I have a confession: I hoard glass jars. I buy mason jars whenever I get the chance. When I finish a jar of pickles or mayonnaise, there's no way that glass jar is going in the recycling (thankfully, they're easy to de-stink). And when my sister gives me a basket of her homemade jams, she can forget about ever seeing those jars again.
Simply put, mason jars are the handiest receptacle in the kitchen. They fit perfectly on a shelf for storing dry goods, seal tightly for refrigerated leftovers, serve as a perfect water glass, and can even be used for growing herbs.
Aside from simply storing ingredients, mason jars can be really handy while cooking. These are my five favorite culinary uses for them.
The most important element in a cocktail shaker is the ability to retain a cold temperature. Because mason jars are made of thick glass, they're able to keep a shaken drink perfectly cold. All you have to do is add your ingredients and your ice, screw the lid on tightly (or else you'll make a mess; this is the voice of experience speaking), and give it a good shake.
There are still benefits to a traditional shaker (namely that they hold a larger amount of alcohol than a generic mason jar), but a mason jar is a perfect substitute for a single drink, or for if you're making an array of cocktails and want to avoid washing your shaker after every drink.
Anyone who loves making desserts is familiar with losing all feeling in their arm because they spent ten minutes whipping cream by hand. No more! Just put your whipped cream and seasonings in a mason jar, screw on the lid, and shake vigorously for 30-60 seconds. It's important to not fill the jar too full, as there needs to be air in the jar to incorporate with the cream.
Mason jar whipped cream is the perfect hack for a hike or a picnic. As a kid, my parents would always take us on walks by the river, and we'd put cream-filled jars in our backpacks. As we walked we'd pick berries, and by the time we had enough berries, the cream had whipped, just from the up-and-down movement as we walked. The result was a perfect berry-and-cream snack.
Of course, cream won't whip unless it's cold, so make sure that if you take it to go, you have a way of keeping it cool. And if you want to keep shaking the jar, go right ahead: it's easy to turn cream into butter, too.
Most mason jars will screw into the base of a blender, allowing you to use them in place of the blender container. This can really simplify your morning smoothie routine. It also makes cleanup a lot easier, or serves as a great alternative if your blender container is dirty and you don't have time to clean it.
It may seem a little hipster to drink beer out of a mason jar, but it actually makes a lot of sense. As previously mentioned, the thick glass in mason jars allows them to retain a cold temperature. As such, a frozen mason jar will stay colder a lot longer than a standard pint glass will. Just keep the glass in your freezer until you're ready to use it, and you'll be rewarded with a beer that stays cold for a very long time.
This is my favorite mason jar hack. With strategic layering, you can make a week's worth of salads in your mason jars, and have ready-made lunches waiting for you in the fridge.
While these are my favorite uses for mason jars, the options are endless. You can use them for poaching eggs, making breakfast parfaits, or premade frozen drinks. What are your favorite uses for mason jars?
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