America's Test Kitchen LogoCook's Country LogoCook's Illustrated Logo

The Inexpensive Kitchen Utensil That Cuts Down on Food Waste

I love my compost bucket, but I have another favorite waste-reducing tool. 

Published Mar. 24, 2023.

Thirty to 40 percent of food in America is wasted, and I’m always endeavoring to reduce the impact I have on that statistic. I try to buy only the food my household needs, eat every leftover, and compost.

But there’s one humble kitchen utensil that is my favorite waste-reducing tool: a jar spatula.

Our winner, the GIR Skinny Spatula, practically lives on my dish rack because I reach for it multiple times per day. In the morning, I use it to stir my oatmeal (it’s heat resistant up to 550 ℉). Its silicone material won’t scratch nonstick surfaces, making it ideal for scrambling eggs

But its most important use is for scraping. 

Sign up for the Notes from the Test Kitchen newsletter

Our favorite tips and recipes, enjoyed by 2 million+ subscribers!

As its name suggests, a jar spatula helps you to scrape every last drop of food out of a jar or any container for that matter. When I finish a jar of peanut butter or mayonnaise, I use my jar spatula to get in every nook and cranny. 

And I really do mean every last bit. Peanut butter jars are notorious for having little ridges that are hard to get clean. Not with a jar spatula.

Not only is its thin shape dynamic, but its slightly flexible silicone material is flush with the jar to really scrape it clean. It also works great for other jar-like containers like tubs of yogurt or sour cream

Equipment Review

Jar Spatulas

We tested nine models to see how well they could scrape out jars of marinara sauce, molasses, mayonnaise, honey, and Nutella.
See Our Winner

But a jar spatula (or a larger silicone spatula, for that matter) is great for scraping so much more than just jars. When I make that aforementioned morning oatmeal, a silicone spatula does a much better job than a spoon to ensure there’s nothing left in the saucepan.

After whipping up a peanut sauce to serve with dinner, I scrape every last drop into a reusable container to save for leftovers. And its small stature makes it perfect for cleaning out my food processor once I'm finished.

In other words, when you have a good silicone spatula, jar or full size, no food gets left behind. 

This is a members' feature.