The Best Mason Jars

Whether you’re pickling, preserving, or simply storing, the mason jar remains a perfect container option.

There aren’t all that many products that haven’t been improved upon in over 150 years. The mason jar (technically Mason jar, as it’s named after its creator, John Landis Mason) is one of those few. Patented way back in 1858, the mason jar includes a screw thread right on the top of the glass, enabling an airtight seal.

That seal makes it anaerobic, not allowing in any nasty bacteria or fungi from the outside world. And the fact that it’s made of glass makes it non-porous, unlike plastic, so it’ll never stain. In recent years, the mason jar has been used for more than just preserves; there was a stretch where it seemed like every bar served their drinks in one. But even apart from trendiness, the mason jar is just so useful that it should be a part of every household.

Just Right

This simple—but effective—product comes with a two-part screwtop for maximum airtightness. Ball

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Because they’re so inexpensive and create a tight seal, mason jars are also great for storage of dry goods. If you opt for a large size, they’re great for storing dried beans, rice, pasta, flour and sugar; in a smaller size, they’re great for spices. But they are clear glass, so keep them out of the sunlight, because excess sun can make some foods spoil faster.

Set of Four or Eight

The larger opening on this one makes it great for pickles and preserves. Ball

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A great thing about Ball mason jars is that there are just a few standardized mouth sizes, which means all kinds of companies have created different tops that can turn the jars into several different products. You can easily turn a regular mason jar into a water bottle, soap dispenser, baby bottle and much more.

Compact Size

Product caption: Slightly smaller than the standard model, these are perfect for stuff you don’t have a ton of, like homemade fruit compote or spices. FRUITEAM

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While they’re generally multifunctional, mason jars are not, however, perfect for all uses. They generally aren’t oven-safe; the only glass that really is would be the borosilicate type used by brands like Pyrex. They are microwave safe, but the lids, made of metal, aren’t. But those weaknesses pale in comparison to all the uses you’ll find for these jars.