In my home town, where I grocery shop, I am known as the jar lady. I hold the title with great pride. We own 100 of them. But we’re not talking about a mismatched collection of pickle and mayo containers here: I exclusively use French canning jars.
My love affair for Le Parfait, goes way back. Like most Frenchies, I hold a nostalgic connotation to the brand. Growing up in the South of France, I watched my mom, grandmother, and great grandmother use these jars for canning all sort of things: pears, green beans, jams, tomato sauce, pate, headcheese, you name it. Before freezing methods were developed, this was one of the best ways to preserve food!
But my favorite memory about these jars goes back to just a decade ago. My dad invited me to the family home, a modest 17th century stone farmhouse set deep in the countryside, to lunch with a long lost first cousin. Having shared the same grandparents, she and I perused the property, recollecting childhood memories. We visited the barn and what used to be my late grandmother’s chicken coop and vegetable garden, before making our way into an annex where she’d store her stash of cured meats, dried herbs and canned goods. Much to our surprise, much of her canning still lined the shelves, with some dating back to the 1970’s! One of them read: Plums in Spirits 1977. My cousin and I turned to each other with the same idea in our heads, smiled in approval, opened it and took a sip as you would a chalice at church. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but to this day, it remains the best desert I have ever had. When my dad later found out what we had done, he got mad at me for opening what he considered an heirloom, but I have no regret: Its made for the best memory my cousin and I share.
Yet, I only started using Le Parfait jars in my own home in my early thirties. It’s not canning but rather a frustration with Tupperware that lead me back to them. The warping of the plastic in the dishwasher and the microwave (yes, I did that! I was so clueless back then!), the staining in contact with tomato sauce, the constant search for matching tops (no matter what technique I used to organize them), etc… So by the time I started to reduce our plastic use (in 2006), I had already swapped most of our Tupperware for Le Parfait jars to store leftovers. But as soon as we adopted a zero waste lifestyle, they went viral in our home. We started using them for everything:
To store leftovers in the fridge (thus allowing us to eliminate aluminum foil, plastic wrap, wax paper and ziplock bags),
but also to stock bulk in our pantry,
freeze scraps for later use,
grocery shop sans packaging,
can tomato sauce at the end of summer,
pack a snack for travel and school,
dispense hankies as you would tissues from a box,
hold Zizou’s food and water (it’s the only water bowl that we’ve found not to spill),
…They’ve even replaced our trash bags! 😉
Multi-functionality is one of the most important qualities that, as a minimalist, I look for in a product and it’s probably the best perk of using them. But here are 13 other reasons, why I prefer these jars over other designs:
Durable: The can dating from 1977 is great proof of that!
Airtight: They’ve eliminated bug infestation in our pantry and therefore food waste.
Waterproof: We use them to buy anything wet, from olive oil to ice cream to meat, and we don’t have to worry about spillage in our grocery totes.
Clear: Unlike Tupperware or aluminum, we can see what they hold, so no food gets forgotten and therefore thrown away.
Selection of sizes: My collection ranges from tiny (to hold the horseradish recipe in the book) to very big (to store often-used staples like flour).
Interchangeable: The same top and gasket fit different body sizes, so if the body of an 12oz. jar breaks, I can use its top and gasket on that of a 2qt. one.
Gaskets reuse: The company will tell you not to reuse gaskets, but I personally do. A small stretch test will indicate to me if the gasket is sound or in bad condition and based on the test, I throw them in one of 2 jars that I use to collect gaskets. I’ll use the best ones for canning – and double check airtightness when my cans have cooled by pulling on the lid.
Availability on the secondhand market: Event decorators buy them as displays for a special occasion, so it’s easy to find them in thrift stores at the end of the wedding season.
Integral: Unlike mason jars, the lid is connected to the body, therefore simplifying cleaning. I throw them in the dishwasher face down with all parts attached: lid open and gasket on.
Weight: They are much lighter than their Italian cousin (Bormioli brand), and therefore easier to carry.
BPA free: The metal lids of Ball and Kerr mason jars are lined with plastic and used to contain Bisphenol A, so buying them secondhand puts you at risk of contamination. With Le Parfait, your food comes in contact with only glass.
Material separation: Unlike a mason type jars, all components can be separated, and therefore disposed of if broken. Metal and glass in recycling bin, the gasket in my jar of trash.
Beautiful: I can be all about Zero Waste, but I also care about having a beautiful interior 😉 There is no doubt that replacing disposables with them has added beauty to our everyday life.
Moreover, I am particularly impressed with the company reaching out to me a few years back, highly motivated to make their products better. I brought up discrepancies in the material used for the gasket (latex in Europe, which is technically biodegradable; synthetic rubber in North America, which isn’t), but also the plastic packaging used to ship the jars. While Le Parfait North America is now looking into bringing natural gaskets to the continent, our collaboration led them to launch a line with zero waste packaging on Amazon.com. So now, you can feel confident knowing that your jars will be delivered with paper and cardboard only!
I get pounded on a daily basis for requests to promote products: From flimsy bidet attachments to expandable reusable straws. I refuse to support products that I would not personally purchase or use. Le Parfait is one of the very few brands out there that I am happy to promote: The jars have been a great tool in simplifying our lives and reducing our household waste. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I have!
To celebrate the success of our collaboration, Le Parfait is offering a special discount to the zero waste community until May 16th, use promotional code 05EARTHDAY18 and get 5% off any zero waste packaging item!