As a person who was born and grew up in suburban New Jersey, Mason jars were nonexistent in our home. In my youth, my only encounters with using Mason jars were through our next door neighbors (who I thought couldn’t afford proper glassware) and at our family reunions in North Carolina. My thoughts on them were somewhat tainted because these reunions also included “local” food options that sometimes included coon (as in RACCOON), possum, and wide variety of other proteins that I did not eat and were not available at our NJ supermarket. I associated Mason jars with poor country living, road kill dining, and the (dirty) South! When my wife and I moved to Georgia, it seemed like Mason jars were in every household and that I could purchase them everywhere – from the farmer’s market to CVS. Over the last few years, I have grown to appreciate and fall in love the versatile and indestructible Mason jar. To date, we are using at least 3 dozen of them in our home. We use them to bake,as food containers, drinking glasses, art storage, and even repurposed three of them to light our dining room. Although Mason jars are typically known as “the container of the South”, I hope they can one day be fully embraced as an invaluable and irreplaceable piece of pure Americana.
A Quick History of the Mason jar
The Mason jar was invented and patented in 1858 by tinsmith John L. Mason (who ironically was born in New Jersey). After moving to New York, he filed his jar patent at the age of 26. As a tinsmith, Mason first created the standard thread cap and then the jar to go with it. The jars were an immediate success and offered a more reliable method of preserving foods which allowed homesteaders and urban populations to flourish. You will often find old jars famously embossed with “Mason’s Patent Nov 30th 1858″ even after the expiration of his patent. Because competitors produced most mason jars after his patent expired in 1879, Mason did not become wealthy and he died broke in New York City in 1902.
For some great Mason jar ideas, check out Pinterest!