When is a jar more than jar? When it looks like a Mason jar. I came across an article in the Summer 2019 edition of Azalea magazine. The vessel was invented and patented in 1858 by John Mason who would die broke because his competitors produced them after his patent ran out.

A lot of people collect antique canning jars. Rare versions can fetch up to $300 but a cobalt blue Mason jar can sell for up to $15,000. That’s right. We’re talking big money for a dark blue jar.

Mason jars were once used as mousetraps. You can watch a video demonstration of an antique Ball canning jar in use that is on display at the Smithsonian Museum. No mice were hurt during the demo.

We all know that Mason jars are used for canning but lately it’s become a vessel for adult liquid refreshment. They even make the tops with holes so a straw can fit inside. Ya’ll ain’t got nothin’ on us.  We southern folks been sippin’ from the pint-sized glassware forever.

When we’re not enjoying a toast to a day without mosquitoes, we’re making use of the jar as a light source. And we can get creative. You can simply drop a tea light in it or wrap wire around the top and hang from the trees. The clear jars filled with lights are perfect for evening parties and the colored glass varieties can be used to coordinate with a theme. Of course they can be used as salt and pepper shakers, pencil holders, reusable soap dispensers, a vase for flowers and even as a bell jar for protecting young plants. And no doubt they’re used to catch and view the twinkle of summer’s fleeting insect, the firefly.

Have you seen chandeliers made with Mason jars? Talk about the ultimate redneck Boujee decor. I have pendant lights in my kitchen that aren’t true canning jars; rather they resemble them - so that means I’m not French rich.  And if you’re really into everything Mason jar, there’s a restaurant in Charleston named - you got it - The Mason Jar by Fatboys. I’ve heard it’s good.

I read where a woman makes homemade kombucha in Mason jars. Kombucha, I’m told, tastes something like vinegary tea - I suppose because it’s made with tea - and culture - and - bacteria. I like a lot of stuff but I think I’ll pass on that one. My earliest memory of canning is of my mom. I have jars of spiced pears she canned. The pears are floating in green and red dye. The label is hand written by her and dated 1974. I won’t eat them but I don’t plan on ever throwing them out.

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