Feeling crafty? Adventurous? Just hungry? These jars were destined for greatness.
Most commonly used in canning (see below), we love these glass marvels for many obvious reasons. Not only are they airtight, making them great travel companions, but they’re reusable, they can handle hot liquids, and they really do come in all shapes and sizes. However, we’re willing to bet that you have not thought of all of the following functions for your jar. Did you know you can:
1. Bake in it
Mason jars are completely fine to bake in if it is done carefully. This is especially convenient for baked goods that you plan on serving individually (for instance, this cinnamon streusel coffee cake) because A. they look extra tasty and homemade rising over the top of a jar and B. you save yourself the trouble and the mess of transferring crumbly and/or sticky treats from one vessel to another. (Recipe and Photo: Heather’s Dish)
2. Freeze it
From the oven to the freezer: built to endure extreme temperatures, we recognize the Mason jar as the true Survivorman of the container kingdom. Freezing your beans, sauces, berries etc. in Mason jars is a good way to keep organized. These jars will seal well and keep the moisture away from where it is not wanted, they aren’t likely to fall over or get tossed around, and since they’re transparent there’s no need to label ‘em. (Instructions and Photo: Naturally Ella)
Now here’s a neat way to recycle excess jars. This wood-plank and pipe-clamp method is solely one of the endless styles of displaying your Mason jar herb garden. Just be sure to water the herbs delicately since these jars don’t come with a draining system. (Instructions and Photo: Camille Styles)
Yes, this could be done with an electric mixer, but we think it will be far more gratifying to shake it with your bare hands. All you’ll need aside from the jar is some heavy whipping cream and a little bit of patience/preliminary arm-stretching. (Recipe and Photo: Confessions of a Foodie)
OK, this one might be obvious, but Mason jars are the best jars for canning. Did you finish off a jar of jam recently? Not sure what to do with the jar? You could always fill it with more jam. Warning: Canning can be addicting. Do not attempt if you do not have time for another hobby. (Recipe and Photo: The ABCDs of Cooking)
Enjoy drinking your juice—(smoothie? cocktail? iced coffee?)—from a Mason jar? We do, and we’ll bet you didn’t know about this DIY project that will forever make your jars more drink-friendly (and straw-friendly). (Project Instructions, Recipes and Photo: Chasing Delicious)
7. Infuse booze
Because of aforementioned properties, when sealed up tight mason jars are great for infusing. While this DIY does require a bit more patience, it does not require much effort. Just shake your concoctions occasionally and let them do their thing. It will pay off in the long run, we promise. (Recipe and Photo: Tasty Yummies)
Again, this isn’t far-fetched, but it probably isn’t the first thing you thought of. It will work with any size but if you can get your hands on some of the bigger ones—you can fit a lot into a 1-quart mason jar—then you’ve got to give it a try, those babies are made for pickling. (Recipe and Photo: The Bojon Gourmet)
9. Grow sprouts
This mini science project is surprisingly simple and doesn’t take very long. The technique here works best for crunchier varieties, such as mung beans and green peas. They’ll start sprouting in no time and you’ll have a new home-grown ingredient to throw into your raw salad, sandwich etc. (Instructions and Photo: Reckless Abandon)
We’ve learned you can make and heat food in it, we know it’s good for storage, we know it’s good for travel, and now we can tie it all together. Overnight oatmeal is the quintessential make-ahead breakfast because once you fix it up, you store it in the fridge, grab it when you’re ready, heat it and take it on the go if you find yourself in a rush. (Recipe and Photo: She Makes and Bakes)
11. Make-ahead lunch
Salads on the go can be problematic: you don’t want to dress them too long before lunch, and if you bring the dressing on the side, well, that just opens the door for any number of nightmarish spilling scenarios. It would seem that we’re at a stalemate, but–Mason jar to the rescue–the solution is simple, and it’s layering! The beauty of this is not solely visual. All you have to do is choose a bottom layer (like red onion, here) that doesn’t mind a little oil. (Recipe and Photo: The View from Great Island)
What we’re really driving at here is that there is a make-ahead, jar-friendly recipe for just about anything. So, for the next party you’re planning, save yourself some hosting hassle. Remember how we said these will freeze your beans well (see above)? With a recipe like this, they’re good for freezing your beverages too. Blend your margaritas in a bulk batch, pour them out and simply pop them into the freezer so you can quench your guests’ thirst without having to bartend (that much). (Recipe and Photo: The Yummy Life)
12.5. And just for fun…
Did you know that the first “Mason jar” was invented by John Landis Mason in 1858?
What are your favorite creative uses for mason jars? Let us know in the comments!