Since 1858, Mason jars have been a staple in American kitchens. Originally designed for canning, ingenuity now gives the humble Mason jar a variety of functions and creative purposes.
In the Kitchen:
- For those who grow and dry their own herbs, Mason jars are the perfect way to store them for long-term freshness. Paint the lid with chalkboard paint to label the contents again and again.
You can also use Mason jars to create your own spice mixes from store-bought herbs and spices. Homemade taco seasoning is so much better than store-bought packages.*
- Mason jar salads have been popular for several years, but with the addition of some cleaned-out snack pack/applesauce containers, the Mason jar adds consolidated convenience for lunch on the go!
- Grate your own Parmesan cheese and store it in a Mason jar! You can use the old lid from the store-bought Parmesan cheese to fit on the glass jar, or purchase a shaker lid from Amazon.
- Consolidate half-filled bags of chocolate chips, rice, oatmeal, and other pantry staples in pretty Mason jars.
- Homemade vanilla extract is so good, you’ll never want to buy it at the store again!†
- Use the metal lids to bake mini-pies!
In the Bathroom:
- Mounting Mason jars to a piece of wood with metal hose clamps is a stylish and inexpensive storage option for everything from Q-tips and cotton balls to toothbrushes and makeup brushes.
- Use a large Mason jar to create a pretty holder for Kleenex.
- Use a Mason jar to keep track of bobby pins and hair ties.
- Stuff a sponge into a Mason jar and pour nail polish remover into the jar. It will save a ton of money on the store version.
- Mason jars are a great and inexpensive way to begin an herb garden. If your kitchen has enough natural light, you’ll have easy access while you’re cooking.
- Poke some holes in the top metal ring and fill the jar with candle waxes for a car freshener. Leave in a cup holder. During the summer, the wax will melt and make your car smell great!
Other areas of the house:
- Use a Mason jar to create homemade cleaners for your kitchen, bathroom, and other areas around the house.
- Stock your garage with Mason jars to sort screws and nails of various sizes.
- Keep matches waterproof in a Mason jar. Glue a piece of sandpaper to the lid to have a place to strike when you need to light a match.
- Making up a cookie mix in a Mason jar is a cute, easy way to always have some spare gifts on hand!Decorate the jar with baking instructions tied with a pretty ribbon.
- Make manicure kits—fill the Mason jar with cotton balls, nail files, clippers, nail polish, and lotion!
Obviously, there are so many ideas for Mason jars! Whether you paint them, or leave them clear, or even make a chandelier from them—have fun with an inexpensive classic.
Some recipes for some of the kitchen suggestions:
*Homemade Taco Mix
- ½ cup and 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1¼ tsp. garlic powder
- 1¼ tsp. onion powder
- 1¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1¼ tsp. dried oregano
- 2½ tsp. paprika
- 2 Tbsp. and 1½ tsp. ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp. and 2 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. and 2 tsp. black pepper
Mix and store in your Mason jar. Two tablespoons will replace a typical store-bought packet.
†Homemade Vanilla Extract
- Mason jar
- Vodka, bourbon, or rum (your choice!)
- 2 vanilla beans per jar
- Funnel (if you don’t use a wide-mouthed Mason jar)
Cut the vanilla bean in half, and then lengthwise, starting a ½ inch from the end. It should resemble a clothespin after you cut it. Scraping the beans out of the pods is optional, but everything goes into the jar. Pour in your alcohol of choice until the beans are covered, but leave enough space that the beans can be shaken. Seal, then shake the jar every few days. The vanilla extract will be ready in about eight weeks. You can leave the pods or remove them.