Mason jars are all the rage right now, perhaps because there are so many ways to use them. From canning to cooking to baking and preserving, it’s almost impossible to run out of ways to use your mason jar. One of the best uses of a mason jar is to make your food look and taste way better. All you need is the right technique, and a little practice, and you can become a mason jar master in less than a week.
1. Mason Jar Water Bath Canning
Water bath canning is best used for high-acid foods, such as fruits which are high in citric acid (ie. lemon, lime) or pickled radish or cucumber. As water bath canning uses boiling water, it is important to follow the correct procedure to ensure that the canning process goes smoothly and avoid thermal shock as far as possible.
The most important step is choosing the right mason jar. When you buy a mason jar, be sure to check with the retailer that it is able to withstand heat (at least boiling water). Once you’ve selected your mason jar, remember to preheat it to prevent it from cracking during the water bath canning process. After the process is complete, always leave the mason jars to cool for at least 5 minutes, once again to minimise the chances of thermal shock.
Once the mason jar is sealed, typically after being left for a day, check that it is airtight by pressing down on the lid. The lid should not flex up and down when centre is pressed, and should not be able to be pried off. If unsealed, your mason jar should be immediately re-canned or refrigerated.
Amateurs who have never canned before should start by trying water bath canning as there is lower risk involved. Be sure to check that the food you are canning is a high-acid food as low-acid foods present other risks which we shall cover later.
2. Pressure Canning
Low-acid foods must be heat processed at a temperature of 116°C to eliminate the risk of spoilage caused by toxic bacteria. Pressure canning is the only way to fresh preserve low-acid foods such as vegetables, meat, stocks and soup.
The same rules of preheating and cooling apply for both pressure and water bath canning. Canning your food is a very efficient way of preserving them for future consumption, and if you get it right, this process can bring out the flavour in your food, especially meats.
3. Serving Food in Mason Jars
What’s better than having cereal and milk for breakfast? Of course – have it served in a mason jar. Almost anything can be served in a mason jar. In fact, cakes that are baked and look especially tasty in these jars as every layer of cream and cake is visible through the glass.
Other kinds of food that can be enjoyed in a mason jar include Greek yoghurt parfait, ice cream, fresh stewed fruits and zabaglione cake. All of these foods are easy to prepare, but the most important part is the presentation – be sure to get it right.
4. Other Ways to Use Them
There are many more ways to use mason jars. They can be placed in your living as ornaments, adorned with fairy lights, or used in your kitchen as salt and pepper shakers. The best thing about mason jars is that it leaves a lot to your own imagination, so let your imagination run wild!