Seriously, canning jars are amazingly versatile, and we can thank the likes of John L. Mason, Henry William Putnam, the Ball brothers, Alexander H. Kerr and a list of other recognizable last names for their contributions to the advancement of glass jar technology. But I know you didn’t come here for a canning jar history lesson, so let’s move right along to the purpose of this post.
Actually, I do have one more quick thing I want to say before we delve into the many uses of the common canning jar: Many of the metal lid options have a lining that contains Bisphenol A (BPA), which is an endocrine disruptor. Keep an eye out for BPA-free options, and if you do end up with lids that contain BPA, I would recommend either swapping them out with BPA-free canning jar lids or using those jars for non-food purposes. If you can’t get around it and have to use the ones with BPA, leave space between the contents and the lid, and make sure you keep the jars upright, to avoid contact.
Tattler Reusable Wide Mouth Canning Lids with rubber rings are one BPA-free option; however, they do contain POM, which has trace amounts of formaldehyde that can be released at high temperatures. While this temperature is nearly twice as hot as a home pressure canner’s maximum temperature, it is still something to consider. Alternatively, you can use all-glass jars with metal clamp closures and gaskets (like these Le Parfait French Glass Canning Jars or these Bormioli Rocco Fido Round Clear Jars). These jars are perfect for food storage and non-food uses, but not all jars of this type are suitable for canning, so check the specs.
Okay, back to the awesomeness of mason jars…
Canning and fruit jars are inexpensive, reusable, easy to clean, way better than plastic food containers and lend themselves well to a variety of uses. They come in an array of shapes and sizes, making them even more versatile, and have a nostalgic side that increases their appeal for use around the house. Basically, they rock.
To show just how much they rock and provide a bit of inspiration for creative ways to use cheap, plastic-free mason jars, here are XXXXX ways to use jars for storage, organization, craft projects, gift giving and more. Keep in mind that you don’t have to start out by purchasing a case of new jars; you can find used jars at garage sales and thrift shops, or you can start out by using the glass jars in which store-bought products like salsa, pasta sauce and jam often come.
- Use for making homemade jams and canning produce.
- Use as everyday drinking glasses.
- Serve chilled desserts, such as vegan chocolate pudding or vegan chocolate mousse.
- Use as travel mugs with these cool, BPA-free, to-go drinking lids for mason jars from Cuppow.
- Store leftovers (or send some home with your quests).
- Take soup to a sick friend.
- Make and store vegan vanilla sugar.
- Make DIY vegan vanilla extract.
- Keep ground coffee fresh after grinding a few days’ worth of beans.
- Store dry goods, such as flours, spices, dried herbs, beans, rice, lentils, grains and nutritional yeast.
- Store other bulk food items, such as pasta, popcorn, cookies, granola, nuts, cereals, dried foods and all the other goodness you can find in the bulk food section.
- Store your sourdough starter.
- Store homemade almond, rice or soy milk.
- Use as a cookie jar for vegan treats.
- Organize and hold cooking utensils.
- Use as a spoon rest while cooking.
- Store homemade salad dressings, gravies and sauces.
- Use as a sugar bowl.
- Create a simple centerpiece using canning jars and wild flowers, lemons, pine cones, rocks or other natural elements.
- Use a large mason jar to make sun tea.
- Avoid plastic containers by using small glass jars for packing lunches. (I use small jars to send oatmeal, cookies, applesauce and more in my partner’s lunch.)
- Use larger glass jars to take a salad to work. (Check out this Healthy.Happy.Life. blog post for inspiration and great pictures.)
- Store time-saving homemade mixes, such as pancake mix, bread mix, bean soup mix or brownie mix.
7 Uses for Canning Jars in the Bathroom
- Use small mason jars as snack containers to keep in your desk drawer at work or in your home office.
- Attach the lids to the bottom of shelves in your garage or office (so that you can screw on the jar for under-shelf storage) and use them to store screws, nuts, bolts or office supplies.
- Use a canning jar as a pen and pencil holder on your desk.
- Grab some small glass jars to organize paperclips, binder clips and other small office supplies.
- Use a short, wide-mouth jar as a business card holder.
- Make a canning jar lamp with these instructions.
- Use them for kids craft projects, such as snow globes or sand art.
- Use them for DIY projects, like candles, potpourri or holiday decorations.
- Decorate them as gift containers for bath salts, recipe kits or other gift ideas.
- Create a home spa gift basket with DIY pampering products stored in mason jars.
- Make awesome hostess gifts, like a vegan recipe with all of the ingredients layered inside a canning jar.
- Use them to store jewelry findings or sewing notions, such as buttons, beads and thread.
- Use a jar for cleaning or storing paint brushes.
- Store your saved seeds for next year's garden planting.
- Make mini greenhouses.
- Use as candle holders or centerpieces for an outdoor dining table.
- Create luminaries to line your walkway or driveway to guide guests.
- Create simple lanterns that can be hung along the edge or your patio, set on a porch railing or hung from trees.
- Use mason jars to serve tea, mixed drinks, beer or wine to party guests.
- Use various sizes of canning jars to serve soups, salads or other dishes to guests.
- Start a change jar (or dollar jar) to save up for a special indulgence.
- Keep your quarters close at hand for laundry day.
- Set around the house with scented candles or homemade potpourri.
- Keep emergency candles from blowing out.
- Drill holes in the lid of a canning jar and use it to store and sprinkle your DIY carpet deodorizing powder.
- Create a chore jar with tasks written on slips of paper. (Each family member can draw a paper to see their chore for the day.)
- Create a date jar with date ideas to be drawn at random to keep things interesting.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list of all of the cool things you can do with awesomely versatile canning jars, but hopefully this will give you a few ideas and maybe inspire you to come up with even better ways to use mason jars around the house.
What is your favorite way to use canning jars in your home, garage, office or crafting space?