Oatmeal in Mason Jar

Mason jars – love it or hate it, there’s no denying that they are the Swiss army knives of the home, particularly in the kitchen. They’re cheap and a lot of DIY mason jar projects don’t require any specific skills – just a few materials and some time to craft mason jars into home decorations, party favors, lights, storage, etc.

There are so many things that you can do with a mason jar. Take a look at just a few ideas to help you figure out how to repurpose your jars.

Mason Jar Flower Arrangements

Flowers In A Mason Jar

A little flower arrangement can really brighten a room… add a couple of flower arrangements and then you can really liven your home. Why waste money on a vase when you can easily use mason jars instead.

You can use these mason jar flower arrangements not just for the home, but for weddings, baby showers, bridal showers, and get togethers.

All it takes is a bit of creativity and you can make these mason jars look gorgeous.

Keep Herbs Fresh

Make sure to wash your herbs and then pat them dry or use a salad spinner to get rid of the excess moisture. Remove wilted or browned leaves and then trim the stem ends.

Fill your mason jar with approximately an inch of water and then arrange your herbs in the jar as if it were a bouquet of flowers.

For the majority of herbs (tarragon, mint, dill, parsley, and cilantro), you can loosely cover the herbs with some plastic wrap. For basil, you’ll want to leave it uncovered and place it in a place where it can get some sunlight.

Change the water as needed or if it discolors.

Mason Jar Party FavorsThank you cards in a mason jar

Mason jars are a beautiful and creative DIY gift idea. They can be presented for birthday parties, weddings, holidays, or any special moment.

Soap Dispenser

Get rid of the ugly plastic bottles and stop wasting money on dispensers buy making your very own Mason jar soap dispenser.

These are pretty cheap to make, especially if you have everything you need on hand (which there’s a good chance that you do). Not only is this an affordable project, but it’s quick too, only taking up a few minutes of your time.

The best part is that it really prettifies the whole soap dispensing thing!

Store Spices

Mason jars are easy to stack, store, and refill. They come in all sizes and are clear so that you can see what’s inside. They really are a perfect solution for storing your spices, especially if you make your own spice mixes.

If you have a Morton Salt container at home, once you’ve emptied it, you can retrofit a mason jar with the lid so that you have a spout for easy pouring.

Prepare & Serve Cocktails

Bloody Mary in mason jars

For this cool party trick you’re going to want to have two Mason jar lids. In one of the lids, you’ll want to drill a few holes and the other one you’ll want to leave alone. Now, all you have to do is shake drinks with the normal lid and then switch to the perforated lid to strain the contents into glasses or mason jars being used as glassware for bonus points.

Salads

Several different salad recipes in a mason jar

There are several advantages to having a salad in a mason jar as opposed to you’re typical plastic container.

The first advantage of using a mason jar as opposed to a plastic container for your salads is that they typically stay fresher for a longer period of time, most likely due to the fact that you can get a better seal with a mason jar. This makes preparing lunch for the week much more convenient! I love preparing a few salads on Sunday for the upcoming week and then just storing them in the fridge.

This brings me to the second advantage. You can put your salad dressing in the mason jar and be confident that your leafy greens will remain crunchy. As long you you properly layer the ingredients (see below), you’ll never have to worry about eating a soggy salad again!

So what is the secret to a perfect, tasty, non-soggy salad in a mason jar? It all has to do with how you layer the ingredients.

Is starts with the dressing. If you’re going to use dressing for your salad and you don’t want to bring a separate container, then it’s important that you layer your mason jar with salad dressing first. This will guarantee that your salad doesn’t end up being a sad mushy state of affairs.

Next put your hearty vegetables, then your legumes & grains and finally proteins for the main layer. Cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, or any other vegetable that you think can hold up to dressing should go in next.

Once you’re done with your hearty vegetables, you can next layer your mason jar with legumes like lentils and beans as well as grains like quinoa or pasta.

Finally, add your main protein like chicken or tofu which should be fairly well insulated from the dressing by all the other ingredients, though it’s not a big deal if some dressing does get on these ingredients.

Fixings near the top. Nuts, cheeses, and any other small ingredients that you want to remain dry until you’re ready to eat your salad make up the next layer.

Leafy greens are the final ingredient. This allows your greens to stay crispy regardless of whether you eat your salad right away or in a few days. The other cool thing about putting the greens on the top is that if you want to put the salad from your mason jar into a bowl, you can just flip the mason jar over and the greens will make up your salad bed.

Feel free to get creative with the ingredients you use in your mason jar salads. I would suggest using a wide mouth mason jar instead of a regular sized one if you plan to eat directly from the mason jar. It makes it much easier… just trust me on that! If you need some inspiration, check out this list of mason jar salad recipes.

