Learning From Depression Era Folks
I never thought I would say it, but I like using vintage glass bowls, jars and refrigerator dishes for food storage (I'm a recovering plastic addict) . Dear me, I'm, sounding like my in-laws, who love saving jars and re-using them. In fact, my mother-in-law opened up a can of Rokeach Gefilte Fish* and stored away the extra pieces in an old empty jar of Gefilte Fish* she had saved for years.
Re-Cycling is Trendy
By now you are catching on, that my husband's mom is a child of the Depression Era and "saving' is in her genes. During the war effort, families were encouraged to conserve, mend and salvage what they had. If you think "re-cycling" is a new trend....it is an old custom which has gained new interest.
Glass Jars are Popular Kitchen Collectibles That Make Great Gifts
So I have been thinking about all the kitchen collectibles I sell in my shop, "Kitsch N Stuff" and thought that one neat idea would be to pack holiday cookies in vintage glass storage jars and give as lovely holiday gifts to friends and family.
I am not talking about packing cookies into old Gefilte Fish jars, but rather looking for some very charming glass jars that might have been used in a 1940s home or earlier in an old country store, old drug store or candy shoppe. Apothecary jars, pickle jars, candy jars, condiment jars are out there if you start looking.
What Kind of Jars To Look For
Often these jars have colorful vintage paper advertising labels, pretty decals or attached handles which add to their appeal. Old Hoosier jars (stored coffee, tea etc.) are also interesting.
For smooth surface glass jars, you can add an original vintage decals which are easy to find (check out Etsy.com) .
While some of these larger jars can fetch $25.00-$45.00, you still clan find perfectly wonderful glass jars at a full range of affordable prices. Mason jars are very plentiful and the ordinary ones are a thrifty alternative to older and larger jars. You have to look....try flea markets, on-line auctions and stores, live auctions and collectibles shops.
Cleaning Old Jars
While it is a little tricky to clean a glass jar with a paper label, it can be done with care. A solution of diluted vinegar, a bottle brush and lots of rinsing with mild soap can usually do it. Some people use a mixture of Baking Soda and water. If you are nervous about washing jars with labels, buy jars without labels (they are usually less money).
My friend reminded me that the dish washer does a great job for glass jars without labels. But need I say, wash the jar lids by hand and dry them quickly.
Photos shown in this article came from my second book, Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes (Collectorbooks.com)
What is Gefilte Fish? Chopped fish, usually a mixture of white fish, pike, and carp, mixed with minced onion, egg, and seasoning, and boiled; ordinarily served cold.
C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of Iantiqueonline.com an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro café.
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