Mason jars are a fantastic tool that can be used for all types of storage. They’re very popular among the home canning community, as they offer a relatively cheap storage option that can be useful in most scenarios. From drinks to salads to decorations, there’s no end to the possibilities that a mason jar could be used for.
In this article, we’ll be covering all the great uses for mason jars, some pros, and cons, as well as figuring out if you can use mason jars in the microwave!
Can You Microwave Mason Jars?
As long as the metal lid is removed, mason jars can be safely microwaved. The mason jar lid cannot be microwaved since it contains metal which causes damage to the glass and microwave. Frozen food stored inside the mason jar should be thawed out before being reheated in the microwave. Placing the jar in cold water for 30 minutes or storing it in the fridge for a few hours should help to thaw the contents inside.
Before removing the mason jar from the microwave, it should be inspected and handled very carefully. The glass jar may heat up considerably, so a towel or kitchen glove should be used for removing the mason jar from the microwave.
Common Uses of Mason Jars
The greatest thing about mason jars might just be their versatility. They can be found around the house storing various foods, as well as storing loose items and tools.
Another recent trend has been using mason jars for decorations. The jar works perfectly as a vase and can be painted and decorated for any type of party or event.
Here’s a list of the nine most common uses of mason jars.
Since there’s an unlimited amount of food that you could store in mason jars we’ll just go over a few examples. Besides the obvious idea of storing leftovers, mason jars are often used to contain salad, vegetables, and fruit salad.
Mason jars also have the added benefit of being great for presentation, which is why you’ll find many recipes that are created and eaten directly from the jar.
We’ve already discovered that it’s safe to heat mason jars in the microwave, and that makes them a great choice as containers for soup. When it’s time to reheat there are no extra steps needed, you can place it directly in the microwave without having to transfer the soup to a different container. Chicken noodle, lentil, beef, or bean are all great soups that can be warmed up and consumed from these jars.
Some amazing desserts fit perfectly inside a smaller mason jar. Parfaits, jello, pudding, and a few of the easy desserts that could be made and served right in the jar.
This is one use of mason jars that you’re probably already familiar with. For years there’s been an increase in using Bell mason jars to store food for long periods. Some foods can be canned for a short time like pickles, salsas, and sauces. Then there are some foods that last a lot longer like jams, jelly, and preserves.
During those warm summer months, you can often find mason jars being used for ice-cold drinks. Lemonade, iced tea, lemon water, or wine are a few drinks that can be kept and drank directly from the jar. Place a few ice cubes in with your drink and you have the perfect cup that will stay cool in the sun.
Some people prefer to drink their smoothies right from the blender container, but this would be the perfect container to transfer your smoothie too. It’s very easy to drink out of and can hold quite a large amount of blended fruits or drinks.
Whether you have pens, spare change, or paperclips around the house, a mason jar can be the perfect house for those items. The clear, durable glass makes for a simple and effective container to hold any random items from around the house. Some people enjoying decorating or painting the jar, before using it to store any small or loose items that need a permanent place to stay.
Fill up your mason jar with water, place your flowers inside, and next thing you know you have a perfect vase! Pair that with some creative decorations and you have an inexpensive nice-looking flower vase to put in your windowsill.
Wedding or Party Decorations
Going along with the decoration theme from above, the jars can also be decorated for no other reason but to look nice. A Halloween party or wedding would be the perfect time to break out the mason jars and paint.
Negatives of Mason Jars
It’s not surprising the number of uses that you can get out of one mason jar. From food storage to party decoration and everything in between. Instead of just focusing on the positives, we should also look at the cons that come with mason jars. We’ve found three issues that you might be interested to figure out if mason jars are the right tool for the job.
When dealing with anything made of glass, there’s always a chance of the material breaking. The thermal shock would be the most common issue that results in broken glass. It can easily be avoided by not putting glass through frequent and quick drops in temperature.
You should always inspect the glassware for cracks or chips before using them. Even a small crack in the glass could cause the entire thing to shatter if the temperature of the glass will be dramatically changed.
Issues With Rust
Most mason jars come with a metal lid and storage cap that is not water-resistant. Since there are often liquids or moisture that come into contact with the lid, rust can be a frequent problem.
Thankfully, there are alternative lids that can be used with the jars. Stainless steel, bamboo, or le parfait lids are all options that provide the same great benefits without those rust issues.
The glass material that the mason jars are made from can be on the heavy side. Depending on where the jars are stored, it can add quite a bit of extra weight to your shelf or cabinet.
One other issue with the bulkiness of the jars is that there aren’t many great ways to store them. The lids can be placed together to create more room, but the jars themselves have to stand on their own.
Mason Jar Safety Tips
There aren’t too many risks associated with using mason jars, but there are a few things to keep in mind especially when using them to store food. If you plan to use the jars for storage of items that aren’t edible, you don’t need to worry about these too much.
Replace the Lids
After a while, you may notice the lids start to break down or possibly rust. The metal ring and lid will be exposed to moisture just from the contents inside the jar. Eventually, this will lead to rusty metal so once in a while older lids should be swapped out for new ones.
Don’t Fill up Completely
Since the glass may expand after defrosting, there should always be extra space left in the container. Leaving room in the jar will help to prevent any damage or breaking of the glass jar. This tip is the most important if you plan on filling up the jar and then freezing the jar and contents.
Avoid Thermal Shock
For canning, the glass material can sometimes be moved from cold to hot temperatures very quickly. This isn’t a safe practice as the sudden change in temperature will expand the glass which can sometimes lead to it breaking. Any glass container should be allowed to reach room temperature before placing it in the colder fridge. A jar can also shatter if the glass is hot and is placed on a wet counter.
Hopefully, at this point we’ve answered the question, can you microwave mason jars, with a resounding yes. It is safe to put the mason glass jar in the microwave. There are three things to watch out for to be safe when using the jar in the microwave.
The safest and only way you should microwave a mason jar is without the lid. Even the smallest amount of metal can damage a microwave, so the safest option is to never microwave anything with metal, including the mason jar lids.
To avoid breaking or shattering the glass jar, inspect the mason jar for any scratches, cracks, or chips. If any are found, it may still be alright to microwave, but the safest option would be to find a different container before continuing.
Thermal shock is an issue that could lead to broken and shattered glass. The only time this comes into play is if you are taking a jar directly from the freezer and placing it in the microwave. You should thaw the contents inside and allow the jar to reach a more room level temperature so that the glass doesn’t expand too much and break.