Monday, February 8, 2016

Organizing with Mason Jars

Since getting married, my appreciation for Mason jars has grown. Not only are they decorative, but they are incredibly functional, as well.

Above my stove, I have three quart-sized Mason jars, in which I store white flour, popcorn kernels, and brown rice. I would like to add more jars to my collection, but I'm not sure what to put in them. Any ideas?


On the counter next to the stove sits a two-quart Mason jar filled with brown sugar and two larger jars filled with all-natural cane sugar and a mix of white and wheat flour. I confess that the larger jars aren't genuine Ball Mason jars. You're going to laugh, but they're actually old pickle containers from the early '90s, compliments of my mother (shh, don't tell anyone).

Do you use mason jars to organize your kitchen?

73 comments:

  1. Anonymous2/08/2016

    I put steel cut oats in one...in my others I have flour and sugar like you. I've seen people that eat a lot of breakfast cereal put it in there to help keep it fresh.

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    1. My family eats a lot of steel cut oats, but I haven't purchased any since I've been married. You've made me want to go buy some!

      Ellie

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  2. Dried beans work well in jars! I love Mason jars also, but I use them to store my pens in. :) They are so versatile! I love how you keep sharing little bits of your life with us all. Thank you!

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    1. Dried beans are a great idea. Thanks, Betsy!

      Ellie

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  3. Anonymous2/08/2016

    Cool! I just found your blog. Mason jars are for sure my favorite way of organizing!

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    1. Glad to have you as a reader! :)

      Ellie

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  4. Anonymous2/08/2016

    You could put beans in them or maybe even pasta. Do you like cooking on your electric stove? I too have an electric stove and I hate it. I find gas stoves much better for cooking. But we have to work with what we have. Plus we are renting. Perhaps when we get our own place all my dreams will come true. Lol.

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    1. I like the idea of storing pasta in a Mason jar.

      My electric stove works pretty well, but I do agree that gas is better. My electric burners are constantly getting pieces food stuck to them, which caused a pot to be engulfed in flames a few months ago. Thankfully my husband was home to come to my rescue! After that incident, we bought a fire extinguisher. lol.

      Ellie

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  5. Anonymous2/09/2016

    You could put kosher salt in one on the stove. Or corn starch or corn meal or oatmeal.

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    Replies
    1. Those are great ideas! Thanks!

      Ellie

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  6. Anonymous2/09/2016

    In my family we use Mason Jars to store things to! And for tea you just have make sure the water isn't to hot so the bottom doesn't crack. My mom has these nice big ones that are very pretty but also very functional. They definitely get put to good use!

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    1. They definitely are functional! :)

      Ellie

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  7. We use mason jars for all of our spices. We got the 1/2 pint cute little ones to use. We also use the big quart ones for any storing any dried herbs from the garden.

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    1. Hi Marisa,

      I've never seen someone use Mason jars for storing spices. That would make for a very cute spice cabinet!

      Ellie

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  8. Anonymous2/09/2016

    a variety of beans (red, white, black) and yellow and green split peas always look nice and if you find the old fashioned zinc lids, it adds to the decorative look

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    1. I really enjoy split pea soup, although I've never made it for my husband, so I'll have to make sure he likes it before buying a bunch of split peas. But I do agree that they would make nice decorations. What recipes do you make with your dried beans?

      Ellie

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  9. Anonymous2/09/2016

    You can put noodles in mason jars, or individually wrapped candy or chocolates. In my house, I use big glass jars that I fill with homemade cookies or muffins. It looks better than a plastic box.

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    1. A jar filled with candies would be wonderful! But I think I would be tempted to eat too many. lol.

      Ellie

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  10. Anonymous2/09/2016

    Great idea! Another good thing to put in large jars is the dry ingredients for cakes, brownies, cookies, pancakes, etc. It saves tons of time when you're ready to make some:) Oh, just give it a quick whisk before scooping it out to be sure it's all mixed evenly! :)

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    Replies
    1. That's a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing. :)

      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous2/09/2016

      You're very welcome:) My sister and I owned and ran a cafe recently and with a lot of young customers here in England we did a lot of pancakes (they're eaten as dessert here)! It was a life saver to have the mix already prepared! :) Your blog is very enjoyable, Ellie:)

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    3. How neat! What was your cafe called?

