Are Mason Jars Dated?

Mason jars are glass jars used for home canning and food preservation. They were invented in the mid-1800s by John Landis Mason, a tinsmith in New York. Mason patented the design for the jars in 1858 (1). The jars have a screw-on metal lid and rubber seal, allowing air-tight storage and sterilization through boiling water bath canning. This makes them ideal for preserving fruits, vegetables, jams, pickles, and other foods. Mason jars grew in popularity through the late 1800s and early 1900s as home canning became more widespread, especially in rural America. They continue to be commonly used today by home cooks, gardeners, DIY enthusiasts, and others looking for an inexpensive way to preserve and store food.

Popularity Over Time

Mason jars first gained popularity in the late 1800s when John L. Mason patented the threaded screw-top lid in 1858. This created an airtight seal that allowed people to can and preserve fruits, vegetables, jams, jellies, and sauces at home. Mason jars became a kitchen staple through the early 1900s when home canning was common. They were most popular during World War I and World War II when rationing and Victory Gardens made home food preservation a patriotic duty.[1]

The popularity of Mason jars declined in the 1950s and 1960s as refrigeration and commercially canned foods became more common in households. However, they saw a resurgence starting in the 1990s and 2000s, becoming trendy and nostalgic. Mason jars were repurposed for homemade gifts like jams, drinks, and crafts. Their vintage look made them popular for weddings, decor, and DIY projects. Today, the antique, reusable quality of Mason jars has made them an icon of sustainability and hipster culture.[2]



Mason jars have been used for canning and preserving food since they were first invented in the late 1800s. The airtight seal created by the lid allows food to be stored for long periods of time. Some common foods that are canned in mason jars include fruits, vegetables, jams, jellies, pickles, and sauces.

In recent years, mason jars have also become popular for crafts and decor. Their vintage look fits in well with many decorating styles like rustic, farmhouse, and shabby chic. Mason jars are often upcycled into drinking glasses, vases, candle holders, and more. They can be decorated with paint, fabric, ribbons, lace, and other embellishments.

For gifts and favors, small jars are filled with baked goods, soup mixes, bath salts, candles, and other homemade items. Larger jars work well for storing dry ingredients like flour, sugar, coffee, tea, and snacks. Overall, the versatility and old-fashioned charm of mason jars make them useful for a wide variety of purposes.


Mason jars have several advantages that make them a popular choice for home use. First, mason jars are reusable. The glass jars and lids can be used over and over again for storage or craft projects. Unlike some plastic containers or storage bags, mason jars do not degrade with multiple uses. As long as the jars are properly cared for, they can last for many years.

Another major advantage is that mason jars are versatile. Their classic design works for a wide variety of tasks. Mason jars can be used for canning, storing dry goods, freezing foods, housing DIY projects, displaying decor items, drinking beverages, and more. Their versatility makes them a useful item to have around the home.

Finally, mason jars are typically inexpensive, especially when purchased in bundles. While some decorative or specialty jars may cost more, standard mason jars are affordable for most households. Given their durability and versatility, mason jars can be a cost-effective solution for long-term use. Their low cost makes it easy to acquire mason jars in various sizes to suit different needs.

mason jars are typically inexpensive and reusable.



While mason jars have many benefits, they also come with some downsides. One of the main disadvantages is that regular mason jars are not microwave safe. Heating them in the microwave can cause the glass to crack or shatter, posing a safety risk ( This is because mason jars were not designed to withstand rapid temperature changes. To heat food in a mason jar, it’s better to use a water bath method on the stovetop.

Additionally, mason jars are made of glass so they can break if dropped or handled roughly. Canning jars are meant to be carefully handled when hot during the canning process. Compared to plastic food storage containers, glass mason jars are much more fragile. So they require extra care when used for everyday storage, especially when transporting meals or snacks in a mason jar on-the-go.


While Mason jars have long been a popular choice for preserving and storing foods, many other types of glass jars can also be used. Two popular alternatives are Weck jars and swing-top jars.

