Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mason Jar Madness

I admit it!  I suffer from Mason jar madness - and I’m hoping it’s contagious! 

I use a lot of mason jars, even though I don’t do as much home canning as I have previously.  And when I was preparing to downsize from a home with three bedrooms, family room and garage to a small two bedroom apartment across state last year, I sold, donated and gifted things (including a lot of my - horrors! - craft and sewing supplies) for a solid two months. But I kept my mason jars!
In kitchen cabinets, I use them as storage containers for legumes, small pastas, grains and home dehydrated foods. I use them to store small amounts of leftovers in the refrigerator. I use them for homemade ‘convenience’ mixes and recipes in a jar and I use them as containers for homemade snack mixes and to grow sprouts. 
In other areas of the house, they might be used to store cotton balls and makeup sponges (not that I wear makeup very often these days!) or bath salts; to keep bandaids and antibiotic ointment together; and to store paint brushes, craft supplies and markers on my art table.
Photo courtesy of Amy at Four Corners Design
They’re easy, convenient, inexpensive – and can be left plain, decorated or painted.  Do I have you convinced yet?  Time to start collecting and developing your own case of mason jar madness!  Check garage sales, Craigslist and Freecycle for inexpensive, or even free, mason jars.
 Back to recipes in a jar!  They’re a great way to make your own convenience foods, both allowing you to cut food costs AND to have some control over the ingredients that are used.  If you use organics, which I prefer, buying staples in bulk and making your own mixes is a great way to make organics more affordable. 
Front left to right: Chicken-Rice soup; Italian cheese seasoning; Skillet lasagna; Taco seasoning; Parsley-Parmesan spaghetti
They also make wonderful and inexpensive gifts for family and friends, topped with a circle of fabric and a tag with cooking instructions.  When I give them as gifts, I usually put a set of 3 or 4 in a basket; usually a main course, a bread and a dessert or two – and they’re always a hit!
I’ll be posting recipe in a jar mixes once in a while, so keep your eyes open! In the meantime, check out this link to an awesome, alphabetized list of recipes .  And, if you know of any other awesome sites or posts dealing with mason jars, leave a link!