mason jars

Mason jars are the perfect reusable container for any home, whether the kitchen, office or bathroom. Why would anyone throw one away?

We collect many reuseable items at Load of Rubbish, but there is an item which always surprises me when I see them—mason jars. Mason jars were invented by John Landis Mason in 1858. Their lasting popularity has to do with the design; the glass jars have a threaded rim so that metal screw bands easily tighten into place. The lids, with their essential rubber rings, help to create a vacuum seal; an integral part in the canning process. Any item sealed into a mason jar, when processed correctly, is fit for consumption for many months afterwards. Mason jars were the answer to food preservation for those with short growing seasons and abundant harvests.

Crown jar

Crown has a long history in canning jars

As time marched on, the popularity of mason jars waned though. Refrigeration extended the life of food, as did freezing. Industrialization meant that food could be produced cheaply and en masse. Not only did this drive more people away from the family farm, but they moved to the city where it became easier to get a wider variety of produce all year long from the burgeoning trucking industry. Mason jars, and the home canning movement, became threatened, but were far from driven to extinction.

The solid construction of mason jars have stood the test of time. The durable soda-lime construction is able to withstand the heating process meant to sterilize the jar and its contents. As long as you fill and heat the jar properly, the subsequent vacuum seal preserves the contents of the jar.

storage container ideas

Mason jars are useful for so much more than canning. They make the perfect container for just about anything.

While mason jars are popular at this time of year as harvests get brought in from the field, it isn’t only jams, jellies, pickles and preserves that go into them. For those looking to reduce their plastic footprint, mason jars are a great resource for any pantry. You can store seeds, nuts, flour, sugar, spices, or anything that will fit into your jar inside of them. Mason jars come in fairly standard sizes; half-pint, pint, quart, as well as standard and wide-mouth jars—perfect for just about any kitchen staple.

Don’t limit yourself there though. Type in mason jar crafts on Pinterest and you will be overwhelmed by the variety of ideas; candle holders, bathroom accessories, vases, and other storage ideas. A Google search of mason jar recipes nets you over 1.7 million hits, ranging from a salad in a jar, to mini mason jar pies, to a handy container for veggies and dip. Keep them in the kitchen to keep out critters. Use them in the office to hold pens. In the bathroom, turn mason jars into soap dispensers. The ideas are endless. You can repurpose them into as many things as your creative mind can come up with.

At Load of Rubbish, we have come across plenty of mason jars; Crown, Ball, clear, blue, yellow, and more. In an age where plastic pollution threatens to overwhelm us, it seems a shame when people toss out these sturdy reusable containers. Here is a resource that has stood the test of time and can be transformed into anything! At least we save them from the landfill, when we give them to local donation centres.

What do you use mason jars for?