Favorite Things: Glass Jars
It pains me to get rid of the glass jars that enter my kitchen. So I end up with rather large collections of them in the pantry, and try my best to reduce by giving away whatever I can think of in a jar.
The Ball and Kerr mason jars find many uses here on Main Street, and I like to buy big multi-packs of them. But my favorite jars are like my favorite people—they come in unusual shapes and sizes, and I’ve been known to buy a foodstuff just for the jar that contains it. Last week when I entered the alien galaxy of Costco in South Florida for some big-family grocery shopping, my mother and I went after a lovely bottle of cheap Frascati wine just for the unusual shape of the bottle tied up with thin gold twine. The wine was blah but the bottle was rah rah. For $6.95, I figured it was worth it.
Some obvious uses for my many jars are canning and preserves, but I also like to use the jar to give away a random pint of granola or a taste of caramel sauce.
In the refrigerator, I have jars filled with the toasted nuts that I reach for all the time for snacking or to jazz up a salad. I keep a jar of egg whites that preserves them for months on end, and it gives me a handy place to deposit whites whenever I’m separating eggs for the yolks.
In my spice cabinet, I have a jar with brown sugar in it that keeps the sugar nice and moist. Dried mint, or nana, just begs to reside in a glass jar too.
Seeing as the trip to bounty will be taking place in the coming months, I’m not going to be getting rid of jars any time soon. They’re going to come down off their humble shelf, get all dressed up in something special from the garden, and then have plenty of places to go. Maybe over to your house, tied with a ribbon and a note of thanks from me, for your friendship.
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As a young adult I built a large tool bench with a top shelf and the backstop lined with three small shelves running the full length of the bench, about 6 feet. These long, small shelves were just the right height and depth to hold rows of empty baby food glass jars, those that are about 4 inches high. You don’t see them anymore today (but I do have a spare supply if you need any)! The three shelves hold 96 of those jars, every one filled with screws, nuts, bolts, various small nails, electrical terminal connectors, and just about anything else that would fit into them. My father was similarly inclined, apparently Maureen there are Lebanese tendencies dwelling within you too! 🙂
Lately I have been saving olive jars, about 6 inches high and about 2.5 inches across, straight sided jars, come six in a pack at BJ’s warehouse shopping. They are too tall for the old shelves but I save them anyway. For about 5 years my wife Bev objected, but I continue to collect them. Of course not fitting into the shelving I have them piled all over the top shelf and generally around the basement shop area. Most are empty but I can’t resist saving them! Apparently I have Lebanese tendencies too!
Before my father passed he helped out in my brother’s restaurant in Wisconsin. When they went out to buy a screw or bolt he would yell at them, “I had that already, why did you buy another?” He had a few jars, cans, various containers, etc., also. But you can see what is inside of a glass jar!
It was just a matter of time before some young Lebanese thought of putting pine nuts in a glass jar! 🙂
Hope you had a good Easter,
best, Jerry Wakeen
Jerry, wonderful!! Who knew glass jars were so ingrained in us?!!! I bet those baby food jars are the perfect size for lots of things…. Thanks so much for sharing.
You forgot about old milk bottles! line the window ledge, on the front porch! so many people ask me if i have milk delivered!
I can just see it, Tina! I would love an old milk bottle or two–they’re great.
Maureen, your cupboard looks just like mine! In my refrigerator, always, are jars filled with pine nuts, zataar and fresh squeezed lemon juice (I buy two bags of Costco lemons at a time and squeeze them, putting one jar in the freezer and the other in the refrigerator all ready for hummus, tabooleh, salata). The house I grew up in in Los Angeles was built by an Italian in 1928 so we had two prolific purple fig trees, one huge apricot, two lemon trees, and two purple grape vines, so my mother canned fig (and her secret ingredient was anise seeds), apricot and grape jam every spring and summer (after sharing the bounty with wonderful neighbors) in mason jars and they were placed on the sturdy shelves my father built for her in the garage alongside her jars of pickled beets. How lovely to share these memories with you Maureen and Jerry and Tina.
Good morning Maureen:
This is amazing. I am surprised to see other people at this time, interested in jars. I love Ball and Kerr mason jars and they remind me of the days my mother would buy them by the cases for her canning from her garden. I also keep my nuts, M&Ms, etc. etc. in my lovely jars. Recently I brought a bottle of South African wine for the bottle because of its shape that I put my floral arrangements in. You are wonderful. Thank you for sharing this and letting me know I am not the only one that likes pretty jars.
Jar lovers unite! Thank you Shirley!
Maureen, your cupboard looks just like mine, and always, in my refrigerator I have jars of pine nuts, zataar, and freshly squeezed lemon juice (I buy bags of Costco lemons) all ready for hummus, tabooleh and salata. When I was growing up, we had two prolific purple fig trees, one enormous apricot, two lemon trees and two grape vines. Every summer my mother canned this bounty and placed scores of mason jars filled with fig, apricot and grape jams on the sturdy garage shelves my father built for her, all ready for the eating and giving. And all alongside of the beautiful jars of pickled beets she made. How lovely to share these memories with you Maureen, Jerry and Tina.
Love your lemon juice at the ready, Diane. And your reminiscence of fruit trees in your family yard sounds just like my mother’s remembrance of the fruit trees her parents and grandparents planted. Reminded them of Lebanon….
I have been paying attention to jars lately because here in Beirut and Lebanon, people are very conscious of things, like Depression -era folks were in the US; so they don’t throw jars away and you see empty jars in people’s cupboards to store all the pickles, jams etc.
I like that they value their things there in Beirut, including jars!
Maureen, I thought I was the only one who contemplates in the aisle, when it comes to unusual shaped glass jars! I collect, use, give and even am crazy enough to ask my relatives to return them to me so I can replenish the contents for them! Reuse, rueuse, reuse!