Weck jars are made in Germany and feature glass lids with rubber seals that clamp down, creating an airtight seal. The sealing clamps come in various sizes and colors, allowing you to customize the look. Weck jars can be used for canning, storing dry goods, fermenting foods, and as serving dishes. They have a long history but remain a stylish and functional option today.1

Swing-top jars also seal with a wire clamp and rubber gasket to keep air out. They have a classic apothecary jar look. Swing-tops are available in a range of sizes and shapes, like round or rectangular. They can be reused many times if properly cared for. Swing-top jars work well for canning, storing spices, displaying cotton balls in a bathroom, or giving gifts of baked goods or other homemade items.

Decor Trends

Mason jars have become a staple in several popular home decor styles over the years. Here are some of the top decor trends that incorporate mason jars:

Shabby Chic

The shabby chic style is all about creating a relaxed, worn-in look in your home. Mason jars fit right in with this look, as their aged glass and rustic lids help create that vintage feel. Shabby chic styles may incorporate mason jars as vases, drinking glasses, storage containers, or candle holders.


Rustic decor relies on natural elements like wood, burlap, and aged items. Mason jars are the perfect way to bring that rustic vibe into your home. They pair nicely with other farmhouse accents and can be used as flower vases, drinkware, organization solutions, and more. Their imperfect, old-fashioned look is right at home in a rustic setting.


Even the clean, simple lines of minimalism can benefit from the understated charm of mason jars. Their rounded shape and transparent glass help reduce visual clutter. Groups of mason jars filled with everyday items can add just the right amount of interest to a minimalist space. Their versatility also allows them to blend seamlessly into a minimalist kitchen or bathroom.


One of the key reasons Mason jars have remained popular over time is their reusability and recyclability. Mason jars are made of glass and metal lid parts that are durable and can be used again and again if cared for properly. According to Treehugger, Mason jars are often portrayed as a sustainable option for food storage. While they may not be the most sustainable choice available today, their reusability is a major advantage over single-use plastics and disposable storage containers.

Mason jars’ glass material means they can be recycled once they are fully spent. However, their durability means they often enjoy long lifespans being reused rather than discarded. With proper care, regular sealing lid replacement when needed, and avoiding extreme temperature changes that could crack the glass, Mason jars can serve a household for many years if not decades. This reusability offsets some of the environmental impact of producing new jars. When it comes time to recycle, the glass and metal lid components can be recycled separately.

Though not the greenest option available today, the reusable and recyclable nature of Mason jars makes them one of the more sustainable and environmentally-friendly food storage container choices. Their versatility, as well as nostalgic and aesthetic appeal, will likely continue making them a popular pick for years to come.

Modern Uses

Mason jars continue to be popular in kitchens today. They are frequently used for meal prep, storing ingredients, and even cooking. Some modern ways to utilize mason jars include:

Meal Prep: Mason jars are the perfect size for portioning out ingredients for salads, overnight oats, and other meals. Layer the ingredients in the jar for easy grab-and-go options. Some recipes, like egg scrambles or mini casseroles, can even be cooked right in the jar. These make meal prep quick and convenient.

Bathrooms: Wide-mouth mason jars work well for holding cotton balls, Q-tips, and other small bathroom essentials. Narrow jars can dispense liquids like soap or lotion. Jars add organization while providing a cute, vintage accent to the space.

Wedding Décor: Mason jars have become a staple for rustic, vintage, or farmhouse style weddings. They are used as vases, drinkware, and for food display. Lights can be strung in the jars for a whimsical look. Their versatility and inexpensive price point make mason jars a budget-friendly decorative element.

In addition to these uses, mason jars are handy for storing dry goods, housing DIY projects, displaying flowers, and more. Their durability and variety of sizes ensure they will continue to be a kitchen staple for years to come.


60 Uses For Mason Jars


In summary, while Mason jars have certainly been around for a long time and their popularity has fluctuated, they are far from being considered dated. Their versatility, ability to be repurposed, and alignment with modern trends towards sustainability and DIY culture ensure that Mason jars maintain their relevance today. While some may see them as old-fashioned, Mason jars continue to be appreciated for their classic and nostalgic charm. Their endurance is a testament to their practicality. Rather than pigeonholing Mason jars as dated, it may be better to view them as a timeless staple that has earned their place as an iconic American kitchen and home item.

Similar Posts