Photo by Cherie Langlois
OK, I lied. I haven’t actually figured out 101 ways to use them yet, but glass home canning jars, also called Mason jars, are just so versatile and useful that I couldn’t resist the title.
I adore these things, and I’ll bet there are 101 uses for them out there (please contribute any ideas you have in the comments below!).
Up until that time, home canners had to make due with a glass jar, flat tin lid and sealing wax. These affordable, easy-to-use jars revolutionized home canning, making the activity popular with farmers and city folk alike.
In 1882, another type of canning jar emerged—one with a clamped glass lid called the Lightning Jar, invented by Henry William Putnam (I inherited a bunch of these lovely old jars from my mother-in-law, including some made from blue glass). Eventually, Ball and Kerr jars—familiar to any home canner today—took over.
I’ve accumulated quite a collection of canning jars, of all different sizes, over the years, and here’s what I found these jars holding in my home today:
1. Home-canned foods, of course: red and green salsa, apple butter, blueberry and blackberry jam, some herbal jellies.
2. Dried beans: I use the jars to store beans, and have also layered different colored/sized beans (and pasta) in the antique jars for kitchen decorations: Easy!
3. Home-grown mint tea; homemade hot chocolate mix; Christmas chocolates.
3. Dried herbs from my garden, store-bought bulk spices.
4. Saved garden seeds for next year’s planting.
5. Rose bud/lavender/sweet woodruff potpourri.
6. Cotton balls, Q-tips.
7. Made from scratch salad dressing and pancake syrup.
8. Jewelry odds & ends; make-up brushes, mascara, etc.
9. Tacks, nails, screws, etc.
One Christmas, I hired a candle-maker friend to take some of my antique jars and make candles out of them for gifts (I kept several for myself). They’re beautiful!
If you need a candle-holder in a pinch—say during an unexpected power outage—simply take a wide-mouth glass canning jar (small or large) and stick a votive candle (or tea light) inside.
You may want to layer some small, pretty pebbles on the bottom of the jar first to make a steady base for the candle. For safety’s sake, place a glass plate underneath the jar and, as with any candle, never leave these unattended.
Hope your New Year is off to a good start!