Pickling Foods

Vegetables preserved in mason jars

You can use your mason jars to pickle just about anything – cucumbers, okra, carrots, cabbage, jalepeno, peppers: pretty much whatever you’d like. You don’t even have to worry about canning – you can start with just making refrigerator veggies.

Overnight Oatmeal

Peaches and coconut with oats in a mason jar

The beauty of oatmeal in a mason jar is that you can prepare it the night before and then have a convenient breakfast to start your day off the right way, either at home or on-the-go. Using a mason jar also allows you to create the perfect serving size.

The basic formula for overnight, ready-to-eat the next day from the refrigerator oatmeal, according to Food52, is as follows:

  1. You ideally want to use old fashioned rolled oats (not instant pr quick… you can use steel-cut but you’ll need more liquid and you should be prepared for something that’s more chewy). You will want to start with a ratio of 1:1 of oats with liquid of your choice (dairy or non-dairy milk, water, etc.). I prefer my oats on the thicker side so I end up using less liquid.
  2. Mix in any sweeteners (vanilla extract, honey, etc.) as well as spices (cinnamon, cardamom, etc.).
  3. Seal and give a good shake-shake-shake
  4. Open up and then add in fruits and protein (peanut butter, chia seeds, etc.). Stir until it’s mixed in well.
  5. Seal and then put in your refrigerator for a minimum of three hours, though the ideal time would be overnight for 8 hours or more.

Oatmeal stored in a mason jar will typically stay fresh for approximately 48 hours.

My current favorite overnight, no-cook oatmeal recipe comes from Born Fitness and is as follows:

  • ½ c old-fashioned oats
  • ¾ c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. chia seed
  • 1 tbsp. homemade peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ banana, diced
  • ¼ c non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ scoop chocolate protein powder

This is seriously delicious and satisfying!

Stow Sewing Supplies

Upended Mason jar with sewing supplies

Keep loose-buttons, thread, and any other sewing essentials inside a mason jar for easy access in a pinch. Take it up a notch and make a pin cushion for the lid. Here’s an awesome tutorial from The Seasoned Homemaker.

Poured Candle

Homemade candles in Mason jars

Making your own candles is fairly easy and a whole lot of fun. You just need wax (the primary ones are Paraffin, Soy, and Beeswax which is my personal fav), wicks, fragrance oils, and a pot or saucepan.

If you want to add color to your candle, then you’ll need nontoxic crayon or candle color block.

Get started with making your own candles by checking out this article from Art of Manliness.

Where To Get Mason Jars Cheap

Here are just several places to get mason jars:

  • Craigslist. Make sure to search the ‘Free’ section. You’d be surprised at all the cool stuff you’ll find in the free section, including mason jars.
  • Garage sales. Often you can get mason jars for free or at the very least, a box worth for like a dollar or two.
  • SlickDeals. While you can’t buy mason jars from SlickDeals, you can set up an alert so that when a box of mason jars go on sale, you’ll receive a message informing you of the sale.
  • Supermarket. While I wouldn’t recommend buying mason jars from a supermarket if you’re looking to get them at a discount, there are several items and brands that use real Mason jars. I don’t recommend buying from the new canning aisles of your retailer if you’re looking to save big bucks. I can say that there are a few select store brands of salsa and spaghetti sauce that stores like Walmart carry that are packaged in 100% genuine, Mason branded jars. You’ll still need to invest in rings and lids to use these jars, but you should be using new every year, anyway. If you buy these items regularly, just remember to wash your jars and not throw them out. It’s like getting a free Mason jar with each spaghetti dinner!

If you can’t find them free, and I will be the first to admit that this is getting just slightly harder now that canning and preserving is coming back into vogue, here are some other cheap options:

  • End-of-season clearance sales. Starting around the end of August and all through September, I keep my eyes open for the brand new boxes in the grocery or hardware stores to go on clearance. Once they do, I buy as many boxes as my budget and storage situation can handle.
  • Thrift stores (and garage sales). Sometimes you can find them in complete box sets, other times you have to buy them by the jar. Either way, it’s usually worthwhile.

How To Organize & Store Mason Jars

OK, so now you have all these various Mason jars, the question is, how do you organize them?

If you want to go the DIY route, check out this fantastic tutorial from The DIY Playbook which will show you how to create your very own Mason jar organizer.

If you’re not in the handy mood then you can check out the following Mason jar rack from Mom’s Mason Jar Storage. It’s a fully customizable and scalable solution that promises to be easy to install.

There are seriously so many ways to use mason jars for the home, whether it’s for decorations, food storage, or as a gift. I’d love to hear some of your favorite ways for using a mason jar!

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