Mason Jar Storage

Sometimes I outdo myself.  If I do say so myself.  And sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I’m average.  This is one of those times, because I’m sure you were all expecting me to do something super-fantastic and extraordinary with the mason jars I found last week.  Turn them into a chair or something.  I didn’t.  I’m using them for what they were intended for.


I know.



mason final

mason jar 2 copy


Why did I choose to simply put apricots and cereal and sugar in my mason jars?  Why something so average?  Because sometimes average is good.  Sometimes in fact, average is extraordinary.


Note: Mason jars were originally intended for use in home canning.  Please do NOT under any circumstances use these old jars for canning.  Those “mysterious” deaths people succumbed to in the 1800’s, weren’t so much “mysterious” as they were botulism.


  1. Marti says:

    I love the apricots and pasta and stuff. Great color and lots of texture. I think it’s wonderfully ordinary for a person who has a fur-covered chair and a tree stump end table.

    And yeah, I might have been tempted to use them for canning, so thanks for the warning.

  2. Claudine says:

    I love your Mason jars AND what you did with them. I don’t want to consider that ordinary, because that’s what I do with mine. And I’ve been busily telling myself how extraordinary my display is. But you have a much prettier window sill and therefore display.
    It looks lovely.

  3. Dee says:

    I just wanted to note that as long as there are No cracks or chips on the rims of those old mason jars, and you use NEW LIDS AND RINGS u can use them to can with and not worry about botulism…. u worry about unsafe food when, after canning, the top does not seal properly which is recognized by the fact the top doesn’t “ping” or suck down onto the jar.
    just some fyi 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Dee – No, these jars really are not recommended for canning. Many of them were hand made in the 1800’s and definitely wouldn’t provide a proper seal, with or without a new ring. You might be thinking of the more recent mason jars with rings and seals. ~ karen!

  4. deborah says:

    As much as I was looking forward to seeing mason jar chair – I’ve got to say simple is pretty cool.

  5. Gayla T says:

    My great-grandmother actually did die of food poisoning from canned goods not being processed enough. I just love the way they look lined up with stuff in them. The antiques I enjoy the most are the ones that I use. I use a spoon every day that my Grandma gave me. It says US on the front of the handle and one of her three boys gave it to her after they came back from WWII. She never could remember who it actually was but it is just precious to me. I store stuff in my Good Luck fruit jars but I don’t have nearly as many as you have of your Crowns. I also have a collection of figural bottles that fruit flavored syrup came in when I was a child. My mother made a drink like KoolAid with it and they had a top with a slit to use them as a bank. I have a cat, bear, clown, pig and an elephant. They are not worth much money but I love them dearly as I have a picture in my mind of Mom in her green and yellow kitchen making a pitcher of grape drink for me. Priceless!

  6. Jen says:

    I love glass jars for storage. Mason jars…all the better.

  7. Greta says:

    It looks pretty, but I’d be careful about things getting too hot in the window like that.

  8. theresa keating says:

    I LOVE this!

  9. 🙂 I use mason jars for storage too! I like to be able to SEE what’s in there and you will always find my kids running off with jars of goldfish crackers and such! 🙂

  10. BTLover2 says:

    I guess the potato chips don’t last long enough for their own jar? Oh man, you sure do kill me (always a good laugh in the a.m.) — side note (weird note): I love the word botulism. Wish I could use it more in my every day speaking — maybe if I use an old jar for peaches…

  11. Jan says:

    I love the look of the old bluish mason jars with the zinc lids. But, I never stored food in them because I was suspicious of the zinc lids being toxic. Am I worrying needlessly?

  12. Mickey says:

    News flash……..Just read the front page of our local newspaper! Out yourself, Karen. Let your readers know whats going on.
    Chicken ban, my ass!!!!

  13. mechi says:

    Beautiful! It’s “ordinary splendor” (borrowed from Chicken’s in the Road’s subtitle) There’s nothing that says ordinary can’t be absolutely splendiferous. I use my old jars for storage too, but I don’t have pretty blue jars like you have.

  14. Page says:

    i do the same thing! mason jars are perfect for storing everything from pasta, rice, and grains, to sugar, flour, and nuts. i even use mine to make homemade vinaigrette. it’s great to shake it up and store in the fridge.

