10/22/2012 12:25 EDT | Updated 12/22/2012 05:12 EST

Six New Uses for Mason Jars

Nik Sharma

It's strange to think back to an era where food wasn't always readily available. When civilizations wandered in search of sustenance and settled in areas solely because of their vitamin-rich soil and growing conditions. Life rested in the delicately balanced system of gathering and preserving, where the very survival of people depended on the creation of an organized plan for conserving precious food that was a society's lifeblood.

Throughout the early 19th century, many men and women tested various methods for maintaining the taste and nutritional value of food, all with the same unsolvable issues. And then 1858 rolled around, and a breakthrough occurred! John Landis Mason invented a glass jar that featured a detail that all others before had been in search of -- a zinc cap for the shoulder-seal jar that acted as an integral aspect for the complete preservation of the jar's contents. What seems like a minor detail now was a huge development at the time.

This day and age, the Mason jar is considered more as a heritage piece -- a decorative object that has a whole slew of uses that have little to do with the canning and pickling function from two centuries ago. Though still used by some for holding and preserving jams, spreads, vegetables and other stored foods, a trend has arisen that sees the jar in a whole new light. It can serve as an aesthetically appealing container for food storage. a creative object for entertainment purposes, a component to DIY projects and even as a glass for artistically presented beverage displays. The options are literally endless!


Mason Jars

Coming in assorted sizes and shapes, the Mason jar is the perfect bowl to present various desserts in because of its transparent quality and proportion variations. Individually sized jars are great for plating dessert, and large sizes are great for passing and sharing. Imagine a multilayered desert housed in a Mason jar that looks like it took hours to assemble because of its intricately layered and beautifully coloured presentation ( secretly took less than 15 minutes!) What would impress guests more? And of course, we can't forget about the drinks. Multilayered cocktails that, when presented in the Mason jar, exude a crafty feel that is reminiscent of cozy and colourful fall days at the country cottage. A definite addition that is a favourite at any gathering!

The smaller-sized jars are also perfect for dinner parties to hold communally shared spreads. For canapés, a variety of sized jars can be assembled together when presenting various dips to try, offering visual appeal alongside the bite-sized snacks. They can also act as the perfect gift container for desserts and treats for guests to take home and enjoy. You can decorate the jars with ribbon, rope, fabric or tags that customize them and create a personal attachment. Do-It-Yourself creations exude a homemade, caring feel that dually makes guests happy while saving money for you! These ways of incorporating the Mason jar into any get-together are great, simple methods to add some personal creativity into food and drink presentation.

Though we no longer need Mason jars for the uses they were designed for in 1858, we love playing homage to the heritage of food! Using them as quirky details when entertaining offers some fresh spirit to typical presentation methods. And one of the final greatest benefits? You get to reuse them again and again! No waste, no repeated expense. Hooray for a reusable party favour you can feel good about!