The use of glass for storage dates back to ancient times when early civilisations like the Egyptians and Romans recognised its advantages. The earliest glass containers were relatively simple and handmade, and they primarily served the purpose of preserving perfumes and ointments.
As glass-making techniques evolved and became more accessible, the use of glass containers expanded. By the Roman era, glassblowers were producing larger, sturdier vessels suitable for storing food and liquids.
The versatility and impermeability of glass made it an ideal material for storage. Glass storage jars don’t react with their contents, preventing any unwanted flavours or chemical interactions, and their transparency allows for easy identification of the jar's contents. Just think of rows of glass sweet jars in a shop: they’d sell half as well if the jars were opaque!
Which glass jar to buy?
In the late 19th century, the development of Mason jars – glass jars with lids – revolutionised food preservation. These glass jars with lids featured airtight seals, thanks to rubber gaskets and screw threads, which made canning and home food preservation accessible to the masses.
The ready availability of large glass jars and small glass jars played a pivotal role in reducing food waste and ensuring a year-round supply of fruits and vegetables.
Despite the ubiquity of plastic, glass jars continue to be a popular choice for home canning and food storage, and their sustainability, reusability, and ability to protect the integrity of their contents have solidified their place in modern kitchens and pantries.