  15. Sharmila says:

    I LOVE the simple extraordinary… you have done it well… but when I look at the mason jar it reminds me oof the black plague… too bad you didn’t make a chair out of the mason jar;-)

  16. Laura says:

    Much prettier than my old salsa jars. I love your cutting board as well, but it may just be the beautiful eggs placed on it. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Laura!!!! That cutting board is from Brenda! Of Cattails Studios! She’s the one who makes the rolling pin I’m giving away this week! ~ karen

  17. mrilyn says:

    i wish i knew how to send pictures but i am a luddite with techie stuff so i will just say i have a matching set of mason jars at my house in my pantry as we speak. they are great for holding all that stuff. i loove them!

  18. Langela says:

    I don’t understand why you can’t use them for canning if you follow safe canning procedures. With 2-piece lids, anyway.

    • Karen says:

      Langela – These type of jars were made in the 1800s, by hand. There isn’t a level or smooth surface on most of the rims. These are the normal jars you buy in the store nowadays. ~ karen

  19. SK Farm Girl says:

    Simply stunning, especially since you have that great little window ledge (jealous of window ledge)! Love the varying sizes, textures, use of natural products, levels of goodies in the jars, etc, – random but with deliberate thought!! I have done similar with the big square coffee jars; they hold pasta, rice, etc. Because some of he lids weren’t so pretty any more, I painted them bright red to give my kitchen a little punch of colour! I use old mason jars to store most things in my pantry – upcycling and it creates a wonderful sense of a warm, homey, farm kitchen . . . hmmmmmmm!

    • Karen says:

      SK – LOL. I actually didn’t give any thought to the levels of everything in the jars. But I was glad to have the fellas apricots to put in there! He eats a bunch of them every week in his lunch, so we always have them around.

  20. SK Farm Girl says:

    A quick tip! If you have some awesome jars or even some pretty old vases that need a good scrubbing on the inside here’s a great little tidbit of advise. I fill the vessel with warm water and plop a Polident tab in the water and leave to soak for a few hours. The Polident does a wonderful job of prying off the dead, decaying spiders, the flies that flew their flight, the bits of dirt and and let’s not forget that mystery substance that has glued itself to the bottom of the old beauty1 It also helps to remove some of the milky scale that develops over time! If the scaley stuff is time-adhered, a couple of soaks and a bottle brush may be needed. Trust me, this works wonders!
    Cheers, dears!

  21. Sharmila says:

    Hi Karen, we did plant GARLIC yesterday… I did add a link to your post in my blog… I hope you get to see litte one enjoy your gralic lesson… wating for summer

  22. Clare says:

    There is something magic about food in jars. Food in packets* is just … food. But put it in a jar and it suddenly looks amazing. What is with that?

    *by packets I mean ordinary everyday packets. I have bought food just for the packaging in the past. Like Spanish Olive Oil in particularly wonderful large tins … ahem. What can I say, I am an artist?

  23. elisa says:

    oh, i use them! my grandmother’s came with glass tops and rubber seals, they’re gorgeous! but the european canning methods are much more relaxed. if they are sterilised, used with new rubber seals, or modern pop up tops – then i use them. the only worry is with really old glass bursting in the canner, and the really old one are a different measurement of cap that is harder to get hold of. they are very beautiful for dried goods too, it’s so nice to see your food and keep it out of plastic.

  24. angela says:

    that’s what I use them for!!! and for card making/crafting supply storage.

  25. Lisa says:

    Simple, yes, but sometimes the simple things are the best. I think your display is beautiful.

  26. Audrey says:

    Looks good. I use extra mason jars for things like stacking my food dye containers in because if I let them fall on their side inside a ziplock they ALWAYS LEAK. But stacked inside a mason jar they stay upright and never leak. And even if they did, mason jars are washable. I’m also going to be using some as gift receptacles this Christmas – baking fancy cookies and stacking them inside a mason jar they “just” fit in.

  27. Susan says:

    Do not reveal anything more! With the city ask forgiveness not permission! Save the chickens. What they don’t know hurts no one!!

  28. Barbara says:

    Another great morning with Karen! I wake up and check my email first thing. No, not the ones from family, friends,or whatever else. Karen first, to brighten my day!!!Ditto to what BTLover2 said!

    Stay healthy and keep us laughing(for our health), and keep us informed and crafty!

