You Need More Glass in Your Kitchen

©. K Martinko – Part of my beloved collection of glass measuring cups

Because when you have glass, you don't need plastic.

When I opened my stocking on Christmas morning this year, there was a small glass liquid measuring cup inside. Some other things fell out too, but I had eyes only for that measuring cup. Clearly Santa knows what turns my crank. You see, I am somewhat obsessed with liquid measuring cups. I have multiple cups in various sizes and I use them every day.

But there's more to it than that; it's actually glass tools that I love. There's something about the material that I love. It's durable and long-lasting. It's see-through, which makes it fantastic for storage and measuring. It's portable and sealable (in certain forms), and you always know when it's clean. And it can do so much of what plastic used to do, before I started eliminating it from my kitchen wherever possible.

As I added the newest little cup to my collection, it dawned on me that three of my most useful kitchen tools are, in fact, all made of glass. These are workhorses of versatility, capable of performing multiple tasks and thus eliminating superfluous containers.

1. Liquid measuring cups

I don't think anyone can have enough of these. Whenever I'm mixing marinades, salad dressings, or liquid ingredients for baked goods, I do it directly in the liquid measuring cup so I don't have to dirty additional cups and bowls. If a recipe calls for melted butter or warmed milk, I pop the cup right into the microwave, and then add the other ingredients on top.

Some of my measuring cups have lids, which makes them perfect for storing food in the fridge without transferring to another container. I rely on the spout to pour strained stock into jars for freezing.

2. Glass jars

glass jar collection

© K Martinko – Glass jars from my ever-growing stockpile

I have a whole cupboard full of these beauties in varying sizes. I collect them wherever I find them – the bigger, the better. I'm particularly pleased with the giant pickle jars (one is pictured above) that my friend Sarah discovered on top of a recycling bin last week. (See? Both Sarah and Santa get me...)

These are used for zero-waste grocery shopping, storing pantry items, and stashing leftovers in the fridge where they'll be seen and get eaten. With screw-top lids, I can transport coffee, smoothies, salad dressings, and soups wherever I'm going. When I can't find a large glass to pour my post-workout protein shake, I grab a 16-oz mason jar instead.

The wide-mouth ones get used for freezing liquids and all of them get conscripted for canning duty come summer – jam, tomatoes, and pickles. They're even used for dinosaur storage, which Sarah teased me about mercilessly, but hey, that's life without Ziplocs.

dinosaurs in a jar

© K Martinko – When you're running out the door and you must take dinosaurs, a jar does the trick.

3. Small glass bowls

These were a random purchase one day a decade ago when I needed ramekins to make crême brûlée, but they've turned out to be incredibly useful. I have a stack of eight, each with a tight-fitting plastic lid, and I use them constantly. Made by Anchor Hocking, they only have a half-cup of volume, but they are so convenient for holding small quantities of food – extra chopped garlic or onion, grated ginger, half a lemon, a separated egg yolk or white, you name it.

I use them to transport snacks and send food in kids' lunches. They serve as a dish to hold dirty spoons and small cup measures while cooking. Once in a while I use them for their original purpose, making single-portion desserts.

glass bowls

© K Martinko – Two of my 8 half-cup glass storage bowls

All this is to say, never underestimate the power of glass. You don't have to worry about it off-gassing in the dishwasher. Its recyclability rate is among the best. It doesn't break as often as you may think, and you can always see what you're doing and storing. Who needs plastic when you've got glass?