My first answer is anything 😂
No, really, mason jars have to be the most useful item in my kitchen next to my knives. I use them for literally everything. Here are some ideas:
Storing any dry product - flour, rice, pasta, beans, grains. If you don't use a whole package of something like beans or rice, then put the rest in a mason jar. It is great because you can see what you have and how much. It makes restocking so much easier.
Freezing soups, sauces, and stews - There is a line on Ball Mason jars for freezing. The reason is you can't fill them all the way up because liquid expands when it is frozen, so you need to leave space. When ready to use, you can take them out and pop them into the microwave to defrost, taking off the lid first.
Leftovers - Mason jars are perfect for leftover veggies, soups, sauces, etc. Save on the plastic containers or plastic wrap and use your mason jars.
Salads - A couple of years ago, making layered salads in jars was in style. I still do that when I'm prepping my lunches for the week. The key is to put the dressing on the bottom, so the dressing falls over the salad when you empty it. Of course, you can also put the salad dressing separately. Then it is heavier items on the bottom. I've even made individual salads in small mason jars and put them on a buffet. People loved having their own jar salad.
Salad Fixin's - If you don't want to make your salads ahead of time, you can prepare the components, store them in mason jars, and then either use them throughout the week or put them out for family and friends to choose what they want on their salads.
Cup of Noodles Soup - This is an awesome use of mason jars and is also the perfect take-along lunch. You put seasoning, veggies, and noodles (rice noodles or fresh udon) into the mason jar. When you are ready for lunch, add hot water!
Individual Pies or Breads - This is fun for a party (or even to bake and freeze). You can make small pies or even bread in the smaller mason jars. You could even make mini cakes, now that I think about it!
Premade Mixes - These make great gift ideas. As one member of our Appetite for Life Facebook Group mentioned. Pull together your dry ingredients, attach a recipe card with the directions and any fresh items they need, and voila! Here are some ideas:
Your favorite hot chocolate recipe
Pancake or Waffle mix
Quick bread mixes
Non-food Related Uses - Of course, your mason jars can do other things such as:
Pencil holder - I use a small one in a drawer, and I can always find a pen when I need one
Paperclip holder - the same idea, but use the small short mason jars
Toothbrush holder - keeps things clean and neat. I keep mine in the medicine cabinet above the sink, so I don't have my toothbrush on the sink.
Cut herb storage - I put some water in a mason jar and then my herbs. I either put this in the fridge or on the window sill (basil especially), and they stay fresh longer.
Q-tip holder - By now, you probably think my entire medicine cabinet has mason jars in it, and you are pretty much right! The small mason jars are perfect for standing up your Q-tips. They are easy to grab, and you don't have that messy box around.
Outdoor cutlery holder - If you have people over and want to put your cutlery out for people to grab, use a mason jar!
Candles - You can make poured candles in the jar or use them for votives. You can place the votive right in the smaller mason jars, but if you want to use the larger jars, you can fill part of the mason jar with sand or even water if you have floating votives.
Growing Herbs - I love this for the winter. The key is putting small stones in the bottom of the jar before you add the soil so it can drain. Also, be careful about watering too much. But it is certainly a treat to have fresh herbs all winter long.
Terrarium - I haven't done this, but I thought it would be a cute gift or project for a child.
Cupcake Wrapper Holder - Yes! I know! If you are like me, cupcake wrappers slowly flatten out in a drawer because you don't use them often. Put them in a mason jar, and they will keep their shape!
These are just some ideas. Join us at the Appetite for Life Facebook Group and share your ideas!