By Kim Robson:
As an avid fan of canning fresh foods, I always have handy a number of mason jars in varying sizes and shapes. Glass canning or mason jars are tough, versatile, dishwasher safe, see-through, non-reactive and plastic-free. They are inexpensive and often sold in flats of twelve. Save the box bottoms they come packaged in, too, because they’re great for corralling multiple jars for long-term storage.
In the Kitchen
Mason jars are perfect for storing leftovers. Never can find the right Tupperware lid? Most canning jars fit one of two universal lids, either wide-mouth or regular. Lids and bands are sold separately, too, so if some go missing, they’re easily replaceable. They’re also microwave-safe for reheating, as well as safe for the freezer (just remember to leave 10% headspace for expansion). Think homemade ice cream, tomato sauce, homemade pesto, and leftover grated cheese.
Grow sprouts in a large mason jar.
Store washed and prepped salad mix or fruit salad.
Store fresh herbs upright in a bit of water.
Easy, fun lunch-on-the-go solution: Salad-in-a-Jar, Burrito Bowl-in-a-Jar, or Chia Pudding-in-a-Jar. Kids will love overnight no-cook refrigerator Oatmeal-in-a-Jar.
Need a unique and personal hostess gift? Cakes in a jar are delicious, easy, and gorgeous to look at. There are scores of baking recipes and no-bake recipes.
Store dry goods such as coffee, tea, flour, cornmeal, beans, lentils, rice and pasta in the pantry. Since everything is visible through the glass, it’ll be simple to monitor quantities. Glass mason jars are best for keeping moths out, and they look smart, too.
Zero-waste markets have gained a foothold in Europe, and now they’re hopping the pond to the U.S., too. At a new zero-waste grocery store in Brooklyn, New York, customers can bring their own reusable containers to measure out just the right amount of food and household product they need. You can scoop dry goods like grains and spices into your own glass jars or cloth sacks. Dispensers are filled with oils, vinegar, honey, syrup, and even dish soap. Milk is sold in glass bottles that shoppers can return during their next grocery trip.
Store kitchen utensils, rubber bands, twine, twist ties, toothpicks, cupcake liners, pastry tubes and tips, etc.
In the Bathroom
Store cotton balls, Q-Tips, bath salts, powdered milk, extra toothbrushes, makeup brushes, combs, Band-Aids, etc. I keep a tiny two-ounce mason jar full of kitchen matches on the toilet tank for use as air deodorizers. The metal band of the two-piece lid would serve as the strike strip.
In the Garage
Store nails, screws, nuts, bolts, twine, washers, paint brushes, batteries, scraps of sandpaper and all sorts of tiny miscellaneous hardware. Once again, the clear glass will make it easy to spot just what you need. Store excess dry cat or dog food, as well as overflow rice or beans or flour not kept in the pantry.
In the Office
Store pens and pencils, paperclips, binder clips, rubber bands, staples, highlighters and thumb drives in “easy-to-see and access” glass jars. Mason jars are also perfect for stowing shelf-stable desk snacks like peanuts, banana chips, M&Ms, etc.