Mason Jars Become Hip!

Mason Jars Become Hip!

Sounds silly, but I can’t think of anything more versatile than a Mason jar.

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Growing up in Kentucky we used them to catch lightning bugs. I’ll never forget retreating into the cool dirt cellar at Grandma’s just to look at shelf after shelf chock full of Mason jars filled with colorful fruits and vegetables. You probably don’t know this about me, but I actually invented “liquid” soap when I was only seven years old, by taking all the little bits of leftover bar soap, covering them with water and storing them in what else but an old-fashioned Mason jar!

Over the years my fondness has continued for the versatile jar using it for everything from collecting buttons to displaying fresh picked flowers from the yard. A couple of years ago a friend and I spent a day in my commercial kitchen, working together and actually canned more than 150 jars of assorted fruit jams!

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Anyone who has visited our company warehouse might suspect I have a serious Mason jar hoarding problem. We have boxes and boxes of all shapes and sizes so when the staff suggests perhaps culling the collection, I scream a resounding “no!” because finally the rest of the world has caught on to the beauty and fantastic utility of the once lowly Mason jar. It’s embarrassing to admit, but a couple of months ago I spent more than $15 at the Alameda Point Antiques Fair for one exceptionally attractive old jar. There’s no accounting for true love!

So I’ll pose the question to you …is there anything better than a Mason jar? Well maybe a Mason jar and a summer party. When I think of summer parties, I see simple, relaxed and casual events. Here are some great ways to incorporate the incredible jar at your summer party.

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Try making cakes or cheesecakes in your Mason jars for cute individual desserts. Fill half way and leave room for fresh berries or whipped cream. Fresh fruit jar pies are another favorite as well as Boston cream pie and pumpkin pie. The wide mouth jars are perfect for layered salads. Be sure to always put the salad dressing on the bottom to avoid wilting the other ingredients. If food’s not your thing, then arrange your buffet silverware in the taller jars.

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Mason jars also make great party lights. A little sand and a votive candle and you’ve got a luminaria. You can easily create a Pottery Barn favorite by wrapping wire around the neck of the jar for an instant hanging party light. Another lighting favorite is the Mason jar oil lamp. All you need is a jar with a lid, a cotton wick and some lamp oil. My Mom used an old shoe lace for the wick!

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If a Mason jar vase is a little plain for you, the jars look fabulous painted. The internet is filled with tutorials on how to paint a Mason jar, but one of the coolest ways used glow in the dark paint! Super special for parties. And don’t get me started on what you can do with chalkboard paint and a Mason jar!

Mason jars also make great party favors filled with cookie, cake or muffin ingredients and a recipe attached. Jams are also a favorite. Several summers ago my organic garden was overflowing with basil so I made pesto, poured it in the smallest Mason jars and gave each of my party guests a small bag of dried pasta attached with twine to the jar lid.

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Another clever party trick is to invert a paper cupcake liner over the open lid of the jar, screw on the ring and poke a hole for your straw. Keeps the bugs out if you leave your drink unattended for a while. And speaking of drinks….you won’t set this one down. My favorite summer beverage is Spiked Basil Lemonade.  Check out our recipe in our newsletter. You can sign up by contacting info@perfecttastecatering.com.  Please put the word “newsletter” in the subject line.  We’ve created homespun displays with the oversized jar (to the right) and Mason jars with handles (below). Guess who has dozens of those in the warehouse? Yes, we do!! Just waiting for your event!

What are some of your favorite party ideas using Mason jars? Please share with us on our Facebook page. Stay cool and enjoy this fantastic weather!