  29. Barbara says:

    Forgot to add…I use Mason jars for all the same things as the rest of you….also, carrying my water ,iced tea or coffee in to work! We are all so clever aren’t we!

  30. Roxanne Lucchesi says:

    I love glass “pickling” jars, too. However, according to this site, it is not safe to use the older ones: “Jars with wire bails and glass caps, clamp-on type lids, one piece lids, or old-fashioned rubber ring seals are no long considered safe for home canning. Old canning jars make a charming presentation or attractive storage containers for dry foods, but don’t use them for canning. One-piece lids, Zinc lids or porcelain-lined caps are also no longer recommended. The latter are no longer manufactured, having been supplanted by modern, two piece vacuum lids with rubber seals built into them.”–

    So I guess I will stick to storing ‘dry’ things in them the way you do. BTW: jealous of your window ledge, too!

  31. Nancy says:

    Beautiful Karen..I would love to have that big window in my kitchen!!

  32. christine hilton says:

    I keep my marbles in old Mason jars.That explains alot.

  33. Love the jars. And your blog. And especially your sense of humour. I’ve added you to my Canadian blogroll as a daily read.

  34. Cait says:

    YES! Love the simplicity and beauty of these. Just this week I had a total “DUH!” *slap hand to forehead moment* and started using them to store shelf items in the kitchen (like here) as well as freezing chili, stew, pureed veggies and the like in the freezer (just don’t fill all the way to the top when going in the freezer!) sometimes we forget that simpler is better!

  35. Bev says:

    no, rubbermaid is average and ordinary – vintage mason jars (minus the botulism) is elevating the mundane to something special

  36. Jane says:

    I never even liked them, until I came to your blog.
    Now, I WANT some!–But not the ones that so many
    catfish restaurants down here use. They aren’t antique

    • Karen says:

      Down here? Where’s down here? You can’t say something like down here and not specify! By the way .. I’ve caught and cooked catfish. I don’t think I’m doing it right, LOL. Moooshy. Bleh. ~ karen

  37. lori says:

    I have collected a number of the jars and have don’t really “used” them for anything. Now I know how to “fix” the lid,so I am not so scared to use them now. Thanks

  38. Leanne says:

    Nice. 🙂 I saw these and thought of you. I figured I would share.
    and this

    • Karen says:

      Leanne – THANK YOU!! The salt thing is GENIUS. I’m in the middle of watching Damages, but I’m getting up RIGHT NOW to start doing it! I’m so easily influence. 🙁 ~ karen!

  39. Caroline says:

    They look fantastic on your windowsill!! I use small mason jars to hold all my spices as well as my staples – and it makes me feel all organized and professional (like Micheal Smith) when I’m cooking/baking up a storm!

  40. Diana @ frontyardfoodie says:

    Nice, I need to do this so I can freaking see what I have. I’ve got a million canisters around but they’re all ceramic. haha

  41. Anna says:

    Mason jar love…
    Sometimes simple is best.

  42. Diane Stairs says:

    I have used antique mason jars for years…for coffee, sugar, pennies, antique green kitchen utensils, they are everywhere….and when my daughter got married we used them on the tables with candles…found a steal on kijiji…60 of them for $12 for only a short drive to a bit of a hoarders house in Guelph. I thought I was alone in this obsession with them…so glad to have company.

  43. Charlene says:

    I love using mason jars for storage! Pratical and cheap. When I get jars without lids, I have found packs of plastic lids made especially for mason jars, which are great when using them storage (not for canning). They are leak proof too, which is fantastic for leftover soup to work!

  44. This site was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally
    I’ve found something which helped me. Thanks
    a lot!

  45. Kitty says:

    Just found your page. Have used the old jars for years in my kitchen, bath, etc. Have 1/2g down to 1/2 pts; glass w/wire bail to screw tops; clear & the beautiful blue life you have. All ages, various mfgs., & shapes. Love them! Use the old zinc lids on them.
    Experimented many years ago canning with them – the old glass is fragile & lost several. Worst was working with the jars that have the glass lid & wire bail. Try holding a hot jars of goodies & stretching a hot rubber ring over the top. Some sealed; some didn’t; but all went into the frig because I was afraid they didn’t seal. Never used them again for canning but love using them all around the house.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)

The Art of Doing Stuff