Mason Jar Repurposing – Neat Ideas for Using Your Old Canning Jars

I love Mason jars, which were designed to store food and have been used for canning and preserving food by generations of people now. Today these jars are still being used for canning, but they are also being used as cookie dough jars for homemade gifts, in the pantry for storage, or to store do-ahead meals which can later be heated, or even for cooking. And now we are seeing a lot of craft projects putting good use to these jars. You can get cup lids with straws for them, or even infusers, sprouting lids and a multitude of other attachments to make good use of the jars. I’ve put together some of the recipes and ideas for using Mason jars that have caught my eye, and would love to hear about what you do with yours!

Click images below to buy or for pricing or further details

In the Kitchen

Pantry Storage

Mason jars are great for storing all kinds of items, from navy beans to pasta, in the pantry. A pretty row of jars filled with grains and pastas looks even prettier with decorative labels. Pourable lids are also of great benefit for pantry storage.

kitchen pantryreCAP Mason Jars Pour Cap -Regular Mouth SilverMason Jar Aluminum Grain Dispenser

Beverages

The plastic pour spout above or the “Moonshine” spout below can be used to convert larger sized Mason jars into beverage containers for small jugs of iced tea, lemonade, etc.

Moonshine Spout Free-Flow Mason Jar Pourer

Infuser

These infusers are a great way to use a Mason jar. You can take the cold beverages on picnics, to the gym, to work or wherever. If you’re trying to wean yourself off of soda, or to drink more water, this is a great device.

Ball wide mouth Mason infuser jar and lid

Infuser recipe ideas

You can easily produce a great flavored beverage by infusing almost any fresh or frozen fruit (not bananas), and you can slso try adding herbs. Here are a few popular combinations:

  • blackberries, blueberries and raspberries with lemon &/or lime
  • blueberry, peach and watermelon
  • orange or lemon and mint
  • orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit
  • pineapple and mint
  • raspberries and lime
  • strawberry and basil
  • strawberry, peach, mango, pineapple and mint
  • watermelon and basil or rosemary

Drinking Glasses

There are many ways to use Mason jars as drinking glasses. Here are a few of them:

Set of 4 Ball Mason Jar Lids with Straws to Go Wide MouthEcojarz Silicone drink top for wide mouth Mason jarsPewter Daisy Jelly Lid for Mason Jars 24 CtWide Mouth Cuppow Item # CPWU5-001

Vacuum sealer

You can convert your old Mason jars into vacuum sealers with vacuum packing lids, keeping food to be stored in the pantry, refrigerator or freezer fresh.

Mason Jar Vacuum Packing Lid_Regular 5-Pack

Storing/heating leftovers

Mason jars make great refrigerator or freezer storage containers. You can heat in the microwave right in the jar (after removing lid). Plastic lids and jar sleeves make storing and reheating food easy.

Ball Wide Mouth Plastic Storage Lids

Jar-Z Mason Jar Jacket (quart, green)

Fermenter

If you like to make sauerkraut, kimchi or pickles, you can easily convert your Mason jars into fermenters and avoid the cost of expensive crock jars.

6 Pack Kit - Turn any wide mouth mason jar into a fermenting crock

Measuring Cups

I’m finding it hard to resist this adorable set of Mason jar measuring cups, but your old jars can be used to measure ingredients without the necessity of buying a set.

Mason Jar Measuring Cups (blue)

  • 1 cup = half pint jar = 8 fluid ounces
  • 2 cups = pint jar = 16 fluid ounces
  • 4 cups = quart jar = 32 fluid ounces
  • 8 cups = half gallon jar = 64 fluid ounces
  • a gallon = 8 pint jars = 128 fluid ounces

Blender jars

Blenders were originally designed to fit Mason jars, and many of them still work with them. The blender pictured below is a new design specifically made to fit these jars, which is great because as long as you’ve got a good supply of jars on hand you won’t run out of drink cups at a party. And here’s a great party tip:  make your Margueritas ahead of time and freeze them in the Mason jars so you have a ready supply!

Tribest Mason Jar Personal Blender PB - 350 BPA Free

Ramikins

For many people, ramikins are something they rarely use. Mason jars come in a variety of small sizes perfect for a wide variety of desserts. Why not bring out the old jelly jars when you need them – they make a charming presentation!

ramikins

Martini shaker

A Mason shaker spout turns your Mason jar into a Martini shaker.

The Mason Shaker - Gift Set

Making Sprouts

These sprout jar strainer lids make it easy to grow your own sprouts. Simply place two tablespoons to half a cup (depending on desired crop size) of sprouting seeds in a quart jar, seal the jar with the strainer lid, and add enough water to cover the seeds by an inch. Keep them in a cool spot out of sunlight, then drain the following morning. After that store the jar on its side and rinse them twice a day until sprouts reach the desired size, draining well. Failure to drain properly is a common reason for sprout crop failure. Sprouts can be stored in a ziplock baggie in the fridge for up to a week.

