Uses for Mason Jars

Posted by Mrs Money on March 5th, 2010

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spice jars
Creative Commons License photo credit: nate steiner

A lot of frugal and green people are always decluttering, reducing, and recycling. I don’t think you should go out and buy new “green” items to fit in with the fad of being green.  I think that there are many creative ways to use what you have in different ways to save time, money, and the Earth.  I do think that one item that you should have on hand that can be used for many purposes is mason jars. If you are into garage sales, you can normally find some there. I’d recommend buying pints and quarts. We also keep old glass jars from almond butter, pickles, etc.  Soak the jars in hot water and the labels should come right off!  They come in handy for so many different uses!

Fun fact: Have you ever wondered where the saying “Mind your p’s and q’s” came from?  Back in the day, when people at the bars got rowdy, the bartender would tell them to “Mind your pints and quarts”.  It got shortened, and the popular “mind your p’s and q’s” came to fruition.

What can you use mason jars for? Here are some things we do with ours:

1. Drinking. There is nothing better than a mason jar full of ice water during the summer. I like to add a slice of lemon. It’s funny- when we have company and run out of glasses, I use my glass jars, and everyone gets a big kick out of that, especially the kids!

2. Food Storage. Sometimes I have leftovers and it’s not enough to warrant using our Pyrex glass storage containers. I also like putting homemade yogurt, kombucha, and other beverages in them.  Dehydrated fruits and vegetables also store well in them!

3. Canning.  The past couple years that we’ve grown our garden, I’ve canned tomatoes. They have turned out fabulously, although I am not sure they are saving me money.

4. Decoration- If you put some marbles, glass beads, or other trinkets, the jars would be such a cute display!

5. Fermenting foods.  Ever since I tried make your own sauerkraut, I’ve been hooked on the idea of fermenting my own foods. Glass jars are the best for this!

6. Collect loose coin. Think of what cute change jars they would make!

7. Make your own candles. Candles in mason jars are awesome for around your house, or even for gifts!

What do you store your leftovers in?  Do you have Mason jars at home?

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23 Responses to “Uses for Mason Jars”


  1. I’ve also started using jars (mason and others) to store the many foods I now buy in bulk. Bulk food is a cheaper way to get organics and I prefer to be fully stocked with things like lentils, beans, rice, grains, seeds, nuts . . .Jars are a great way to keep these things in the kitchen because you can actually see what you have.

    I am kind of lazy and tend to keep leftover food in the actual pan I cooked it in. Then I remove pan from fridge and put it back on the stove top or in the oven to re-heat. To cover the pan, I use the cover that goes with it or a plate.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Simple in France- Yes, it’s so much easier to have those things in jars! It looks better too.

    I’ve never thought about doing that- we have a side by side refrigerator and there’s not a lot of space in it though. I wish we had gotten a different one!

    [Reply]

    Simple in France Reply:

    Ah yes, we have a really small French-sized fridge, but it’s just a column (with adjustable shelves!) so I can just store my big soup pots in there. . .I hadn’t realized that about the side by side fridge, but that’s disappointing!

    By the way, we bought our fridge used in France for 150 euros and I bet if you wanted to swap yours out in the States, you could sell your current one on craigslist and buy a used one of different configuration without loosing money.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Yeah, my husband picked it out. :)

    I think it’s too big too. I should check and see how much I could get a replacement for from somewhere like that! :)

    PineBaroness Reply:

    “tend to keep leftover food in the actual pan I cooked it in.”
    It is not safe to do that, especially if you use pans made of or containing aluminum; it can leach toxins into the food and spoil acidic foods like pasta sauce. Glass is non-reactive.

    I use mason jars to store individual servings of soup stew and chili. I freeze them and defrost for lunch:-)

    [Reply]

  2. Mike Collins says:

    They also come in handy in the garage or basement for storing loose nuts, screws, etc. Empty coffee cans come handy too.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Mike- Yes, great idea! My dad always used glass baby jars for nuts & screws. :)

    [Reply]

  3. ParisGirl111 says:

    I love the idea of placing homemade items in the jars. I just found a recipe the other day for homemade yogurt. I think I am going to start making it because the Greek yogurt I buy is like $6.00 for 3 servings. It’s rediculously expensive.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    ParisGirl111- I loooove the Oikos yogurt! It is my favorite. I tried making yogurt and it’s okay, but there’s nothing like Oikos!

    [Reply]

  4. The Rat says:

    Nice! Never thought of incorporating mason jars more fully into my frugal lifestyle. Good tips! I like the food storage idea.

    First time visitor BTW – nice site!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    The Rat- Thanks! They definitely come in handy for me. :)

    Aww- you are too sweet. :) Thank you!

    [Reply]

  5. H Lee D says:

    Like Simple in France, we use them for bulk food purchases. We also will cook a whole ton of beans at once and freeze them in the mason jars so we don’t have to soak/cook every time we want to use dried beans.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    H Lee D- I love that! Mason jars are great for storing beans in the fridge and freezer. :)

    [Reply]

  6. I thought they were just used for target practice! :-)

    Seriously, I don’t think I’ve seen a real mason jar in years. Something to think about!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    LeanLifeCoach- Now that is not very environmentally friendly! ;)

    They have them in stores about this time of year for people interested in canning. My mother has gifted me enough to last the rest of my life! lol

    [Reply]

  7. T says:

    I started making my own yogurt and now have a ton of 1 cup mason jars to store my yogurt in. I also use them to bring clean fruit to work, like cut up strawberries and grapes.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    T- I just made some last weekend and did the same thing! I like the idea of taking fruit to work in them!

    [Reply]

  8. Because I do home-canning (not just tomatoes, but soups, stews, meat, other vegetables) with both a water bath canner and a pressure canner, I need to reserve my Mason jars for canning. They’re the only ones that are safe to use. I don’t find that it’s cost-effective to use these for non-canning reasons when I have an extreme frugal, eco-friendly option …..

    I pick up vintage Crown jars from people who are (usually) cleaning out their mothers’ basements. These jars were made prior to the 1950s, and they’re gorgeous, with glass lids and zinc rings. Gorgeous, durable, airtight … but completely unsafe for modern canning methods for a number of reasons. Yesterday, I got about 3 dozen half-gallon jars, with lids and like-new rings, for free.

    We buy in bulk and I try to limit my use of plastic. So I use glass jars for practically everything, in the cupboard and in the fridge. On my counter, for example, my sourdough starter is in a vintage jar (the glass lid without ring lets gas escape while protecting my starter).

    [Reply]


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