Mason jars are many-splendored things, possibly one of the most useful hipster discoveries ever. We use them for all kinds of things around the house. If you visit Pinterest and type in “Mason jar”, you’ll be overwhelmed by the plethora of ways to employ these humble glass vessels. They can be transformed into lunchboxes, planters, candles, organizers, storage containers, and…candles. There are a lot of candle ideas for Mason jars on Pinterest.

I understand they can be used for canning, too. While I still need to get organized around canning and preserving, we find plenty of uses for Mason jars that save us money and exposure to chemicals that lurk in lesser, petroleum-derived containers.

When making homemade beef bone stock, I pour strained stock into quart or half-gallon Mason jars and then let it cool overnight in the fridge. Since they are made of tempered glass, they can take the heat of almost-boiling stock and not crack.

We’ve brewed kombucha, sun tea, and hot coffee in them. I’ve been using this pour over set up, including while traveling. It’s a little on the slow side, but all pour over is, right? Perfectly serviceable.

In the pantry, we use them for storage (great for nuts and seeds, flours, and powders like cocoa or carob). It’s easy to see what’s in them, and simple enough to make a label to differentiate between, say, coconut flour and almond flour.

In addition to the utilitarian advantages, I like using glass instead of plastic for health reasons (avoiding BPA and other chemicals) and environmental reasons (cutting down on petroleum-derived plastics). We do use plastic lids, but not with hot liquids. The one piece design is simpler than the two piece ring and lid design that usually comes with the jars.

We use Mason jars for regular drinking, too. Although abuelita thinks it’s because we ran out of “real” glasses, they are tough enough to clink around in the cabinet (we have drawers, actually, that we bought when a local Blockbuster video store went out of business) and not chip or break.

For on the go drinking, we’ve been using this lid system by Ecojarz. It absolutely does not leak, which is much more than can be said for other systems we’ve tried. The only downside is that for some reason the ring that hold the system in place are incredibly difficult to remove. I haven’t figured out why, but if I do I’ll certainly provide an update and workaround if available. Anyway, hands-down the best lid system we’ve found. Conveniently, it eliminates trying to find a matching water bottle-lid combination, too.

Do you have any go-to uses for glass canning jars? Share your ideas in the comments.


  • Marion Cipolle

    This post speaks to me as I too use glass and especially mason jars. I use them in many of the ways mentioned in your article but I also use the 4-ounce jelly jars for baking individual flans, chocolate lava cakes, custards, and pies. I have seen them used for favors filled with apple pies at a fall wedding inNew England. I do use the jars of all sizes for canning and pickling. Tomatoes are more safely packed in glass, so that is what keeps me busy during harvest time.
    Thank you for this article, I will pass it along.

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