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Masion Jars: Ditch the Plastic Storage Containers and Use Glass Instead

22 Mar 2015 – 12:34 PM EDT

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“Do you want some Mason Jars?” my mom asked me. She pointed to a box of jars sitting in the storage cellar. My eyes lit up. I was in the process of ditching my plastic storage containers and switching over to glass. I took the box of Mason jars home with me.

At first, I didn’t really know what to do with them. I started off by making pickles. Once you make homemade pickles, trust me, you’ll never buy another jar of store-bought pickles again. All it takes is fresh dill, garlic, distilled vinegar, salt, and water. I use about three parts vinegar to one part water. The amount of salt is up to you. Some people like peppercorns in theirs. Twenty-four hours later, you’ll bite into a crisp, delicious pickle.

I discovered the Mason jars are perfect for storing raw vegetables. I can’t tell you how many times I would leave the house for a work trip and come back to find veggies and fruits still sitting in their original plastic store containers–untouched. When I clean them, cut them up, and transfer them to a Mason jar, the family consumes them. (I know, I know–Mom has to do the work.) My youngest kid loves carrots. As soon as I purchase a bag, I peel the carrots and put them in a jar. The kid eats far more carrots this way because the jar is easy to find in the fridge and the carrots are ready to eat. I also roast large pans of broccoli sprinkled with garlic and salt and store the leftovers in jars. The hubby just grabs a jar and takes it to work.

If you have a bunch of tomatoes at the end of summer, you can easily make your own tomato sauce and store it in Mason jars. There’s nothing quite like fresh sauce! Beats the supermarket stuff every time. And of course, you can make a batch of salsa and store this as well.

Speaking of abundant spices–here’s another tip: store fresh herbs (basil, dill, cilantro, etc.) in olive oil in a small jar. Keep this in the fridge. Pull out what you need for cooking. When you use up all the herbs, you can use the infused oil as well!

I buy lots of nuts and store them in glass jars. If you’re not going to use them up quickly, you can slip a jar in the freezer. So far, none of my jars have cracked. One of my favorite nuts is pepito pumpkin seeds–I roast them in a pan and sprinkle them with sea salt. They’re usually gone in a week.

Rice, noodles, quinoa, beans, and lentils fill up my jars. I also store flax seed and chia seeds in the jars and keep them in the fridge.

The smaller Mason jars are perfect for smoothies. The wide-mouth jars make it easy to transfer a thick smoothie from the blender. I also cut up lemons and store them in a jar– this makes it so much easier to grab a lemon to flavor water or tea throughout the day.

The taller jars are a perfect fit for soups and chili now that there are just three of us in the house. One jar gives us three servings.