The New Food-Storage Trend That Saves Money and the Planet

If you follow any foodies or healthy-living experts on Instagram, then you've probably seen the rising trend of turning ordinary refrigerators into works of art. Picture beautiful, well-lit photos of perfectly organized foods in a rainbow of colors on display inside mason jars of all sizes. This storage solution, aka the "jar method," has hit the scene and is quickly becoming a phenomenon as a new way to decrease fridge chaos and store all of your favorite foods while keeping them fresh longer. The good news? It's not just for those hoping to make their social media followers jealous, but for anyone interested in saving money and the planet while they're at it.

While canning and jarring food have been around for decades, the jar method movement seems to have just recently taken hold, thanks to vibrant, vegan power couple Erin and Roe, who brought it to the mainstream through their beautiful photography and a workshop to help beginners get started. According to their Instagram page, "This couple only shops once a month and saves over $500/month ($6,000 a year) storing [vegetables] this way." That's no small savings!

Another early adopter of the method, Malika Yasmin, a mom of two and healthy-living influencer, told POPSUGAR, "I discovered the jar method in the beginning of my wellness journey. I was making fermented foods and homemade bone broth. I stored them both in canning-style mason jars. Once I realized how well they stored, I began to use my jars for batch juicing and meal prepping." Yasmin then discovered Erin and Roe and said she was "inspired by them to save my kids' greens, save my money, and save more time. As a mom, those things are very important." I think we can all relate to that!

One of the hardest things for busy families these days is cooking meals at home, which is generally much healthier and more affordable than eating out — plus, it can be really fun! According to Yasmin, the benefits of the jar method have been huge for her. "It has saved me so much time in the kitchen! I'm a mother of two lovely little people who like to eat! I make 90 percent of the food they eat from fresh whole ingredients. Having my food prepared and stored for the week saves me so much time and a bit of my sanity. At the end of a busy day, I almost never have to think hard about what's for dinner. Bake a little from this jar, shake a little from that jar, mix in some of that, and voilà — dinner is ready. We've been able to maintain a very healthy lifestyle mainly by staying prepared," she said. Sounds better than digging through the fridge for some old vegetables, right?

Ready to get started? There are a few must haves. First, find 10 or so mason jars in a variety of sizes; the sealed lid is key to keeping freshness in! Second, stock up on a plethora of beautiful foods to go inside, get creative, and try a fermented food like kimchi or sauerkraut, which are great for gut health! When starting out, Yasmin suggests you "decide how you like to shop ahead of time." She said, "I shop weekly. Sometimes I create a flexible meal plan for the week, then shop directly from the plan. I make sure all my jars are washed and ready to go before I start prepping the food. The less time your chopped food is exposed to air, the fresher it will stay." The prep may seem like more time up front, but it should save you tons of time throughout the week when you need a quick meal or snack on the go . . . and who knows? You may even be motivated to eat more veggies!