Mason jar sprouting lid

Here is a partial list of seeds you can sprout – be adventurous and try any properly handled sanitary seeds:

Alfalfa Dill Pumpkin
Almond Fenugreek Oats
Amaranth Flax Seed Onion
Arugula Garbanzo/Chick Peas Pinto Bean
Barley Garlic Chives Quinoa
Black Bean Green Cabbage Radish
Broccoli Leek Rice
Buckwheat Lentil Rye
Celery Millet Soy Bean
Clover Mung Bean Sunflower
Corn Mustard Wheat

Salad Dressing Mixer

This emulsifying lid has a wire whisk attached, turning a standard wide mouth Mason jar into a salad dressing mixer. Works for sauces and dressing.

Mason Jar Salad Dressing Mixer

Mason Jar Meals

Here are a few recipes you can make in a Mason jar, great to prepare ahead of time and leave for family members when you’re not around to cook, or when you’re short on time. Mason jar sleeves are great for the microwave recipes.

Mason jar blueberry pancakesBlueberry Pancakes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Blueberries

Combine flour, baking powder and sugar in a small bowl, and whisk until combined. Stir in melted butter and milk. Place blueberries on bottoms of Mason jars, then fill about halfway with batter (pancake will rise while cooking). Microwave for about 1 minute for small jars, or 90 seconds for larger jars. Makes 4 small jars or 2 large ones.

Mason jar bacon and eggsBacon and Eggs

  • 2 Eggs
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Dash Salt & Pepper

Cook bacon between a few sheets of paper towel (about a minute per slice), then crumble and set aside. Combine eggs, salt and pepper, spinach and cheese in a bowl. Pour mixture into a Mason jar. Microwave for 1.5-2 minutes (eggs will puff up during cooking but deflate when removed from the microwave).

Top with crumbled bacon and extra cheese if desired.

chili and cornbreadCornbread Topped Chili

  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1-29 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1-15 oz. can black beans or white kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1-16 oz. can Bush’s Baked Beans
  • Chili powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Cumin
  • Brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 recipe cornbread batter (boxed or homemade)

Brown ground beef, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, then cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain well and return to the pan.

Reduce heat to medium low and add tomato sauce, black beans and baked beans. Season with chili powder and cayenne pepper to taste (extra spice can be added to individual jars later), then add in dashes of onion powder, garlic powder and cumin, then simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Ladle chili into Mason jars, then top with cornbread batter, leaving at least 2″ clear at the top of the jar. Bake on a cookie sheet for 17-22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Mason jar corn dogsBaked Corn Dogs

  • 3 cups yellow self-rising corn meal mix
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 hot dogs cut in half

Preheat oven to 375°. Mix all ingredients (except hot dogs) until smooth. Pour batter into 12 well greased 1/2 pint Mason jars, filling to a scant 4 ounces. Place the hot dogs standing upright in the center of the batter. Bake for 2o minutes or until corn bread is cooked through and golden. Let cool slightly, then run a sharp knife around each corn dog to loosen from the side of the jar.

To store for later, let cool completely, lid, and store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to serve. To reheat, remove lid and microwave for about 45 seconds or until desired temperature. Makes 12 Corn Dogs.

mason-jar-saladsLayered Salads

Layered salads look very pretty in Mason jars, even with just a few simple ingredients. Its easy to make a week’s worth of salads all at once, as they typically last 5-7 days (less if adding meat). Carefully placing the ingredients helps ingredients like lettuce to stay fresh. All you need to do is place 2-3 tablespoons of the dressing of your choice in the bottom of a wide mouth quart jar, then add layers if several types of fresh hearty vegetables, starting with the ones that will hold up to dressing for the longest period, like cucumbers or cherry tomatoes, and adding any lettuce or mesclun or vegetables that might be more inclined to wilt higher up, followed by the grain of your choice. You can do these as simply or as fancy as you like. Give it a good shake before eating. If you need to, you can even eat it from the jar, although I prefer pouring it in a bowl.

Bottom Layer Middle Layer Top Layer
Asparagus Mushrooms Lettuce
Garden Peas Pinto Beans Pasta
Cherry Tomatoes Corn Quinoa
Shoe String Carrots or Celery Black beans Couscous
Broccoli Green beans Rice
Cucumbers Zuchinni Meats
Red onion Radish Eggs
Cauliflower Mesclun Cheese
Peppers Spinach Nuts
Shaved Purple Cabbage Sprouts Seeds

Also see:

cowgirl_cookies_in_a_mason_jarGifts In A Jar

There are many recipes specifically made to be given away as gifts in Mson jars. Here are a few links for these awesome gifts:

Check out some of the pretty decorative lids and labels available too – add some ribbon or fabric and you’ve got a beautiful gift!

