Clamp-Lid Jars: Food Storage Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

Photo by Kingmond Young

Since the mid-1800s, food jars of all shapes and sizes have been staple items in kitchens around the world. From colorful and ornate glass containers to those with plain, smooth edges, jars are a great way to store and showcase foods and drinks. One of the most distinct containers is the clamp-lid jar. With its rubber seal and stiff wire closure, clamp-lid jars prove that functionality and aesthetics can coexist beautifully in the kitchen.

In 1882, when Henry W. Putnam patented a secure stopper for jars, glass was the primary material used for food storage containers. During the 1950s, a variety of lightweight, colorful and convenient plastic containers became a popular choice. But unlike naturally impermeable glass, plastic inevitably degrades over time.

Practical from dishwasher to cupboard to refrigerator, clamp-lid glass jars can be used (and recycled) indefinitely. Use them to store dry goods such as oats, beans and snack foods, or refrigerated foods in brine such as sauerkraut or pickled eggs. Clear glass varieties not only make for an attractive and organized display of dry goods on your countertop and shelves, but also are great storage containers for leftovers in your refrigerator, allowing you to see exactly what and how much food you have left inside the jar. The secure closure ensures the contents are sealed safely inside, and unlike with threaded screw-top jars that can be difficult to open, clamp-lid jars don’t require much wrist or hand strength to open and close.

Smaller clamp-lid jars are especially versatile. Seven- to 12-ounce containers are ideal for preparing and serving single-sized salads, beverages and casseroles. If making several at once, place them on a cookie sheet for easy handling. Enjoy the convenience, portability and unique design of clamp-lid jars throughout the kitchen and pantry, and even in your lunch bag.

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Christy Wilson
Christy Wilson, RD, is a health and nutrition writer, recipe developer and nutrition consultant. Based out of Tucson, AZ, she is a nutrition counselor at the University of Arizona and at a local HIV clinic where she also teaches a monthly cooking class. Read her blog and recipes at and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.