canning, homesteading, thrift

5 ways to reuse Mason jars

Over the weekend Nina came over and we had another canning extravaganza (Cabernet Sauvignon jelly and pear & ginger preserves, for the curious). It’s much more fun, and efficient, to can with another person, especially if you both prep your mixtures in advance. That way you can just reheat the jelly/preserves/jam on the stove while the water bath heats.

(We’re thinking these will make excellent holiday presents.)

While they were in town on Saturday, Josh’s parents were kind enough to give me this nifty journal (left) for logging all my canning adventures. Our previous goods will certainly make the cut, and I’m looking forward to filling up the journal with notes and photos of jewel-like preserves.

But the journal’s cheeky cover got me thinking: what does a thrifty person do with all those leftover jars? Back in the homesteading days, no self-respecting cook would let those jars go to waste. Thankfully, we’ve got an abundance of crafty supplies and inspiration these days to make Mason jars even more useful. Here are 5 ideas:

1. Make a mini-terrarium. You’ll want to layer in stones, a bit of sphagnum moss (both for drainage), potting soil, and tiny plants of your choice (or green moss). Spritz with water and set in moderate light (I have a few on my kitchen windowsill).

2. Store matches, buttons, or any other odd and end. I poured liquid dish soap into some old jars when the plastic container broke, and the jars make for a much prettier sink display.
3. Create an easy candle holder: wrap ribbon around the outside of the jar with a bit of glue and place a tealight inside.
4. Make mini-snow globes. Ever since Anthropologie came out with rather pricey Mason jar snow globes, the craft blogosphere has been buzzing with DIY instructions. I made mine this way: glue a craft tree to the underside of a jar lid. Spread a thin layer of glue on the rest of the lid’s underside and sprinkle with buffalo snow. When the glue has dried, pour a small amount of buffalo snow (and glitter, if you like) into the jar, and carefully screw the lid back on the jar. The snow will spill a bit, but if you lay down newspaper you’ll end up with a minimal mess.
5. Reuse your jar to preserve something else! You can reuse the jar and the ring–all you need to do is replace the flat lid with a new one (the seal needs to be fresh).

    If you have any crafty ideas for reusing Mason jars, I’d love to hear.

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