If you know me, this post should come as no surprise. I have a strange and unwavering love of mason jars. I don’t know what it is about them, but I just think they’re the bee’s knees (mason jars make me want to speak like a prohibition-era flapper). If you’re on Pinterest, you’ll see a lot (and I mean a LOT) of posts on the various uses for mason jars – they’ve become staples of crafty women, wedding centerpieces and summer-time al fresco dining. But I wanted to take this opportunity to share my favourite uses of the glorious mason jar and show just how versatile these simple contraptions can be.
A little background: before the mason jar was used artistically by modern women in their 20s and 30s, it was used solely for preserving food. Invented in 1858 by John Landis Mason (hence the name), the design was meant to help with the canning of food. It revolutionized home food preservation, and interestingly, the design has remained more or less the same for the past 150+ years. In fact, my own earliest memories of mason jars are as a container for my grandmother’s homemade jam. But gone are those days – now the mason jar can be just about anything to anyone…
1) Flowers and Plants:
Tall mason jars can act as cheap and cheerful flower vases. Simply get short-stemmed flowers and you’ve got a cute easy-to-maintain piece for your home.
For an indoor springtime planter, I like the idea of painting mason jars bright colours, fill them with dirt, plant some seeds and water. You can have some gorgeous indoor plants in no time. Plus, if you’re into cooking, you can plant your own indoor herb garden so you can use fresh cilantro or rosemary or chives any time you want. The Huffington Post has this as a Craft of the Day – great inspiration.
There are so many variations of desserts you can make in mason jars! You can make individual pies or cakes for parties, or use larger mason jars to provide all the ingredients for your favourite baked good (like this for Chocolate Chunk Cookies) as a gift. There are tons of ideas on this Pinterest board, but my favourite has to be this S’mores Dessert in a Jar. S’mores + mason jars? I’m in love!
3) Indoor or outdoor lighting:
I’ve seen some pretty unique ways to use mason jars as decor, but my favourite has to be as a candle-holder. If you place a tea light in a mason jar and hang them up, they can provide a nice ambient light outdoors (during summer) or indoors.
Alternately, you can buy a ready-made mason jar chandelier (like the one below) to add a unique touch to a more rustic-themed home.
You can use mason jars to store just about anything tiny and easily-lost: pins and needles for sewing, buttons, screws/nuts/bolts, loose ribbon for wrapping presents…the nik-nak possibilities are endless! My favourite use case for storage, though, is in the kitchen.
Storing baking/cooking supplies in mason jars can reduce clutter (not to mention spillage from flimsy packaging), and adds a uniform storage look to your kitchen. The photo above has the lids painted with chalkboard paint for easy (and erasable) labeling. Once you open a bag of nuts or chocolate chips or oats, storing them in a mason jar helps retain their freshness (these were invented for food preservation, after all!), and gives you a good way to actually see what you have and how much of it, for shopping purposes.
This one is getting a little controversial. If you’ve eaten at any west-end restaurant in Toronto lately, you will have noticed that your drinks are likely coming to you in wide-mouthed mason jars rather than the traditional cup. Much to a lot of people’s chagrin, wine is sometimes served in these jars, too!
But I will defend the practice of drinking from mason jars because 1) they are great for summer/rustic/southern/backyard BBQ themed parties or weddings and 2) you can actually buy mason jar-inspired drinking mugs (like these from Pottery Barn) that give you more of a traditional drinking experience (if that’s what you’re into).
Luckily for me, mason jars are widely available these days. So if inspiration ever strikes, Canadian Tire is the place to go for tall, short, wide-mouthed or regular mason jars. Long live the mason jar!