Mason jars aren’t just for Grandmas and their homegrown pickles anymore! There are so many unique and versatile uses for this classic kitchen staple. Watch my segment on Creative Uses for Mason Jars….and especially when Marlon Wayans (best know for “White Chicks” and “Scary Movie”) had a scare of his own when he had the pleasure of sampling our popular, southern delicacy: Cold, Uncooked Blueberry Pancakes in a Jar. Hey, it was just a prop, I wasn’t expecting anyone to actually eat it!
Here are my Top 8 Creative Uses for Mason Jars….
1. Turn your blender into a Magic Bullet! I love the concept of the Magic Bullet and it’s ability to create individualized smoothies based on personal preferences. But my 14-year-old blender is still alive and kicking, so I really don’t need to (nor want to) purchase one more kitchen appliance to take up precious storage space.
Did you know that a standard mason jar can be used in place of the pitcher on most blenders? Yes, it really can! Many detachable blade assemblies screw right onto a small-mouth Mason jar. I like to store a few “smoothie kits” (i.e. a mix of protein powder, Super Seed, P2P, flax seed, etc.) in jars in my pantry, then toss in my favorite frozen fruit for a quick, single-serve smoothie. And since I can drink it straight from the jar, there are less dishes to clean. That’s a WIN-WIN for me!
2. Blueberry Pancakes in a Jar. On a busy weekday morning who wants to be stuck flipping pancakes over a hot griddle? Not me! That’s why I LOVE this awesome time-saver of having ready-to-cook individual Blueberry Pancakes in a Jar. Your kiddos can just grab a jar, pop it in the microwave and breakfast is served…all while you’re slowly rolling out of bed.
1 cup flour (I use whole-wheat pastry flour)
1 TB baking powder
2 TB sugar (or Stevia)
2 TB melted butter
3/4 cup milk
Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Combine flour, baking powder, and sugar in a small bowl, and whisk until combined. Gently stir in melted margarine and milk until combined. Don’t over mix.
Place blueberries on bottoms of Mason jars*, then fill about halfway with batter. Pancake will rise while cooking.
Store overnight in refrigerator. When ready eat, just grab one, remove the lid, and cook in the microwave (1 minute for small jars, or 90 seconds for larger jars). Top with warm syrup.And the best part: You can eat these straight out of the jar. That’s CLASS with a capital “K,” ya’ll!
Makes 4 small jar cakes or 2 large ones.
*Since these will be going in the microwave, make sure to use heatproof Mason jars!
Original recipe can be found HERE.
3. Make-ahead Salad in a Jar. These are awesome to prepare several days in advance, store in the fridge and grab when you’re headed out the door or just want a quick meal at home. The key is to layer the heavy and wet ingredients FIRST, so the other items remain crisp and fresh. Here’s an example of how to layer your salad:
1) BOTTOM – dressing/liquid
2) Heavy ingredients that hold up well when submerged in dressing – beans, cucumbers, radishes, onion
3) Heavy items that you may not want directly touching the dressing when stored
4) Leafy greens/light ingredients that take up a lot of space – spinach, kale, chard, arugula
5) A small amount of heavy accent items – nuts, seeds, dried fruit, croutons, accent spices
6) TOP – colorful ingredients to perk up your taste buds when you pop open the jar – fruit, edible flowers, herbs
4. DIY Powdered Sugar Shaker. I love to sprinkle a little powdered sugar on french toast or brownies, but inevitably there’s a huge mess that follows whenever I pull out that crumpled bag. To avoid that, I put a few cups in a Mason jar, grab a lid, hammer and small tack nail. Make a few holes and…voila…you’ve got yourself a mess-free way to enjoy all that white, powdery goodness!
5. Foam milk without a frother. Don’t have a fancy-schmancy espresso machine with attached milk steamer? No worries. Just fill a small jar with a little milk (no more than halfway) and shake until the milk has doubled in size. Pop off the lid and microwave the milk for about 30 seconds.
6. Homemade Food Gift Jars. Well, duh, this one’s pretty self-explanatory, but I couldn’t leave it out. We’ve probably all received or given a “Cookie Mix in a Jar.” This year we gave Chex® Muddy Buddies® Christmas Gift Jars. Read the tutorial here.
7. Store Bulk Foods When I come home from Sprouts, I usually have several big, plastic bags full of lentils, quino and raw almonds. To keep things neat and tidy in the pantry, I use my handy-dandy KitchenAid Pro Funnel to easily fill the jars and store my bulk items on the shelves. I think my border-line OCD hubby appreciates the effort, too.
8. Freeze Leftover Soups and Stews in Jars. I know a lot of us are trying to make the switch from plastic to glass when it comes to food storage because recent studies have linked chemicals like BPA, phthalates, and PFCs to health concerns in humans. Whenever possible, I like to use jars for items I plan to store for long periods of time. I’ll fill a jar with leftover soup, screw on the lid, label it using a sharpie, and place it in the freezer. Be sure to only fill up to 2/3 full of liquid to allow for expansion otherwise the jar may crack.
Where to find Mason Jars Right now, Amazon sells Ball jars with Lids and Bands or can purchase Mason jars at most grocery stores. Target has Ball 12ct Regular Mouth Quart Jars (32oz) for just $9.99. You also can sometimes find used jars on Craigslist, and in thrift stores and garage sales. (No worries….they can be sterilized!) And don’t throw away that empty jar or Classico spaghetti sauce. Did you know it comes in an Atlas Mason jar? Rinse it out and save it for later.