There are a number of uses for mason jars, those clear glass containers sold primarily for home canning and jelly making. Some uses for mason jars still maintain elements of their traditional purposes, while others are clearly outside the box. Mason jars have a nostalgic sense about them, since many people still remember eating preserved foods or homemade jellies from them as children. Even as food preservation methods evolve technologically, there are still segments of the population finding new uses for mason jars.
One of the most common uses of mason jars outside of food preservation is candlemaking. When the demand for strongly scented candles rose dramatically several years ago, candlemakers found a number of uses for mason jars. Waxes featuring strong, evocative scents such as buttercream frosting or fresh Macintosh apples can be poured into mason jars for use as home air fresheners. The imprinted Mason company logo also provides a nostalgic look.
Another one of the uses for mason jars is as informal glassware for beverages. Many restaurants with a country or Western theme like to use real or reproduction mason jars for serving soft drinks and iced teas. Homeowners seeking an informal way to serve beverages can also use mason jars. During the days of the bootleg whiskey trade, still operators used mason jars to store their finished product. Today, some licensed alcoholic beverage stores still sell a form of moonshine whiskey in mason-like jars.
One of the more unusual uses for mason jars is as planters for smaller houseplants. Children interested in learning how plants grow can plant small beans or flowers in mason jars filled with topsoil. The clear sides of the mason jar should allow young gardeners to see how root systems form. Mason jars can also be used to grow fresh herbs for the kitchen.
One of the practical uses for mason jars is as piggy banks. A slot can be cut in the lid to accept both coins and paper money, and young bankers can easily watch their savings grow. If parents want to encourage long-term savings, they can use a strong glue to permanently seal the lid to the jar. The jar must be filled to capacity before the money can be spent. A mason jar with a removable lid can also be used as a petty cash container or a 'cuss jar', requiring violators to pay a penalty for using foul language.
Other uses for mason jars include storage of craft supplies such as buttons, pins and glitter. Nails, bolts, nuts and screws can also be stored in labeled mason jars. Mason jars can also contain dry ingredients such as cake mixes, Russian spiced teas or hard candies in homemade gift boxes. Be sure to label the jars clearly and provide special instructions for preparation.