Transform Mason Ball Lid Inserts 4 Pkg - SnowflakeBake Sale Cake Decorating LabelsDaisy Decorative Mason Jar Lids

Little B 100121 60-Piece Scallop Labels, Gold and SilverDecorative Chevron Mason Jar Lids - Set of 9Wrapables Decorative Patterns Masking Sticker Set - Pastel

In the Bath

Bath Accessory Jar

Mason jars are great for storing all kinds of bath accessories:

  • bath beads
  • bath salts
  • soap
  • cotton balls
  • makep remover pads

Choose a jar with a decorative lid and you have a beautiful container for your bathroom!

Pint Mason Jar with Songbird Lid - Green-Rust finish

Soap Dispenser

You can buy a soap dispenser lid to turn your existing Mason jars into a pretty soap dispenser for the bathroom or kitchen. Just be careful to get a good quality lid as there are some on the market that don’t last.

DIY Mason Jar Soap Dispenser Pump Kit with Lid - Stainless Soap Dispenser Pump Top

All Around the House

Bank

As seen, you can now buy Mason jar lids designed to convert a jar into a bank. Many people use a different jar for each coin denomination, then roll the coins when the jar fills.

Coin Bank Mason Jar Cap

Vase

Mason jars make pretty, rustic flower vases suitable for any room in the house. You can even get flower frogs and decorative holders to fit your jars.

Mason Jar Flower Frog Lid Mustard FinishWatering Can Mason Jar Holder

Garage

Mason jars work great for sorting and storing small items like screws, nails and bolts in the garage or workshop, either on shelves or using wall brackets as shown in “Garden Lights” below. Labels can be useful in the garage and the kitchen.

garage storage jars

Garden Lights

These solar powered LED Mason jar lid lights make it easy to transform your Mason jars into decorative garden accessories. Just fill with shells, pretty rocks or whatever you like, and place them in locations where you want a decorative accent light. You can also get wall brackets for these pretty lights.

LED Solar Powered Lid Lights from the Solar Garden Goddess for Treasured Ball and Mason JarsMason jar wall bracket

In the Craft Room

Button Jar

You can get decorative lids to transform your jars to hold buttons, threads, and all kinds of beads and accessories in the sewing or craft room. These look pretty on a shelf with a variety of items in them, even with plain lids.

Cosmo Cricket COS-STP-68244 Show Toppers Decorative Knob and Lid, Green and Black.2

Ribbon Jar

Ribbon jar lids transform your Mason jar into storage for assorted ribbons, with cuts in the lid to pull the various ribbons through for ease of use.

COS68279RibbonLids

Craft Ideas Using Mason Jars

There are countless craft projects you can do with Mason jars. Here are a few of my favorites from Pinterest:

Mason Jar Trivia

  • Did you know that Mason jars will fit many blenders instead of the blender jug? Blenders were originally designed to fit Mason jars. You can then simply turn upside down, unwind and drink.
  • The machine that cut threads into the original Mason jars, allowing attachment of a reusable screw on lid, was invented by John Landis Mason, a Philadelphia tinsmith, and patented in 1858.
  • Mason signed away his patented rights and died in relative poverty.
  • On the same day he patented his Mason jars, John Mason also patented the first pepper shaker with a screw on cap.
  • The Ball brothers started making fruit jars when Mason patented his jars when Mason’s patent for them expired, and Mason, Ball and Kerr jars are still the most common canning jars today.
  • Mason jars are molded soda-lime glass jars with sealable combination lids and rings designed to be used to store food.
  • Original jars were aqua or amber colored. There are some pretty reproductions available today. (show pics)
  • Before Mason jars home canners relied upon often unreliable waxed paper, leather or skin followed by corks or wax to attempt to preserve food, or food was dried, smoked, salted or preserved in sugar.
  • From 1939 to 1949 over 3,000,000 Mason jars were sold.
  • In the early 20th century housewives put away hundreds of quart and half gallon jars of food in their pantries, basements or root cellars. As home freezers appeared, and with increasing supermarket availability in rural areas, canning gradually declined.
  • The design of the Mason jar has barely changed since its invention.
  • Very few incidences of home-canning-caused illness are from the canning process, but rather from food handling mishaps.
  • With a new focus on health, home gardening and canning is on the rise again.

You may also be interested in: Canning and Preserving Tips, Tricks and Common Problems

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