Tip: Labeling Storage Jars

April 6, 2009(updated on October 3, 2018)


When I was as senior in high school, I took advanced biology. I can’t say that I’ve retained much from that class, particularly since once I got to college, I eschewed the sciences in order to focus almost entirely on literature, sociology and politics. However, there is one thing that sticks with me from that class, and it’s a tip that’s entirely useful when you use glass jars to store dry goods.

The tip is this: Sharpie ink will write on glass smoothly and easily, but then erases completely with a single alcohol swab. We used that trick in that science class to label test tubes and beakers, and I’ve continued to use permanent markers to clearly mark my jars full of food. I find that it’s particularly useful to mark jars with the date as well as with the contents, so that you know just how long it’s been around the pantry. I’ll even mark on the jar things like “use this first” or “millet, cook or toast” to remind myself of usage. I also like this method better than putting sticky labels on the jars, because it keeps them free of residue.

How do you guys store and label your dry goods?

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7 thoughts on "Tip: Labeling Storage Jars"

  • I bought a fancy schmancy labeler and now everything looks pretty and matches. It makes me keep my pantry clean!

  • You know, I do that EVERY day in the lab (use markers to label tubes)…yet it never occurred to me to use it in the kitchen. Silly me! I should do that from now on…

  • I make labels with a pretty contact paper. They look so lovely with the pattern I found on all my loads of jars. They stick well, but leave no residue. I’ve even run them through the dishwasher–on accident–and they’ve turned out fine. I do like this idea though for when I run out of contact paper.