5 Mason Jar Stars For Your Kitchen

Mason jars-17.jpg

My collection of Mason glass jars–but only 5 are my favorites

It started four years ago when I began blogging about vacuum-packed chopped Romaine salad. I bought a carton of quart-sized, wide-mouth Mason glass jars to hold the lettuce. I already had a few regular-mouth jars, but I quickly learned they were hard to fill and harder to clean. Since then, I have learned a lot about what I like and don’t like in a Mason glass jar. So here are my five favorites and also a few I don’t like and why not.

NUMBER ONE: A wide-mouth quart-size (32 oz.) Mason jar

DSC_2796.jpg

A quart-size Mason jar holds just the right amount of lettuce for my daily lunch.

Quart jars are probably the most common Mason jar out there. They’re available in most large grocery stores, Walmart, hardware stores, and online.  Stick with the wide-mouth for ease of use and care.

NUMBER TWO:  A pint-and-a-half (24 oz.) straight-sided wide-mouth jar

Mason jars-35.jpg

The jar in the foreground is a pint-and-a-half size jar–for those of you who don’t need a whole quart of lettuce.

In addition to storage, the pint-and-a-half jar is good to use as a drinking glass because of the straight sides (below). I bought mine at Walmart, but they are also available online.

NUMBER THREE:  A 2-quart (64 oz.) wide-mouth jar

DSC_2794.jpg

Jar in the background is a 2-quart wide-mouth jar

I use the very large jars to store my iced coffee concentrate. They are also good for keeping non-perishable staples in the pantry such as rice, flour, and granola. I’ve seen them in hardware stores and online.

NUMBER FOUR:  A half-pint (8 oz.) wide-mouth jar with straight sides

Mason jars-22.jpg

Works great for individual servings

This is my favorite way to store homemade yogurt or anything else I want to carry in my lunch. I love the short, squatty jar by Kerr with a wide-mouth because it’s easy to eat from without getting food on my fingers, and the straight sides make it easy to clean. You can buy them here, but I purchased mine in a local hardware store.

NUMBER FIVE: A pint-size (16 oz.) straight-sided wide-mouth jar

Mason jars-29.jpg

Good for homemade salad dressings, pesto, curd, or yogurt

Although not intentional, my use of plastic bags and small plastic containers to store things has decreased immensely. However, I have to run the dishwasher  a little more often. Hmmm. Guess there’s always a trade-off.

On a different but related subject….

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LIDS:

DSC_2786.jpg

Left: flat lid and ring Right: plastic lid

The flat lids combined with the collar will seal tight and not allow any liquid to escape when tipped over.  They are reusable indefinitely as long as you are not using them for heat canning.

Plastic lids are not leak-proof so I don’t use them in my lunch bag to hold liquids. At home, however, I prefer the plastic lids when storing something that doesn’t need to be vacuum-packed. They also don’t rust like the metal lids. Plastic lids are usually available for purchase wherever Mason jars are sold or get them online.

REJECTS (or cute jars I don’t use anymore except as props in pictures):

Mason jars-27.jpg

Cute–but the lids rust rather quickly.

These jars came from the Container Store and I loved the engraved designs on the side. But since they have a regular mouth, they are hard to eat from and hard to clean. Worse than that, the lids rust quickly. Fortunately, a regular-mouth plastic lid can replace the metal lid that comes with it.

Mason jars-24.jpg

An expensive jar with a complicated sealing system

These Weck jars are expensive but I originally thought they were worth it for the looks. Turns out all those parts are hard to keep up with. They cannot be vacuum-packed and the plastic  screw-on lids don’t fit either.  Maybe they are good for heat canning, but that is not my shtick, so these are not very useful to me. I bought these at Crate and Barrel.

Mason jars-21.jpg

The candle jar

I used to take my yogurt to work in these jars I purchased at Target. People accused me of eating a candle. The rounded area inside and just beneath the rim is difficult to clean and also makes it a challenge to get every last drop of delicious yogurt out of the jar.

Mason jars-30.jpg

Vintage jar with vintage lid and new plastic lid

I suspect many of you have a jar of two like this sitting around your house. I love the color but the aged glass-lined lid turns me off. It doesn’t seem very sanitary. You could use a plastic or a metal two-part lid but it would have to be a regular-mouth size. As I’ve already mentioned–hard to load and unload, and hard to clean. I like to use mine as a flower vase, and it’s a nice prop in food pictures, too.

Do you have a favorite jar I haven’t mentioned? If so, please leave a comment about the brand and where you got it. I wouldn’t want to miss out on a great glass jar.

