Add a drop of essential oil (optional). Note This makes enough for a single use. To make more, increase quantities at the same ratio. Store made-up scrub in a jar in the fridge between uses.
Pickling is one of the simplest ways to preserve vegetables and has become vastly popular with the surge of Kimchi from Korean cuisine and the much-loved Scandi sauerkraut. Unlike chutney making, though, where you can use less-than-perfect produce, pickles need quality ingredients to stay the distance in your cupboard for a few months. Some vegetables need salting before they meet the vinegar to stay firm and relatively crisp, while others need cooking first. If you follow the pickling recipe and variations below, you’ll be able to pickle just about any veg you like. There’s something wonderful about locking your own produce safely in your old glass jars for seasons to come. It’s a luxury that we can all afford to try, as the basics are simply sugar, salt and vinegar.
Make your own pickling vinegar
Preparation time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins
* Makes enough for 4 x 450ml jars
- 1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 Tbsp whole coriander seeds
- 1 Tbsp whole yellow mustard seeds
- 10 whole cloves
- Pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 700ml white wine vinegar, plus 3 ½ Tbsp
- 100g brown sugar
Step 1 Put whole spices in a medium saucepan. Toast over a low heat until they begin to smell aromatic. Add dried chilli flakes and toast for an extra minute.
Step 2 Add bay leaves and pour in all of the vinegar and sugar, let it dissolve, and bring to a simmer.
Pickling tip: Wash jars and lids in hot, soapy water, rinse, then place on a baking tray and put in a low oven for 10 minutes or until completely dry. If you want to use rubber seals, remove the seals and cover in just-boiled water. Jars like with a solid glass lid and vacuum seal like Moccona Coffee are best. Make sure you sterilise any funnels, ladles or spoons you’re going to be using too.
If you’re short of backyard space or you just want to add some greenery to your home, terrariums are a great option!
Make your own terrarium
You will need:
- Glass jar
- Succulent potting mix (about 1 cup full)
- Decorative pebbles
- Succulent cuttings such as echeveria, crassula, echeveria, sedum and crassula
Step 1 Prepare the container. Add a hand full of moistened potting mix into the base of the glass terrarium.
Step 2 Plant it up. Take the succulent cuttings and place in the position you’d like digging the ends firmly into the soil.
Step 3 Add accessories. Place a few pebbles or decorative stones in your terrarium to finish it off.
Terrarium tip: Succulents originate from arid environments so you won’t need to water your terrariums quite as often as your other plants. When you do water, do not over saturate the soil and allow the soil to dry out between misting.
Last, but certainly not least, jars are perfect for decoration – the options are endless.
Brighten up a room by putting fresh flowers in them. Depending on the size of your jar, be careful to trim the stems so that your arrangement isn’t top heavy.
Pick a colour scheme and get creative! Fill or paint your jars with different items of the same colour to really jazz up empty shelves.