Mason jars, also known as canning or Ball jars, are a hip trend for several reasons. They’re rustic yet chic. They come in a variety of sizes and styles. They’re super versatile. And, best of all, they’re made of glass (ie BPA-free) and recyclable, making them eco-friendly. You can go even greener by reusing any glass jar from products like tomato sauce or pickles by washing and scraping off the labels. There are countless uses for jars, but here are just a few ideas to get you looking at this humble kitchen staple in a new light.
Home canning is the most obvious use for these popular jars, but also go hand-in-hand with a green, simplified lifestyle. Even the smallest of gardens can produce an excess of produce. By using some BPA-free lids and a little bit of research, you can safely “put up” this surplus for a later date. A pressure canner is a small investment that can really pay off!
Salad Dressing Container
You can use whatever your favorite dressing recipe might be or just throw in some oil, vinegar, a squirt of dijon mustard and seasoning, and you’ve got the perfectly shakeable container to douse your greens.
If you’re trying to cut back on your use of plastic bags and containers, try checking out the various sizes of mason jars to fit your lunch packing needs. A larger size can contain a salad in a jar (with the dressing on the bottom – just shake before serving) or even leftover soup or casserole (just take off the metal lid before microwaving).
DIY Yogurt Cups
Pint jars are the perfect size to carry your own to-go yogurt. Control the ingredients further by tossing in some frozen organic berries in the bottom, some (optional) honey or maple syrup, and topping it with plain yogurt (either homemade or from a large, cheaper container of organic yogurt). The berries will thaw by your mid-morning snack or lunchtime. Make a kid-friendly version with smaller 4 oz. jars.
If you love to dip your veggies into hummus or dressings but can’t figure out a practical way to transport the dips to work, fear not. Small canning jars are perfectly sized and sealed to keep liquid in. You can also put the dip in the bottom of a pint jar and place the sliced vegetables vertically on top.
Consider packaging gifts using a mason jar and some twine or ribbon. Or, make the jar a part of the gift by layering ingredients for a soup recipe, homemade cocoa mix, and more. If you want to get really creative, mason jars pair beautifully with Edison light bulbs to create breathtaking lights! The sky really is the limit.
Again, the small mason jars can be handy for so many things! Cook and puree your baby’s fruit or veggies and portion into small sizes. Most can even be frozen, so this can easily be done in advance, defrosted in the fridge, and carried along to wherever baby is headed for the day.
It can be so tempting to grab unhealthy snacks when you’re out and about but by tossing some raisins, granola, trail mix, or nuts into a small mason jar, you won’t be empty-handed.
Super Simple Bank
Jars are perfect for tossing those wayward coins. Feel free to label them so that you have a focus as to where those coins will end up, be it a vacation fund, shopping trip, or an emergency fund.
You may have seen this done at a wedding recently, but why not give it a go at your own house? The next time you’re searching for a vase for a handful of posies, give a large mason jar (or various sizes in a grouping for variety) a try. You may have a new favorite flower arrangement.
Coconut Oil Container
Whether you use coconut oil to condition your hair, to moisturize, or for its thousand other uses, it’s a bit of a pain in the neck to go back to the one container every time you need to use some (and pretty expensive to buy several containers for all over the house). Divvy it up among small jars and find how much easier it can be. This also makes it easier for mixing essential oils.
Vases are just the beginning! Turn to a mason jar when you need a candleholder, or to fill with interesting fillers like acorns for autumn, festive ornaments for the holidays, pine cones and cinnamon sticks for winter, or eggs and twine in springtime.
It seems that children (especially those who enjoy plenty of time outside) are always collecting a variety of random items that become cherished treasures, not to be tossed back outside. As long as none of these items are living, use a mason jar to store these treasures; even label the top with a marker for a keepsake: “Brady’s Hike, June 7, 2015.” Speaking of keepsakes, try this as an adult! Display jars from different trips, collecting mementos like ticket stubs, keys, sand, rocks, shells – whatever will remind you of how you spent a special time with loved ones.
Serving drinks, whether at a party or just to yourself, in a mason jar doesn’t look like a shabby, cheap faux pas these days. Although, if you do mix up a “signature” cocktail (or mocktail), that won’t hurt to up the cool factor, either.