18 Ways to Make The Most of An Empty Schmutz Jar

We all know what to do with a full Schmutz jar: schpoon, schpread, and schwirl that Schmutz. What about once the Schmutz is all gone? Personally, that’s when I head to therapy. But after therapy, I upcycle what’s a pretty stunning glass jar.

Here’s some of our favorite ways to make the most of empty Schmutz jar. 

Store… schmaltz
Schmaltz (not Schmutz) is an Ashkenazi Jewish name for rendered chicken fat. Next time you roast chicken in the oven, save the drippings and pour them into your Schmutz jar — it’s great anywhere you’d use oil. We love it with caramelized onions or when making stock for soup.  

Batch cocktails to-go
Showing up to a picnic for two with a bottle of wine is fine, or you could whip up your favorite cocktail at home and pack it to-go in a Schmutz two-pack.

Bake chocolate lava cakes
There are few better date night treats than the chocolate puddle cakes from Smitten Kitchen (real name Deb Perelman). Store the dry ingredients in your Schmutz jars and, when hunger strikes, you’re 5 minutes of mixing and 5 minutes of baking away from chocolate lava perfection. 

Craft a flower arrangement
We don’t even remove the label before filling our Schmutz jar with flowers: we like to match Apple Walnut with green hydrangeas or carnations, while Fig Pistachio purple is perfect with fragrant lavender or verbena. 

Organize your bathroom
We keep reading that you’re technically not supposed to use Q-Tips to clear your ears? Our legal team (my family friend, Paul) requested that we make no official comment on how to use Q-Tips, but if you do use them, or cotton swabs, or makeup remover pads, they’re all wonderfully organized when stacked in empty Schmutz jars. 

Throw it back with some grown-up Magic Shell
Did you also grow up eating Magic Shell, that chocolate syrup which miraculously froze when drizzled over ice cream? We make an all-natural version at home using a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons of coconut oil. Melt in the microwave in your Schmutz jar (removing that metal jar top!), stir till smooth, and drizzle over ice cream. Lactaid pill optional.

Make a terrarium
Rocks + sand + dirt + succulent = terrarium. A tiny Schmutz world, just for your plant. Enough said. 

Make candles
Whether you’re melting Crayola crayons or buy kits from specialists like the folks over at Siblings, there’s no better vessel than a Schmutz jar. Just tell your friends before they try eating your candle. 

Whip up some protein pudding
Are we obsessed with Jewish chef Jake Cohen’s overnight protein pudding cups? That’s a personal question but hey it’s in the list and you’re still reading so you might be too. Find the recipe here

Grow windowsill herbs
We at Schmutz are not green thumbs ourselves (which is why we source nuts, fruits, and spices from our incredible farmer-partners), but if you’re a windowsill botanist, try growing basil, parsley, or chives in your empty jars. Just be sure to add some rocks at the bottom, for drainage, before you pot the herbs in soil.

Pickle red onions
Schmutz is our favorite item in the pantry, but near the top of the list is pickled red onions. It’s simple: place thinly sliced onion in your Schmutz jars, fill it up halfway with boiling water, and then fill the remaining two-quarters with one part sugar and one part vinegar (we like red wine vinegar). Shake, let cool, fridge, and use the next day.  

Get fresh-baked cookies on demand
The only thing better than cookies is fresh-baked cookies at a moment’s notice. The best way to make that reality your reality is to pre-make dough and store it refrigerated in your Schmutz jars. We love Claire Saffitz’s brown butter chocolate chip recipe, but follow your heart. 

Salt with ease
Our personal favorite is simple: fill a full jar of Schmutz salt next to your stove top for beautiful and easy access to salt when you’re in the heat of a recipe and can’t reach into the pantry. 

Whip cream, on demand
Fill up a Schmutz jar halfway with heavy cream, add a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar, a dash of vanilla, and shake the heck out of that thing until you’re seeing fine, fluffy peaks. We dig it with fresh berries or over French toast. 

Churn homemade butter (and get a free workout)
Fill up a Schmutz jar halfway with heavy cream. Shake at least 5 minutes, until your arms are properly sore and you hear a lump forming. Shake another minute and crack the jar open… you’ll see solid butter inside! Strain out the liquid, rinse the butter, and put it back in the jar for easy spreading later.

Gift homemade granola
Mix two cups of rolled oats with a half-jar of Schmutz, spread it evenly over a sheet tray, and bake at 325ºF until golden-brown. Let cool, break up into chunks, and throw it back into those empty jars for on-the-go snacking or easy gifting. 

Make some umami bombs
If you’re down to funk, try this recipe for fermented mushrooms from one of the world’s top restaurants, Noma. Just add your preferred mushrooms to an empty Schmutz jar, 2% of their weight in salt, freeze, thaw, and shake every day or so until they’ve fermented into little umami bombs perfect for adding to a soup broth, salad dressing, or sauce. 

Shake up salad dressing
Don’t even bother cleaning out the bottom of your Schmutz jar for this one. Leave any leftover Schmutz in the jar, add some olive oil, lemon juice, and dijon mustard. Shake until combined and salt/pepper to taste.

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