Life Hacks

A Tasty Trick for Nearly-Empty Jars You’ll Wish You’d Known Sooner

March 21, 2018

If only there were a way to clear out every last dreg of a container. To scrape clean a peanut butter jar so the inside shone like its exterior. To sop up those final, unbudging drops from the bottom of a maple syrup bottle. I wish I could come up with some magic tool to hollow out the clingy remnants of all your condiments. (And while I was at it, I’d make a similar one for shampoos and lotions and toothpaste, too.) Unfortunately, I’m no inventor and can’t promise anything of the ilk.

But I’m not hopeless! And I can offer you a solution. Next time you get to the bottom of that jar, be it kimchi, tahini, mustard, fish sauce, or yogurt, don’t just toss it—save it and fill it with oil. No, not all the way. Take your practically empty jar and fill it with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, give it a good shake, and use that infused oil as the base of a salad dressing.

Think about it: The oil, after a few strong rattles, will pull the stubborn dregs off the walls of your jar. What you couldn’t reach with your finger or a spoon will get incorporated and flavor the base of your dressing. Plus, you’ll have a built-in mixer and travel container. Once you’ve shaken and stirred, balance accordingly. If you’re using something creamy like a nut butter of tahini as your base, counter it with some lemon juice. Or offset the sweetness of maple syrup with some soy sauce or a plop of yogurt. The possibilities are many, just don’t forget to taste as you go. When you’re finished, dress your salad (or grain bowl!) or drizzle your new sauce over leftovers to give them a fresh(er) feel.

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Riff on some of these recipes with whatever almost-empty jar you may have in your fridge:

Once you’ve gotten all you can out of that jar, then you can go ahead and toss it (or recycle it—go on with your green self!), happy knowing that not a single drop went to waste.

Have you tried this trick before? Tell us in the comments below.

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Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.