Have You Noticed That Mason Jars Are Everywhere?

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    Aug 17, 2014 2:33 PM GMT
    Eric Prum, left, and Josh Williams created the Mason Shaker, a cocktail shaker that incorporates a Mason jar.

    I recently had a cocktail called the "Porch Swing" at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle. The cocktail was served in a Mason Jar. How weird? Then I found:

    NYT: Until several years ago, the simple Mason jar was more likely to be found in the nooks of grandmothers’ pantries than on retailers’ shelves. It was salvaged from near extinction by millennials who have fetishized the jars in photographs on Instagram and Pinterest.

    Sales of Mason jar lines, Ball brand jars, have doubled since 2001.

    Though the Mason jar has become a symbol of hipness, it started as a necessity. In 1858, John Landis Mason found a way to preserve fruits, vegetables and other perishables when he devised a lid that screwed to the threaded-glass lip of a jar over a rubber ring that sealed previously boiled contents.

    “A hundred and fifty years ago, these jars meant survival,” says Douglas M. Leybourne Jr., a Mason jar expert and collector, and the author of books in a series called “The Collector’s Guide to Old Fruit Jars.” “You have a house full of people, and it’s wintertime. You couldn’t go down to the store — there wasn’t one.”

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    Aug 17, 2014 3:23 PM GMT
    Funny timing on this topic. Last week my husband bought 60 Mason/Ball jars, in addition to the many we already had on hand. But for their original canning purpose, not drinking, though I've been to bars where that's done, too.

    So first I ran them through the dishwasher, which I specifically bought to include an NSF-approved sanitizing ability, per his request. Then he fills them and puts them in batches in a huge cauldron of boiling water for an hour or so.

    Just yesterday he gave some as gifts to friends, and today one of our errands is to Office Depot, to get more printer labels for the jars. I designed a "brand" logo for him, with his name, that I print on these 2" x 4" labels to stick on the jars.

    Not very neatly, since these genuine glass Mason jars have raised lettering, that makes the labels lumpy. Though I've been considering going to a round label for the flat metal lids, except he likes the larger rectangular size with the picture of the Italian "cucina" (kitchen) I created.

    But of course we don't sell them, just done as gifts. This kind of cooking, and baking, is his hobby, that I kinda nudged him to do, partly by upgrading the inadequate electrical countertop appliances he'd been using.

    His new 16-quart food processor is a monster that devours food in a flash, and his stand mixer is as powerful as a small lawn mower, with more attachments than he's figured how to use yet. Plus he's got every other kitchen "toy" he could ever want, and more baking molds & pans than I can count, he has to store half of them in my clothes closet!

    He's so easy to buy for at Christmas - get him something from Williams-Sonoma, plus give him their gift card, and he's in Heaven. He's still using up the gift card I gave him last Christmas, waiting for just the right sale!

    This arrangement is better than preparing the big table meals with guests he formerly did (though we still sometimes have those, too). It eliminates the time pressure of having a big, formal sit-down dinner, and all the other coordination & obligations guests involve. He can do this anytime, all the time.

    He cans and bakes at his own pace, or sometimes makes a tray of lasagna or other Italian dish, and then gives it to friends. And he gets to cook on the larger scale he does best. Just doing something for the 2 of us isn't satisfying to him, and in many ways, not even practical.