What other uses do you find for your jars?

It's a bit cliche, but whatever, canning jars are just awesome! And for so many purposes!

I've recently been fighting a battle against plastics, especially in my kitchen, and I'm just loving all the uses my jars are being put to.

Now, I know this isn't a groundbreaking, fancy new idea, haha! But, I had a little smile on my face tossing sausage and biscuits into jars instead of plastic tubs this last week.

I'll be painting a few black soon, to use them for some Kratky method hydroponic greens. They're also my go-to container for any sort of teas, infusions, or whatever I'm making with herbs.

What do you guys use your jars for when they're not canning food?


  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin

    Oh goodness -- basically everything! Storing homemade yogurt, cleaners, and leftovers; displaying flowers; etc., etc., etc! (I have, however, discovered that it's not a good idea to freeze leftovers in my half-gallon jars -- they're just way too hard to thaw to the point where you can actually get them out of the jar!)

  • bmaverick
    bmaverick Posts: 175 ✭✭✭

    These make great oil catch cans from the hoses atop an engine and to be able to pass vehicle EPA emissions. :)

    Also, these make for great vacuum pack canisters should a person have the food saver vacuum top sealers. Then use a brake bleeder kit to operate them by hand without electricity.

    Here's a how-to ...

    Back in the day of the Y2K prepping community days in 1999, I had a Food Saver machine and it stopped working. I was storing nuts, dried herbs and dehydrated foods in the jars. The above Alvin setup is almost identical on what I taught at the Red Cross Y2K prepping classes on Wednesday nights.

    Popcorn can almost be stored 20+ years. I know, still have a can on the shelf from that time frame. It's my stand-by of longevity to see if it should ever change. To date, it still looks the same as the day the popcorn was sealed in the jar. Popcorn can be ground, soaked or popped to any type of corn ingredient you need. You can even PLANT it once again!

    The jars can be made into Japanese beetle traps too.

  • hmsadmin
    hmsadmin Posts: 123 admin

    That's an awesome idea with the chalkboard paper, I'm gonna have to remember that next time I'm at a craft store. I moved all my flours and dried things into quart or half gal sized jars to keep ants out. Doing that was kinda the start of "well, why not just use jars for everything?" lol.

    @bmaverick I had looked into getting a break bleeder after you mentioned using one to prime water filters a while back.. I may just have to now for the jars too. A foodsaver has long been on my list of wants, but I've never seen one that lasted very long for my family members that had them, and I'm trying to de-electric-ise as much as possible too - So the manual and multipurpose aspects are perfect! Thank you for posting this!

  • Ruth Ann Reyes
    Ruth Ann Reyes Posts: 577 admin

    I too use mason jars for just about everything from canning to dry-canning...storing yogurt, broth, leftovers...fermenting, drinking and rationing my daily water intake...Uh, yeah...anything and everything! Did I mention I have hundreds?!

    Also, along the lines of @bmaverick post...I use my food saver to prep vegetables that would otherwise "go bad" if prepared early, like salads. This makes good use of my "free" time on the weekend and allows me to eat some fresh veggies on busy weeknights!

    I like the food saver because I also use it to store bulk meats - like I mentioned in my thread about being your own butcher 🥩

  • CynthiaGraves
    CynthiaGraves Posts: 15 ✭✭✭

    Canning Jars??? Oh - those things that my husband swears I have more of than the stores have on their shelves???? (And yet every garage sale that has some he's always picking them up for me)

    I store my dehydrated foods and herbs in them, I put liquid soaps I make in them, healing salves, etc. I keep one by the sewing machine to hold the thread I'm using since I buy only the serger ones and they need somewhere to spin as the thread comes off. They hold pens, color pencils, scissors, etc. Inside drawers the "babies" hold the paperclips etc. so they don't mix together, But more important I drink my water every day out of them with the metal straws he bought for Christmas last year. All my friends laugh when I go to visit bringing my own glass rather than use their plastic water cups and bottles - but I still do it.

  • macycandice
    macycandice Posts: 5 ✭✭✭

    Long before I ever started gardening and canning, I used jars, mason or saved from other uses, for my dried herbs. This was my first use for jars, and is still used to this day. These days however, I am a wife and mother, and I garden and preserve as much as I can. I use them for making tinctures, and vinegars (with a plastic lid mind you) and other herbal remedies. I also use them for storing smaller portions of larger purchases, any kind, and as around the house organizers. For example, I have my wooden cooking spoons upright in a quart jar, my dish washing brushes in another, sequins for arts and crafts in a pint jar, broken crayons for arts and crafts in another, etc. They indeed have so many uses, but I saw some on this post I havent tried, but an intrigued to do so, such as the salad in a jar idea. So, thank you :)

  • Ray
    Ray Posts: 11 ✭✭✭

    I really like to use the 3 quart glass jars for making sun tea or or for steeping herbal teas, they hold so much more than quart jars, but when full, are not as heavy as the gallon jars. I am not sure the they are considered mason jars, but I bought several of these at a thrift store, originally they were filled with olives or pickles and sold in supermarkets.

  • Tammy
    Tammy Posts: 11 ✭✭✭

    We use them for everything. We are starting to store our herbs from the garden and I am going to use them to make herb oils also.

