Jars! Jars! Jars!

Mason jars are such a thing now.  All you need to do is run a search on Pinterest and you’ll find more Brilliant Ideas for using mason jars than you can shake a stick at.  Spend a few minutes scrolling through the endless decorating, cooking, crafting, and (surprisingly limited) canning ideas and you’ll quickly go from “Ooh! Mason jars!” to “Ugh. Mason jars.”

They’re so cliche.

But our mothers and grandmothers weren’t wrong.  These suckers are seriously practical!  Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you can make a mason jar chandelier.  Or tell you how to make a mason jar herb garden that hangs on your wall. Hello! Drainage people!  Those herbs will last a few days tops like that!

But I will tell you that the 3 flats of mason jars I’ve bought in the last few months (I’m a late adopter) is probably one of the best kitchen-related purchases I’ve ever made.  Second only to my cast iron skillets.  But I digress.

I had become concerned about some of the chemicals that may have been leaching into our food from our plastic food storage containers.  They were so old, and they were all melty and weird on the sides from being in the microwave.  Plus, lots of our lids have gone missing.  In years past, I supplemented my nice wedding gift Tupperware with the el cheapo Glad containers with limited success.  They’re not airtight and don’t work very well.

I needed a solution that would be a long term fix to the problem: Glass.

Good gravy!  Have you priced glass storage containers lately?  Plus, you still have the problems with the plastic lids.  If you lose the lid or it warps in the dishwasher, what are you supposed to do?  And glass lids don’t make a good airtight seal.

It was about that time that I realized that mason jars were a thing.  And heck, you know what?  If they can keep my grandma’s green beans and apple butter preserved for Lord only knows how long, I bet they’ll keep my leftovers fresh for a day or two.

And they did!  For less than half the price of a 3 piece plastic Tupperware set, I was able to get a flat of 12 Ball pint jars.  I started using them for keeping leftovers, making salad dressing (recipe here), and packing my lunches.  Jar lunches are also a “thing.”

And then I cleaned out my pantry.  And my whole world changed.

These are awesome for storing all of those little various odds and ends of pantry items that just tend to flop all over the place.  Suddenly, my boxes of cous cous, bags of nuts, and packages of fancy rice were packed neatly into airtight, bug proof containers.  It was an epiphany!  My breadcrumbs stay fresh!  Even the panko.  My pecans don’t get weird and rancid!  My bag of oatmeal is protected from the weevil scourge!

Jars are awesome!

At the time of this posting, I own flats of 12 pint jars, 12 quart jars, and 12 wide mouth half-pints.  All three of those flats together cost less than that tupperware 3 pack.  I also picked up two half-gallon jars: one for my pasta and one for my oatmeal.

I can microwave these, refrigerate them, bake in them, toss them in the dishwasher, boil them, eat and drink out of them, and the best part?  With the exception of the half-gallon jars, all of the lids are totally interchangeable!  And if I lose a few lids?  Replacements are cheap and readily available.

I love my mason jars.  Now maybe some day I’ll get around to learning how to can.

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