I have to admit that I am mildly obsessed with canning jars. They come in so many fabulous colors and sizes and are so versatile and affordable. Canning jars are also sustainable, as they can be easily reused and recycled in so many ways. My pantry is always full of extra jars patiently waiting to be put into service. 

Here are ten of my favorite ways to use canning jars. I will share other creative ways of using canning jars in your home soon. I would love to hear your favorite ways of using canning jars. Please share your comments below.


1. Keep Your Pantry Organized

Storing your food staples in canning jars is a great way to keep your pantry stocked and organized. Taking food out of its bulky packaging and putting it into clear jars keeps your pantry looking nice, a colorful visual all in a row, and saves much needed shelf space. You can easily see what is inside each jar and food stays fresher longer, too. I store all my pantry stables - such as rice, pasta, nuts, breadcrumbs, and dried beans - in the bigger quart size, large-mouth jars. If you buy food in bulk to stock up, like we all do these days to save money, the number of trips to the grocery store, and packaging waste, this storing method works very well. 


2. Make Quick Frothy Milk

Do you love frothy milk with your morning latte or tea? I certainly do. Save money and make it a home in just one minute! Just pour your milk (I use organic, 2% milk) in a small, 8 oz. jar and fill about ¾ full - not to the top! Cover with a canning jar lid and shake well. Take the lid off and immediately pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds (no more) and voila! Quick and easy frothy milk to make your morning coffee or tea extra special. 


3. Use as Drinking Glasses

Yes, you can even use your canning jars as drinking glasses. We have for years. They are super cute and much cheaper than regular drinking glasses. If one gets broken or chipped, no worries, recycle it or reinvent it for another purpose (see #7). Don’t have time to finish your drink? Don’t throw it away, pop a cover on it and drink it later.


4. Give Them as Gifts

Need a quick gift for a friend or teacher? No problem! Pick up some pretty flowers and use one of your jars as a vase or fill up a jar with wonderfully smelling bath salts. I especially love using the blue and purple canning jars for gifts. Wrap a pretty burlap bow around it and you have a gorgeous, thoughtful gift with rustic charm. 


5. Create  Homemade Salad Dressings, Sauces, Pesto & Jams 

Canning jars are a perfect all-in-one solution to make and store your homemade salad dressings and sauces. Make it right in the jar and then just cover and shake to mix. Pop a top on it, and it’s ready to store in the refrigerator. I always have homemade sauces, like rémoulade sauce, on hand in the refrigerator to use to brighten up tacos, po-boys, or as a dipping sauce for seafood or chicken. It is always nice to have homemade pesto and quick jams in the refrigerator for simple breakfast and lunch options. Both also freeze well. 


6. Use as a Vase for Fresh Herbs

We cook with fresh herbs almost every day, so it is nice to have them handy. Herbs seem to last longer when they are put in a jar of water on your kitchen shelf or in the refrigerator. Just trim the ends off the stems and put them in a jar with just a little bit of water. Basil especially seems to do best stored in a jar. 


7. Simple Storage Solution

Smaller jars, including the adorable 4 and 8 oz. jars, are excellent for storing buttons, Q-tips, art and craft supplies, paperclips, nails, screws, washers, game pieces - you name it! This has saved me from searching the dreaded “junk drawer” for items that I need quickly.


8. Make Quick Pickles

We eat pickled okra, red onions, jalapenos, and refrigerator pickles with so many dishes, and they are terrific additions to your charcuterie board too. Many last in the fridge for up to two weeks.


9. Build a Bird Feeder

If you enjoy feeding and watching birds, you can make your own relatively simple and cost-friendly bird feeder by using a one-quart jar and attaching it to a galvanized steel chicken feeder base that you can get from your local farm supply store. Use twine or wire to hang. It is a nice addition to your porch or yard.


10. Store Homemade Chicken Broth

One of my favorite uses of canning jars is to store homemade chicken broth in the refrigerator and freezer. Store-bought chicken broth doesn’t come close to comparing to a dark brown, flavor-filled broth that makes any recipe sing. 

Super easy homemade chicken broth recipe coming soon!


Quick Tip: Purchase your canning jars in multi-packs to save money and ensure you have extras ready to go in your pantry.

April 23, 2021 — Amy Smith Kyle

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