I take Mason jars for granted. I grew up with them in the house and they have been part of my kitchen since I was married in 1980. So, I was surprised when someone saw my extensive collection and wondered why I had so many.
It is a little obsessive, I admit. I have about 300 of them in a variety of sizes. Most of them are hand-me-downs from my mom, and a couple of them are pre-World War II. That is the thing that I love about Mason jars. They are a link to the past. Jams, jellies, pickles, relishes; generations of women in my family have sweated in hot kitchens to store food for their families. Every time I make a batch of strawberry jam or Grandma Vincent’s Bread and Butter pickles I am part of the chain that links the past and the future. Mason Jars are the time machine.
Mason Jars Are a Household Necessity
Mason jars are amazingly versatile, even if you never use one to hold preserved garden produce.
Some mason jars can even be used in the freezer (these are usually marked “freezer jars” or freezer safe). When used in the pantry, the jars allow you to store foods safely. Living in an old house on acreage means that we are blessed with an abundance of mice if food is not stored carefully. The glass jars are impervious to chewing and gnawing and they don’t allow foods to absorb odors from other foods. You can store onions and confectioner’s sugar next to each other without the sugar taking on an onion flavor.
Uses for Mason Jars
1. Canning foods for storage
2. Storing dried foods
3. Storing sugar, flour, and oatmeal
4. Storing cookies
5. Storing bulk foods
6. Storing homemade mixes
7. Recipe in a jar gifts
8. Making and storing homemade vinegar
9. Making vanilla extract
10. Storing leftovers in the refrigerator
11. Use as measuring device
12. Store saved seeds
13. Grow sprouts
14. Drinking glass
15. Hold homemade soy candles
16. Holding sour dough starters
17. Storing fresh milk if you milk your own goats or cows
18. Storing your clearly marked cleaners
19. Cotton balls
20. Bulk or homemade shampoo
21. Bath salts
22. Holding Legos and other small toys
23. Storing small office supplies
24. Bolt the lids (with screw tops) to the underside of a shelf and use to hold screws, nails, and washers
25. Hold balls of yarn while knitting or crocheting…drill a hole through the lid and thread the yarn through. Make sure it is smooth so it doesn’t cut the fiber. Keeps your yarn from rolling off.
26. Make a solar light
27. Make sun tea
28. Use them to hold fresh flowers
29. Reusable holders for candy gifts
30. Portable Garden Cloche
31. Store sewing notions
32. (Mostly) Homemade soap dispenser
34. Bug jars for the kids
35. Keeping change
36. Make a terrarium
37. Catch those pesky flies
38. Here is an easier version of the homemade fly trap. Just put equal amounts of sugar, vinegar, and water in a quart Mason jar. Punch holes in the lid that are large enough for flies to get through.
39. Sewing kit in a jar
40. I love these individual silverware and napkin holders
41. Poultry feeder
42. Mason jar photo frames
43. Potpourri jars
44. Snow globes
45. Add nonflammable material and nestle a candle in it to use as a centerpiece. I used cranberries to hold votive candles in pint jars last Christmas and they were fantastic.
46. Meditation jar – print out your favorite quotes, thoughts, or scripture verses and cut them in strips. Keep them in the jar and remove one a day to contemplate. You can use this for affirmations, journal prompts, or anything similar.
47. Holding scrapbooking and craft supplies
48. Pencil and pen holder
49. Hold shells and other collections for display
50. Cakes in a jar
Where to Find Mason Jars
You can buy Mason jars in almost any store but there are other ways to get them that are less expensive. Many times you can advertise on Craigslist that you are looking for canning jars and someone who is no longer canning will offer them to you. Other ways to acquire them are:
- Check with relatives
- Garage sales
- Thrift shops
- Classified ads
Always check them for cracks and chips. If the rims have chips or cracks they can not be used for canning. How else do you use mason jars? Please share below.
Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, planetgreen.com and TreeHugger.com, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.
By Marye Audet, Planet Green