RELATED POSTS:

Email This Post Email This Post Share Follow me on Pinterest
Tim September 1, 2014 at 11:11 pm

I understand the value of the widemouth jars. However, the standard size fits my blender and I can make things right in the jar without needing to clean the carafe. Do you know if they make blenders that fit the widemouth jar?

Paula September 4, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Tim,
I have never seen one, myself. Maybe if any other readers have, they will chime in.

Rachel July 23, 2014 at 4:11 pm

To chime in on the Cuppow/Bnto insert, I loved the idea of it but the price was a little ridiculous. It got me thinking tho, and I found that the Del Monte brand fruit cups fit perfectly in a wide mouth jar, the rim rests on top so it doesn’t fall in. (I tried Walmart applesauce cups first but their rims are a teeny bit smaller) I use them inside a pint jar with yogurt in the bottom & granola/seeds in the insert, or celery in pint & a half with hummus in the insert.
I use the white plastic lids on my jars in my lunchbox successfully, but I don’t carry anything liquidy, and my lunchbox stands upright (the jars are always upright). I have tried shaking smoothies in the pint & a halfs with a plastic lid and that does leak a bit :/

Paula July 25, 2014 at 11:47 am

Hi Rachel,
Your are very resourceful. Thanks for sharing.

Tammy B. February 20, 2014 at 6:21 pm

I have to agree with you re: mason jars. (I’ve never liked the ‘candle’ jars) I will agree that the cute little jars are tough to clean, they are tough to can in as well. I have a smaller funnel for that and you can get replacement lids at the container store. On the weck jars, you can buy plastic lids for those. I love the ones I have, straight sided are great for toting my home made yogurt to work. P. S. No Betty, you cannot have too many jars. You husband is wrong. : )

Kathy September 27, 2013 at 11:15 am

Thank you for this post. I have been looking into canning jars for my yogurt and I was wondering if I was able to reuse the lids & rings if I wasn’t actually canning with them.

The half pint will be a perfect size. So you do not recommend those plastic white caps for commuting? They leak?
I have seen metal single lids, they are not in two pieces. Would those be more leakproof?

Paula September 29, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Kathy,
I’m not sure about the metal single lids. The metal singles I had rusted way too quickly so I tossed them. And yes the plastic white caps leaked for me–when they turned over. I use them a lot at home but just not in my lunch box.

Sandy Coughlin August 12, 2013 at 8:52 am

I love the anniversary blue mason jars that came out this year! So festive and pretty to use at dinner parties.

Janknitz July 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm

I like the little tiny jars (can’t remember the size) that fit regular mouth lids, but they have straight sides. Great for storing small amounts of things like salad dressing. And when I dry spices or citrus peel in the dehydrator they are stored in these tiny jars.

I knit tubes to cover my jars when I use them to carry lunch to work–it keeps them from clinking together.

Another reason for regular mouth quart jars is that they fit on my blender! I can grind spices and nuts and make smoothies that I drink right out of the jar.

Paula July 21, 2013 at 7:21 am

Hi Jan,
You make a good case for regular-mouth jars which is nice because that’s what a lot of people already have in their kitchen.

Love the idea of knitting tubes for your jars. Wish I could knit. Hear that some people sell them on Etsy.

Corinna November 17, 2013 at 12:01 pm

I use those super stretchy fuzzy slipper socks. I have a shiny blue pair that makes my jars look like cooky monster or smurf jars 🙂

Deb July 11, 2013 at 4:58 am

The inserts are new – I just recently got Cuppow’s advertising.

I’d use the Cuppow more if I wasn’t afraid of breaking my jars. I’ve heard of some people who have knited ‘socks’ for their jars which protect against burnt fingers and might add some protection in case of dropping.

Paula July 13, 2013 at 6:17 am

Deb,
I have broken a couple jars–what a mess! I’ve heard there is a lot of stuff on Etsy to help protect the jars like the socks you mentioned. I’ll have to check it out.

Deb July 10, 2013 at 3:16 am

I do can and preserve lots of fruits, veggies, and meats so I have and use a lot of jars. ;>

I’ve been using mason jars for storage for years. I use the antiques for dry goods, and leftovers are stored in the new style ones. I have yet to find a lid I can repurpose to fit the wide mouth jars. ; Their newest item is a 6 oz. insert so you can carry salad dressing with your lettuce (or many other combinations) and keep them separate until you want to mix them. http://www.cuppow.com

Paula July 10, 2013 at 11:34 am

Deb, I’ve just become aware of the inserts. Not sure how I would use them personally but I’m considering the possibilities. Do you use them yourself?

