{stories and snapshots from my new york city life.}


Me and My Mason Jars

If you're going to be obsessed with buying something, you could do worse than a mason jar. After all, mason jars are cheap, useful and incredibly versatile. They're sturdy and strong and attractive in a sweet and simple kind of way. You can preserve peaches and pickles in them. Can't say the same about handbags. Unless you're a hoarder. Then we should have a talk. And an intervention.

I have used them for the traditional purpose of canning when my fig tree produced more bounty than I could possibly ingest whole. The process of preserving fruit and sterilizing jars made me feel rustic and relaxed and slightly older than my chronological age. 

But mason jars are good for so much more than preserving fruits and vegetables. And on a cold winter's day (17 degrees y'all!!), I decided to do some winter canning. Except it wasn't fruit I was preserving; it was dry bulk goods. 

Welcome to New York City. This is my pantry. As in, this is it. Technically, there's one more narrow section for oils and vinegars, but this is where all the dried goods go. It's not a huge amount of space, so I have to make the most of it. Most of the time, I can't find anything and just end up tossing stuff wherever there's an iota of open space. I also end up buying things at the grocery store that I don't need because I'm unable to see what I have lurking in there.

I'd wrestled up my frequently used grains in big containers. They were useful, but ended up taking up way too much real estate. So I had a thought...mason jars!

Oooh! Pretty!

Perfect fit for my regular bulk goods like brown rice, panko bread crumbs, red lentils and quinoa. They are very aesthetically pleasing, and they're also about to save me some money. I'll no longer buy things I don't need, and because they're air-tight the food will stay fresher longer. 

Opening my cabinet to see my jars makes me happier than I'd like to admit. Maybe I need an intervention. 

 I love my blue mason jars--I scooped these up at a flea market in upstate New York last summer and have displayed everything from candy to pasta to brown sugar in them. 

Mason jars are also great as inexpensive vases.

And work equally well for  homemade gifts and treats. 

Do you love mason jars like I do? What do you use them for?


  1. LOVE mason jars. I've drank out of them, put tealights in them, arranged flowers with them, but yet to can anything! That's on my list of things to do :)

  2. I just love your blog, and Mason jars!

    What a brilliant idea for storing dry goods. My pantry currently runneth over with those exact same big plastic bins you have in your before shot.
    You've inspired me to keep on the look-out for them and to get cracking on re-organizing my pantry.

  3. Your new little pantry looks fab! Mason jars have always reminded me of summer in Texas, actually. Nothing like drinking (or making) some sun tea in a mason jar!

  4. so pretty! i use them for qtips and cotton balls in the bathroom- wish i had a set of pretty blue jars though! i also love them for candles outside in the summer.


  5. I'm actually a Mariage-Freres tea cannister - they have lovely metal cannisters that are painted black with their pre-Victorian/Colonial seal in yellow on the front...but I love Wesc jars when it comes to glass.

  6. Mason jars are excellent in so many ways. I use mine for flowers, candle votives or as drinking glasses with pretty straws. Basically, they freaking rock.

  7. Awesome job! I've been wanting to use mason jars in my pantry for awhile now too. I also love to use them for floral arrangements, and I've used them as cups at a party too. You can never have too many on hand!

  8. Love this idea... I got a bunch of jars from Ikea and did something similar, much nicer to look at!

  9. one idea (and i think i saw this in a martha mag) is to paint a square of chalkboard paint on the jar - that way you can label the contents!

    my mom has canned goods forever and always requests her jars back after we eat whatever delightful fruit/veggie it once contained. Secret - i NEVER give mine back....they are just too useful!

  10. nice! i might actually use the mason jars as vases for an outdoor party I'm hosting soon....

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  11. I recently got some homemade peanut and almond brittle in mason jars as a gift during the holidays.

    I emptied them out (deliciously!) and now one stores tea bags and the other one is filled with my favorite loose-leaf tea. I love them.

    They are so much prettier to look at than the flimsy cardboard boxes that tea usually comes in.