      Ellie

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    4. Anonymous2/10/2016

      We named it Ranch House (actually I'm from the US with an American mom and English dad and have only been over here for 3 years) and decorated with a western theme. It was very fun and somehow got nick named "The Ranch" by most of our customers:)

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    5. Love it! Did you also serve stereotypical American cuisine (eggs, bacon, sausage, etc)?

      Ellie

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    6. Anonymous2/12/2016

      Thanks:) No, we didn't do those, but things like BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and wraps, burgers and burger wraps. Also Mexican such as enchiladas, nachos (and BBQ pulled pork nachos), tacos and lots of desserts. Our peanut butter stuff was a bit hit here since it's not the typical. Oh, and we also started a burger and named it "King Ranch" consisting of the normal burger, toppings and BBQ pulled pork. :)

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    7. That sounds delicious! :)

      Ellie

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    8. Anonymous2/14/2016

      Thank you! :)

      Delete
  11. Cassie2/09/2016

    You could put lentils, dried beans, split peas, homemade hot chocolate mix, homemade brownie mix, oatmeal, quinoa, you could always can meat, vegetables, applesauce, jams, jellies, etc. Hope these are some new and different ideas for you to consider!

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    1. Thanks for sharing those ideas, Cassie! What are your favorite lentil/dried bean recipes?

      Ellie

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    2. Cassie2/09/2016

      Well, in my family we have done a ham lentil soup, and a ham split pea soup, which if we get a really cheap ham we will make it with potatoes and green beans, then with leftovers make a casserole dish, or soup with the leftovers. When we make soup with leftover ham we normally save the bones and make our own ham broth and it gives the soup a lot of the ham flavor! And with dried beans you can always make homemad refried beans, and other things. There are 11 people in my family so we always go for cheap meals... But we haven't done as much with dried beans and lentils because we like quick meals and the fact they are not my dad's favorite! ;)

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    3. Those sound like great meals, Cassie! So you have 8 brothers and sisters? Where are you in the family lineup?

      Ellie

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    4. Cassie2/12/2016

      Yes. I'm the second oldest child... But the eldest daughter. DEFINITLY a lot of responsibility! Lol

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    5. Wow! That would be a ton of responsibility! What are the ages of your siblings?

      Ellie

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    6. Cassie2/13/2016

      My oldest brother is 17 1/2, I'm 16, next sister down is 14, next 12, next is a set of twin girls that are 9 1/2, my little brother is next... He is 7 1/2, and next is a set of boy girl twins who are 5 1/2.

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    7. Sounds like a busy but exciting life! I'm sure that the experience you have gotten as the oldest daughter will be a great help as you start your own family someday. :)

      Ellie

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  12. Anonymous2/09/2016

    Oh, and how could I forget, chocolate chips! As well as nuts. But definitely chocolate chips! Lol

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    1. I would love to put chocolate chips in a jar, but having them right in front of my face all the time might be too much of a temptation. ;)

      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous2/09/2016

      Just put them in the cabinet if you have room they you would be temptation to eat the chocolate chips.

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    3. Anonymous2/09/2016

      I know what you mean!

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  13. Anonymous2/09/2016

    This is off of the subject, but I was just wondering if anyone else was having trouble seeing the Duggar Family Blog. I can get Nashville wife and The Bates family blog, but the Duggar one will not come up. Any suggestions? It just appears to try to come on. This has been happening for about 1 week. Thanks,

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi there,

      A few readers have mentioned having this problem over the past week. It seems to only be happening to those who use Internet Explorer. Is that the web browser you're using? We recommend switching to either Firefox or Google Chrome (can be downloaded for free). You can also try updating to the newest version of Internet Explorer to see if that solves the problem.

      Let me know if the issue persists.
      Ellie

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    2. I use safari on iPad, and it kept closing the page. It'd reload and then it'd close.

