The 12 Days of Mason Jars

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The 12 Days of Mason Jars

By Rosanne Dunkelberger, Styling and Photography by Saige Roberts

Styling and photography by saige roberts

History tells us that, in order to feed a hungry army, Napoleon offered a prize to the person who could create a method for preserving food. The result was a heated and boiled airtight glass jar sealed with cork and wax. It worked — but not perfectly.

In 1858, John Landis Mason would create a more practical product, consisting of glass jars that utilized a rubber seal. The five Ball brothers would further refine the product and, in 1903, the Kerr company would come up with today’s ubiquitous canning jar — featuring a wide mouth and a two-part lid that included a gasket permanently attached to the lid and a screw-down ring.

Canning would be the purview of farmer’s wives for many years. But the skill took on a new life during World War II, when tin for cans and foodstuffs were rationed and housewives were encouraged to plant food “Victory Gardens” and preserve their bounty by canning.

In the ’50s and ’60s, canning would fall out of favor as the freezer became the favored method for conveniently keeping food fresh.

But the mason jar is no longer consigned to obscurity, thanks to Martha Stewart, Pinterest and creative crafters everywhere. 

While some back-to-the-earth sorts are reviving old-fashioned water bath canning, others have come up with 1,001 uses for the classic jar that have nothing to do with making jelly or preserving tomatoes.

Tallahassee lassie Randi Shiver wrote the book on the versatility of these kitchen classics — really, it’s called “Little Miss Mason Jar” — and you can buy it in several shops around town. Her mason jar obsession started as a convenient method for her to have a ready supply of lunches and dinners for her busy family. Shiver’s book includes dozens of recipes for creating meals and other uses for canning jars.

Here, Little Miss Mason Jar shares a dozen creative ways to use these kitchen favorites for food, gifts and home décor throughout the holiday season.

Click on the mason jars below to read more about them & their recipes:

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The 12 Days of Mason Jars

1 of 7
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