  • april.chase
    april.chase Posts: 10 ✭✭✭

    I have a large collection of sewing notions - buttons, snaps, zippers, bias tapes, etc. - and I keep them all in mason jars on shelves in my sewing area. This keeps everything neat and dust free, and it is easy to see what is in each jar so I can quickly find a specific needed item.

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    In addition to all the above mentioned food saving, soaps, and sewing notions...I also use them for vases and propagating plants, making tinctures (I just store them in a dark drawer while they do their thing), toothbrush holders, homemade candles and I’m currently repurposing an old vanity light for my dining chandelier and I will use mason jars for the sconces. I Love using them to mix small amounts of paint and have used them to protect/carry toilet paper at campgrounds where the showers are open to everything. Mason Jars FTW!

  • pamelamackenzie
    pamelamackenzie Posts: 143 ✭✭✭
    edited August 2019

    I use jars for many of the things already mentioned. I also enjoy using jars to make Boston Brown Bread in the slow cooker.

  • merlin44
    merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭

    I use them for all of the above and even use them to milk into, gave up on buckets as my goats always seemed to knock them over or step in them.

  • hmsadmin
    hmsadmin Posts: 123 admin

    I <3 that idea of using them for sconces! You should post a pic of this! I saw somewhere (on pinterest, or something) where someone had taken the tiny jars and attached them over the bulbs of some string lights. . . I almost went out to get the supplies to make them myself too, but I had a second thought about the weight of a whole sting, and I'm not sure that my setup could handle it. Still something for the idea bin though!

    I do use mine for painting too! Well, rather for holding water and washing brushes when I watercolor.

    @merlin44 That's an awesome idea too! Do you have less issues with your goats knocking over the jars?

  • maryannfricko
    maryannfricko Posts: 133 ✭✭✭

    Mason or Ball jars are my drinking glasses. I like them because you can put a cover on them. I make celery juice every morning and then when I travel somewhere, there is a top for it (so it does not spill in the car).

  • merlin44
    merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭

    I hold the jar, cover with cheesecloth held in place by the lid ring to strain and the milk is ready for the fridge.

  • Leediafastje
    Leediafastje Posts: 97 ✭✭✭

    Thank you for the reminder that these glass gems have lots of uses.

  • cre8tiv369
    cre8tiv369 Posts: 67 ✭✭✭

    I do all the above and use glass jars as a container for everything I possibly can. But I also use all the glass I can’t use in this way by saving everything for glass blowing (and any broken glass is great for that as well. I keep the colors separate). I’m not that good at it yet, but like any art form it takes time, practice, knowledge, and experience to master. So while I am not great with it (or my blacksmithing/metal forging), they are fun to practice in the cold winter and might yield good results or income in the future. They also might give me something I can trade in a post apocalyptic world should it all fall. Having my blacksmith shop/forge dual for glass blowing was a no brainier. I throw out zero glass and glass containers factor into everything I buy (I always opt for glass over plastic or metal or anything else.

  • rachelcostenbader
    rachelcostenbader Posts: 11 ✭✭✭

    I use mine for all of the above listed things as well as growing sprouts, with a sprouting screen. I also like to make cookie and cake mixes and put them in mason jars for holiday gifts.

  • maryannfricko
    maryannfricko Posts: 133 ✭✭✭

    I am glad that growing sprouts or microgreens were mentioned. Jars are the easiest and cheapest method of growing microgreens. You do not need to buy all of the fancy paraphernalia that they sell. A jar and cheesecloth or lid with holes is enough.

    RICHARD Posts: 22 ✭✭✭

    On of the lessons that I learned from my grandfather was to use a small screw to affix the lid of baby food and small relish/pickle jars to the underside of the cabinets or shelves in the shop, then fill the jars with small parts and screw them into the lids. Keeps things tidy.

  • hmsadmin
    hmsadmin Posts: 123 admin

    This is a great idea! I was just looking into ways to affix or somehow store the small 4 or 2oz jars to the bottom of a shelf and this would be perfect! I think I'll screw the lids onto a separate board and then mount that under the cabinet to reduce the number of screw holes into the shelf itself. Thank you for sharing this idea!

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    After reading all the great ideas I'm afraid mine will look like peat and repeat lol.

    I use the jars, like you all for a myriad of things as well:

    I use the half gallon jars for my distilled water, for my salsa recipe, for pink lemonade, my kombucha and kvass, and sometimes I store grains in them.

    I use the pint and a half as my drinking glass and for my water kiefer and I store my dry tapioca and other foods as necessary.

    I use the quart jars for: blackberry tea and storing leftovers in and other foods as necessary.

    i always use the plastic lids and all my jars are wide mouth because I find it more a pain than it is worth to try to clean anything I can't get my hand in to wash.

    I also use the pint jars as gnat traps when the need arises. I'm sure I'm forgetting some things but my fridge is full of them. I have saved a lot of money not using plastic containers and plastic bags and I find they take less room in the fridge and the 3 sizes I use most often fit easily together and the fact that they are clear, finding stuff is so much easier.

    One of my favorite things about using the canning jars is that with the screw on lid it makes transporting food to friends much easier and without the worry of spill.