      Delete
    3. I'm sorry to hear that, Anita. We're trying our best to solve the issue and hope to have everything back to normal soon. In the meantime, you might try installing Google Chrome or Firefox on your iPad, if that's a possibility. So far, we haven't heard of anyone having problems accessing the blog with either of those two browsers.

      Ellie

      Delete
  14. Anonymous2/09/2016

    I've recently come across the idea of using jars for a lot of storing in the kitchen myself. I also love how easy they are to decorate with. I tie fabric scraps or used bands from presents around the tops that go with the colour of my kitchen. Also, simple yet elegant labels or a glass with fresh flowers are a nice way to touch things up in a beautiful way.

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  15. I've seen many creative people find a plethora of uses for these and make them look charming while they function. I, however, prefer to have minimal items on my counter tops. :)

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  16. You could put tea bags in the mason jars.

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    1. I like that idea, Beth! I was never much of a tea drinker, but this winter I've become one.

      Ellie

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  17. I love to use the smaller ones as air freshners- add baking soda and your favorite essential oil to it. I use a cupcake liner cup as a top and screw the rim back on. Inexpensive and no harmful chemicals.

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    1. Hi Kell,

      That's clever! And the fumes can still escape through the cupcake liner?

      Ellie

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    2. Yes... I forgot to say that you need to punch holes in the liner, using a fork. What is nice, is that you can control how strong or weak the scent is. Blessings

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    3. Thanks, Kell. I'm going to try that right now. :)

      Blessings,
      Ellie

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  18. Anonymous2/10/2016

    I use antique Ball jars in blue-green with zinc & glass lids in my sewing room to store my buttons. I use one or two jars for each color, and more jars for my vintage buttons. I must have 20 jars of different sizes, picked up at yard sales and antiques shops. The zinc lids can be harder to find than the jars, and you have to be sure to get lids that aren't too mangled or dented from the years. The thickness and the glass color on the antique jars is far better than the colored jars they're producing these days. Also, I had a brand new Ball jar break in the canner while I was making pickles. What a mess. Never had a jar break before in decades of canning. Jardin bought Ball and I don't think they're making the new jars quite the same these days. That, or quality control has slipped.

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  19. Anonymous2/10/2016

    My JoAnn store has a display of inserts you can put on top of a Ball jar for arranging flowers. The inserts look like metal mesh grids or are punched out in a spoke arrangement. JoAnn also has bags of lids that have a plastic grommet in the center around a hole where you can put a straw. These are not Ball brand products, but another company. These products seem to have arrived at the store since Christmas, maybe with spring seasonal wares?

    Also, be careful storing salt in a Ball jar with a metal lid. You will eventually corrode the lid. Ball sells plastic lids that fit their jars. The plastic lids are safe around salt. You can find those lids at Wal-Mart.

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  20. Anonymous2/10/2016

    Try a Google type search of 'in a jar', and your imagination is the limit!

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  21. Anonymous2/10/2016

    Maybe for the back of the stove you could put a jar of bran so you can put a bit into your cooking to increase fiber.

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  22. Anonymous2/10/2016

    Birdseed, don't forget our feathered friends.

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    1. Anonymous2/10/2016

      I use big popcorn tins for bird seed. Mouse-proof.

      Delete
  23. I use so many jars! I have 1/2 gallon jars, quart jars, pint jars, 1/2 pint jars and 1/4 pint jars. I vacuum seal lots of stuff in them. Spices, coffee, beans, cereal, rice, corn, wheat, sugar, oatmeal, salt, etc. The flour won't vacuum seal because it gets sucked into the sealer. The jars vacuum sealed work really well to keep out weevils. Ironically, I'm not very organized about things, including my jars. How do you organize thousands of jars? One day...

