three jars, one blue, one with pink flowers in it

I happened upon an estate sale, went to the basement, and there they were – lonely, dirty, and large jars!


And there’s more!


Each one had a matching lid.


You feel me now?


After they sat on the counter drying and of course, sparkling I had the funny idea to give them a photo shoot. Lol!


Most herbalists I know would have felt the same about a large-inexpensive-jar-find.


As I washed the jars I thought it would be helpful to share my tips on finding, cleaning, and using inexpensive jars. 

    a blanket on the ground with empty jars

    I find used glass jars at:

    • garage sales
    • thrift stores
    • estate sales
    • friends and family
    • Discount aisles at outlet stores
    • Canning aisles at grocery stores

    I prefer using glass jars for herb storage because:

    • can be cleaned easily (plastic tends to hold the scent from previous food stored in it)
    • it doesn’t off-gas like plastic does
    • easier to recycle
    • easier to find all sizes especially during canning season (late summer)
    • glass keeps out oxygen and scents (over time plastic can absorb other scents from the home)
    three jars on a table with a dollie, echinacea flowers near

    Other places to find jars:

    Sometimes bars and restaurants will give away the used up their large jars that held pickles and other foods. The trick is finding someone who will at least rinse them and hold them until you pick them up.

      lady's mantle yellow flower in forefront and three jars on table in background

      Cleaning tips:

      I use Oxi-clean® to help get into the small spaces and dissolve away any hardened pigments from the food that might build up over time.

      Large mouth jars are easier to get my hands into so I can clean at the bottom.

      Purchase different size and length bottle brushes to get along the shoulder of the jar.


        Additional Tips:

            • Wide mouth jars are easier to get larger herbs into and out of.
            • Smaller herbs such as lavender flowers and powdered herbs can go into the smaller mouthed jars.
            • Darker colored jars can help to keep light out of the jars. UV and sunlight increase the breakdown of herbs.
            • After all the work of actions such as: growing and harvesting, or wildcrafting, drying – it’s nice to keep the dried herbs as long as possible.
            • The advantage of clear jars is I can see more easily into them to monitor for mold and other changes such as color deterioration.
        broken blue jar and dust pan

        Rest in peace beautiful blue jar

        It was the last armful of jars I was bringing into the house and it slipped onto the concrete steps. So sad!


        Click here to download the two page handout with these tips.  Learn some tips on where to find inexpensive jars, how to clean, and ways to store herbs.


        Take the Herbal Pathway Archetypes Quiz here: bit.ly/QuizArchetypes

        Follow Erin LaFaive at Fullcircleherbals.com and Facebook

        About the author

        Erin LaFaive is an herbalist and Plant Priestess with Full Circle Herbals.

        “I came about the name Full Circle Herbals because I like all aspects of herbs from growing, harvesting, using, preserving, teaching, and creating.

        Some people like growing herbs, others would rather purchase herbs to make remedies and crafts. Some people like teaching about herbs more than growing them. I like all of it! From seed to soil, to body, mind, and spirit.

        That’s what you’ll find  here ~ teaching, making, growing, seed saving . . . the Full Circle of herbs.

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