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The Amazing, Versatile Canning Jar

As a family who minimizes plastics, glass canning jars come in handy in many ways in our house. They are affordable, versatile, and easily washable. It took us several years to gradually weed out our plastic containers and switch to Pyrex and jars, but now that is the primary way we store food.

I frequently get asked how often we deal with breakage.  I am, by far, our family’s worst culprit of dropping and breaking glass items.  In all honesty, these glass items are so sturdy that a drop doesn’t necessarily mean breakage anyway, especially on a more yielding floor like hardwood. 

As for the kids: yes, we let them use glass.  Usually they choose the stainless steel dishes and cups from the cabinet, but have glass in the mix, too. Both boys’ first drink of water was self-fed from a tiny open glass at 6 months old. Our kids are very careful with breakable items because they’ve seen the mess when accidents happen. (It usually happens when I am pulling something out of the fridge and a jar slips from my hand and lands on the tile kitchen floor. It stinks when something breaks and we have to sweep it up, but it doesn’t happen often.)

Without further ado, check out some of our favorite ways to use canning jars:

I’d like to be more of a canner than I am, but maybe in another season of life I’ll have more time to add another hobby. For now, I just do the  little odd and end every now and then, like this ground cherry/cossack pineapple jam.

Cossack Jam in jar Decoration 
From ballot jar–like these a friend made–to flower vase, there are so many directions you could go. Hello, Pinterest!Jar decorations

Freezing small or large quantities of foods.
Use quilted glass for freezing. Standard canning jars typically are not freezer-safe and may get microscopic cracks (or so I’ve read). We make our own chicken stock and pumpkin puree in bulk and these fit well in our chest freezer.

Mass jarring

Freezing breastmilk
I’m calling this one out aside from general frozen foods because it took some brainpower to come up with a non-plastic storage idea for my pumping days. Read all about it, here.

Frozen breastmilk in jars
Pantry storage and organization
Ah, the many flours of gluten-free baking. Jarring them makes it a little less overwhelming. Pantry Jars


Storing leftovers and bringing liquidy foods on-the-go
Standard-mouth jars fit perfectly into a car cup holder. So, bring your oatmeal to-go or pack some soup in your lunch.

oatmeal car jar on-the-go


Morning smoothie in the car, anyone?  Pop your jar in the cup holder.  You can even get lids with a straw hole. Thirsty at home? Jars work great as open cups. Need to take extra water on a picnic? Fill up your biggest mason jar and put it in the cooler along with your food. It is water-tight!  

Jar Cup

From nuts for the whole family to an individual serving of hummus or applesauce, jars make things easy.  Just don’t bring these to the pool. I was that person one day whose kid dropped his glass cup of hummus right next to the baby pool. Thankfully none got in the pool.
Jarred snacks

Organizing art supplies
Upstairs we keep jars of supplies on our art bookshelf. In the basement, we have them in one of those metal racks meant for holding canned goods on a pantry door.

Art Jars


Making immersion blender mayonnaise
Thank you PaleoOMG for introducing me to the wonder of immersion blender mayonnaise (although we use olive oil instead of the uber-expensive avocado oil).

Immersion Blender Mayo in Jar



About More Green for Less Green

Hi, I’m Pamm. Welcome to my little slice of the web! As both a pastor and crunchy homeschooling mom, I’m never quite what anyone expects of me. But, hey, that’s what makes blogging interesting, right? Join me as I try to wholeheartedly parent my three little boys, slowly fix up the trashed foreclosure we bought in 2009, and live simply.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • parodie September 11, 2014, 11:50 am

    Mmm, homemade mayo is yummy! If you want thicker mayo, just leave out the egg white (use only the yolk) – you’ll get a really thick, spreadable paste. Magic! (or, well, chemistry!)

    We also love to make aioli, which is mayo made with a clove of garlic (so egg yolk, olive oil, garlic, pinch of salt). It’s got a VERY strong garlic taste, and is delicious on many things (we like it with lamb, potatoes, and… pretty much everything else! SO good).

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