Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Favorite Thing-Mason Jars

Yesterday as I was putting together a library display on Going Green I found a couple of books with tips on reusing and reducing. 14 months ago I stopped using plastic grocery bags and have tried to cut back on using zip locks and other plastic storage containers. The books I browsed through had ideas for reusing milk cartons (dog food scoops), egg cartoons (earring compartments), shoe boxes (cleaning supply organizers under the sink) etc but not a lot of ideas for reusing glass.

Last year I started canning my own fruits and vegetables and became slightly obsessed with mason jars. Our local Home Depot and Wal-Mart (aka The Scary Store), stopped stocking them and I resorted to begging my gardening and cooking friends for their left over jars. A friend who owns a farm in Door County Wisconsin had her husband buy me a load of canning jars from Farm & Fleet on a visit north and I quickly used up my supply. This year I prepared a head of time and during a trip to their farm last month I stopped by Farm & Fleet and stocked up.

The best thing about mason jars isn't that they come in a variety of shapes and sizes but the uses I've found for them outside of canning homemade apple sauce, pesto and pickles. The taller mason jars are perfect for transporting beverages and liquids while on the go. I regularly use the jars for tea, soup, rice and yogurt and they make the perfect containers for leftovers at work. I've never been a fan of pouring hot liquids into plastic containers for storage so I've started using my jars for storing homemade marinara sauce, soups, risotto etc... I find the jars easier to clean (glass doesn't absorb stains like Tupperware), safer to store hot food in and easier to stack in my fridge and cabinets.

The uses for mason jars are endless, here are a few ideas.

Mason Jar Frappuccino
Cake in a Jar
Homemade granola, cereal, pancake mix, cookies, bread

Dried beans, pasta, rice, seeds etc
Cotton balls
Office supplies
Small children's toys (Legos)

A terrarium

P.S. Don't have access to a store that sells new mason jars? Reuse your jelly jars, Prego spaghetti sauce jars, olive jars etc. The great thing about reusing supermarket food jars are the variety of shapes and sizes. If they would just make it easier to get the labels off...


Kristina said...

They are also useful for decorating!


Shannon Distel Scanlan said...

Kristina, I love it, brilliant idea!

Alex said...

B&M Bean jars rock

And the beans are great too.

Alex said...

I tried to put a link to their picture but it didn't work :(