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
O.k., all poetry aside, Mason jars are amazingly versatile even if you never use one to hold your fresh garden produce. Some of them 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 homemade 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 homemade cleaners 19. Cotton balls 20. Bulk or homemade shampoo 21. Homemade 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 There are as many things that you can do with Mason jar as you can think of. I have heard them referred to as woman's duct tape. If you spent much time here you would probably agree. 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 - eBay - 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.