Canning Jars have wonderful uses
Kerr, Mason, Ball...even Better Homes and Gardens...but by whatever brand name they go by, I love canning jars!
Canning jars hold and preserve goods from my garden, the orchard, vineyard, and berry patches. Safely, in the pantry, until I am ready to open one, enjoy the contents, or add to a recipe.
Jewel-toned jams, jellies, sauces, fruits, and pickles are a pallet of palatable possibilities for meals and gifts. Around the holidays the checkout counters of markets will usually have booklets with recipes for canning jar gifts - layered ingredients for pasta, soup, beans, cookies, and beverages that look appealing and are fun to create and to receive. A fabric cover tied over the lid with raffia or bakers twine makes a nice presentation.
When I don't have enough beverage glasses to serve with, canning jars in pint sizes (I prefer the small-neck jars to drink from) come in handy. Younger kids get along best with half-pint, quilted jelly jars - just the right size for small hands - and the quilting helps those little hands keep a firm grip. If the jar is dropped it seldom breaks. A box of 12 jars costs around $8.00. When I go to thrift stores I usually find canning jars. Cheap. I check the rims to be sure they're not chipped. Bad for lips and canning both!
For beverages, canning jars evoke themes I like for entertaining - which are country-casual, rustic-chic, farmyard, barn raising, etc. These themes work in the dining room, kitchen, on a picnic, or for a back porch barbecue.
Lemonade looks especially nice in canning jars with ice and a slice of lemon. So does root beer, milk (including chocolate), juice, tea - iced or herbal - a bloody mary with a pickled green bean as a swizzle stick.
Canning jars are perfect food storage containers in addition to their uses as food preservation containers. They take heat and freezing temperatures. I sometimes use them to store things in the freezer. Yeast, milk and cream, nuts. They are mouse proof so make the best pest-proof storage containers for dehydrated food, beans, herbal teas, rice, pasta. They don't transfer plastic or metallic tastes to food.
For small batches of sauerkraut and kim chee they are handy as fermenting crocks. Wide-mouth, quart jars are best for this. Top with a plastic storage bag full of water to seal the veggies from contamination by dust and mold during fermentation.
I use canning jars to macerate (soak in alcohol) fruit or herbs for cordials, flavored brandies, and herbal tinctures. Elderberry blossoms and cornflowers with the addition of distilled water and steeped for a few weeks in canning jars become cosmetic waters that nourish the skin. Herbal balms and salves begin with healing herbs such as comfry, calendula, chamomile, and more steeping in canning jars filled with olive oil.
Poke a hole in the lid of a wide-mouth, pint canning jar and you have a nice holder and dispenser of kitchen twine. Glue a puffy fabric top on top of a canning lid for a unique pincushion. In the pincushion-jar place a spool or two of thread, a seam ripper, and a small pair of embroidery scissors. Keep this in the laundry room to make quick mending repairs or sew on loose buttons.These make nice gifts, too!
Endlessly useful and practical, canning jars can be re-purposed in a variety of ways. Yes, canning jars are one of the things I love!