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  24. Anonymous2/10/2016

    Coffee/coffee beans

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  25. Anonymous2/10/2016

    Quinoa is one thong I store I jars along with other things already mentioned. Having it near my oven reminds me to use it instead of pasta. I also store various things to use as a reading and/or nuts and raisins which are healthy to add to dishes. I am roasting veggies alot now and adding a few nuts or raisins at the end is so good. My favorite combination are bite sized pieces of butternut squash, rutabaga, carrots, sweet potatoes and quartered red potatoes. Toss in olive oil. Throw on cookie sheet. Bake 30minutes..move them around and bake another 15 to 20minutes or until soft. 400 degrees. Then sometimes at the end I add afew nuts pr raisins. Soooo good and healthy.

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    1. That recipe sounds delicious. I've been looking for a dish that includes butternut squash, so I might just give it a try. :)

      Ellie

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  26. Anonymous2/11/2016

    This is quite unrelated, but I've been wondering if you have any regular workout routine that you enjoy? Any other ways that you use to stay fit and healthy? Also, do you have any favorite beauty products? You always look amazing, and I'm always looking for new ideas and things to try! :-)
    Blessings,
    Emmeline

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    Replies
    1. Hi Emmeline,

      I try to exercise a few times a week. Sometimes my husband and I run a mile at the gym, other times I do sit-ups, squats, lunges, etc at home, and then other days I'll do a workout DVD at home. I can write a post with all the details if you would like. :)

      Thank you for your kind words! I have recently started using natural beauty products. Mineral Fusion is my favorite brand. I'll add that to my list of future posts, too.

      You have a beautiful name!
      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous2/11/2016

      I would love to read posts on both topics! :-)
      Thank you!!!
      ~ Emmeline

      Delete
  27. Anonymous2/11/2016

    Since I live in the Midwest I use a mason jar for ice salt that way it's easier to get the salt out instead of the bag.

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    1. That's handy! It must have to be a fairly large mason jar, with all the snow that falls in the Midwest.

      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous2/13/2016

      I use 3 large size mason jars. And also use a juice jars that's big enough to fit the rest in.

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    3. Thanks for sharing! :)

      Ellie

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  28. In my indoor pantry I use mason jars to hold legumes, sugar, small pasta, graham crackers and raisins (when you only have one child, there are no siblings to hold a teenager accountable for pigging out on crackers and/or raisins. With a nice clear mason jar you can ask your 13 year old "What does the Bible say about gluttony and dishonesty?". Right now in the fridge there is a mason jar labelled "Bacon grease", one labelled "Chicken drippings", one labelled "Vegetable Broth". If you have a Tetra-pak of soup, pasta sauce, those sorts of things which are "Use within 7 days of opening", you can extend it to 14 days by pouring it into a mason jar. In the freezer there is usually at least one mason jar filled with cooked beans. Black beans freeze the best, followed by any variety of white beans. Pinto beans if you cook them until just tender will freeze well. In the inside pantry there is a list of mason jars in the garage pantry. Currently on the list are "Sugar, Salt, Brown Sugar, Brown Drops. The last is my way of hiding the chocolate chips from the aforementioned 13 year old who has inherited his mother's sweet tooth, as well as a means to help me resist temptation. Back before Tupperware, Rubbermaid, Glad Storage Containers, jars were used to cook and freeze things. I'm going back to those days.

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    1. Those are all clever ideas, Alberta Rose. I had no idea that putting soup or sauce in a mason jar would extend the life to 14 days. That's going to be a helpful piece of knowledge for me. I love tomato soup, but my hubby doesn't. I buy Tetra Paks from Trader Joe's but I have a hard time finishing a whole container in just one week.

      Thanks for all the tips!
      Ellie

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  29. Anonymous2/12/2016

    I don't understand how you can take something from a (sterile) Tetra Pak and extend its life after it's been opened by pouring it into a non-sterile jar. It's still going to be exposed to air in the jar's headroom, and then you're adding any contaminants that might have landed in the jar, too. (Ask your husband - he should be very familiar with sterile practices.) Are you FREEZING this jar after it's filled??

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    1. Anonymous2/13/2016

      I am also wondering if the ledge behind the stove is a place for any stored food. It gets warm there which can help any bacteria in the foods there multiply.

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