Paula June 18, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Great post! I like the 8oz and 16oz jars. I make my own natural cream for dry skin using bees wax, coconut oil, etc. The recipe is cooked on the stove top, is liquid but dries solid. These jars are perfect for this and for gift-giving too 🙂

Paula June 19, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Maybe I could use those candle jars for natural cream. Great idea. Are the recipes on your blog?

sis June 18, 2013 at 6:18 am

Love the opening picture.

Betty June 17, 2013 at 9:04 am

The wide mouth jars are my favorite too, all except for the “candle jar.” I never have understood those. Hubby thinks I have too many jars, but is that possible? I’ve seen the new blue ones, but haven’t caved- I don’t think they have the character of the original ones. I do love my Weck jars though, especially the smaller ones that I use for jams and jellies. 🙂

Paula June 18, 2013 at 10:13 am

Betty, I agree the Weck jars are the best looking of all. Just as I suspected, nice for people who can or do the jam/jellie thing.

Katie June 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Oh, and I love my vintage zinc lids with the milk glass inserts. I tend to use them for dry goods, and thouroghly sterilized them before using them. I also love my bail lid antique mason jars.

Katie June 14, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Parmesan container lids fit regular mouth canning jars. Once the cheese is gone, the lid gets washed and put on the top of a canning jar for a sprinkle and spoon out lid for my homemade mixes (like ranch dip) I just got some vintage glass inserts. (They would replace the metal disk of modern 2 piece lids and use a rubber gasket) They are only for regular sized jars, but I like that it is glass touching my food rather than BPA coated metal. They should not be used for canning anymore, but work great for food storage. I can post pics of them if you dn’t know what I am talking about.

Paula June 15, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Katie,
Thanks for these great tips. I have seen some substitutes for the BPA coated metal online but have not used them. Interesting.

Vicki W. June 14, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Paula, we both have the same favorites! I do love the 2 quart size for storing things in the pantry, but I sure wish they weren’t quite as pricey. I did buy some at a tag sale with the regular mouth, but boy I sure love the wide mouth for just about everything.

You know those nifty lids that fit mason jars and you can put a straw in them? I loved the idea, but I thought I’d try a substitute first. I had some foil cupcake liners (from Wal-Mart). I snugly fit a liner over a regular mouth jar and screwed on a canning ring. Then I made a small “X” in the middle with a knife through the foil. You can then put a straw through the X and take it outside without the bugs going for a swim in your drink. They worked great!

Paula June 15, 2013 at 8:58 pm

As usual Vicki, you are quite ingeneous. Using a foil cupcake liner is a great idea whenever you want to take your drink outside. Love it!

Vicki W. June 17, 2013 at 5:52 am

I just took a second look at the parmesan lid I keep on a jar filled with baking soda beside the sink. These also would work great as a drink cover. On one side there are 3 holes, one of which you could put a straw. It wouldn’t keep all insects out, but I think would deter the flies which normally flock to sweet beverages. If you regularly use parmesan cheese, you could get a few saved in no time.

Paula June 17, 2013 at 8:00 am

Vickie,
I don’t buy that kind of Parmesan cheese but thinking I might buy one just to get a lid. :-). Another good idea!

Donna Muench June 14, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I heartily agree with you about the virtues of the wide mouth and straight sides in any jars! I just wanted to add that I have found that mayo and peanut butter jar LIDS fit the regular jars! I am hoping to find a common product with the correct size lid for the wide mouths! Love to recycle!

Paula June 15, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Hi Donna,
I very rarely use the regular-mouth jars but it’s good to know about the interchangeable lids. Let me know if you ever do find commercial lids that fit the wide-mouth jars.

Andrea June 14, 2013 at 11:28 am

You mentioned something about an iced coffee concentrate – do you make that yourself? And if so, would you mind sharing. I’m really into iced coffee now but am having a hard time finding the right combo of ingredients to make it “right” at home. Thanks! Love your blog! I’ve turned numerous friends onto the mason jar salads!

Paula June 14, 2013 at 11:46 am

Andrea,
I make iced coffee the way Pioneer Woman does, at least as far as making the coffee concentrate with cold water. It’s so easy and I make enough to last for about 3 weeks.

Andrea June 14, 2013 at 11:24 am

Did you know that for just a short time Ball is coming out with new blue canning jars? You can get the vintage look but in all new jars.

Paula June 14, 2013 at 11:42 am

I wonder if they will have a wide-mouth opening. That would be fabulous and fun!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: