National Mason Jar Day
When is National Mason Jar Day? This holiday is always observed on November 30
Today is National Mason Jar Day. This November 30 holiday exists to give recognition to, and to celebrate, the invention of mason jars. While everyone can celebrate the mason jar, home gardeners find them invaluable for canning the fruits and vegetables of their labor. A second use for mason jars is in making gifts for giving during the holiday season. This holiday is to recognize and promote using mason jars as gifts.
Did You Know? While they are generically called “canning jars”, most people refer to them as “Mason jars”.
The History of Mason Jars for Canning Food
Food storage and food safety have always been a vitally essential issue. In ancient history, Man hunted and foraged for food. Whatever was available, had to be consumed either right away, or shortly after. Only a few vegetables and fruits could be saved for longer than a few days. Even then, those fruits and vegetables had a very short storage life of a few weeks to maybe a few months. Eventually, Man discovered ways to preserve some foods. This includes drying and salting meats and drying fruits and vegetables. This significantly extended the shelf life of many foods, but the taste and texture weren’t ideal.
On November 30, 1858, John Landis Mason received U.S. Patent # 22186 for the Mason jar and revolutionized the world of food safety and storage. The mason jar patent was for a square-shouldered glass jar with a matching lid, rubber ring, and screw top. In addition, the Mason jar is reusable. Needless to say, the mason jar became widely popular with home gardeners. Over the years, it became available in pint, quart, and half-gallon sizes. The quart size has always been the most popular. The Ball Corporation became the leading manufacturer of canning jars.
The popularity of Mason jars peaked during World War II. At the time, the federal government encouraged people to grow some of their own food as a way to preserve valuable resources. It allowed additional labor and resources to be directed to the war effort. After the war, the invention of the refrigerator allowed for easy storage of foods, avoiding the time-consuming canning process. However, canning continues to be popular with home gardeners.
Evolving Uses for Mason Jars
John Landis Mason’s original invention was intended for use in canning fruits and vegetables. They significantly and safely extend the storage life for these foods. For over a hundred and fifty years, that’s exactly how they were used. It served this purpose exceedingly well. With the arrival of refrigerators, and people moving into cities, home canning slowly declined. As people stopped using them as canning jars, they accumulated in people’s storage areas or were donated. These donated jars found little demand.
Over the past ten or twenty years, and perhaps longer, people began to find alternative uses for Mason jars. Some of these alternatives uses now include:
- Use them as drinking glasses. This has caught in bars, breweries, and in the home.
- Fill a mason jar with the dry recipe ingredients for cakes, cookies, or brownies. Adorn them with seasonal decorations and give them away as gifts. Or, sell them in stores.
- Schools and youth groups use them in seasonal art projects. The kids bring the decorated jar home to their parents or other relatives.
- Crafters are extremely creative and find countless ways to create works of art with mason jars.
Did You Know? Most canning jars are made of clear glass. For a while, blue mason jars were manufactured. Check your attic and basement for the blue jars, as the old ones are valuable. Zinc lids were also made for a while.
How to Celebrate National Mason Jar Day
Make a holiday gift using mason jars. You are only limited by your imagination. Here are some ideas of what you can make:
- Use both quart and pint-size jars to make decorations. Decorate the outside. Add winter scenes on the inside.
- Mugs and wine glasses. Add decorations.
- Fill a mason jar with the dry ingredients for making a cake, cookies or muffins. Type the instructions on a small card and include it inside. Decorate the outside. Attach kitchen tools like a spatula on the outside, too.
“A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.” – – Aesop
History and Origin of National Mason Jar Day
This holiday was created in 2017 by Misty Campbell-Olbert. Misty is also the founder of “Unbox the Bizarre”, a maker of gift boxes for a wide variety of holidays and events. As you can imagine, Misty promotes the alternative uses of Mason jars, for uses other than canning foods.
Mason jars revolutionized and vastly improved the world of food storage. As a result, it certainly makes sense to have a special holiday to recognize the importance of canning jars.
The canning season is over by mid to late Autumn. One would think the canning season is a better time to celebrate mason jars. However, Cambell-Olbert chose this date as she is promoting their use as holiday gifts. And, many of them are used in this way.
This relatively new special day is called a “National” day. However, we did not find a congressional or presidential proclamation making this day a true national day.
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