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our new house :: mason jar pantry

August 16, 2010

I’m taking a little break from unpacking and organizing our new house to show you what I’ve been up to in our kitchen.  Our kitchen is almost done and when it is, I’ll be sure to take some pictures and show you the end result.

My most recent kitchen project has been assembling our new pantry.

I love mason jars.  I always have.  We use them as drinking glasses and I have always enjoyed using them to store various things, pantry items being one of them.

With our new kitchen, I wanted to do something a little different with the pantry.  Our previous pantry wasn’t very conducive to a food storage system like this, but since our new pantry has drawers that roll out, it made storing food in mason jars very easy- and fun!

I didn’t use small sized mason jars, I used the bigger, quart-sized ones.  I wanted to use these jars to store the ingredients that I use often, but not in massive quantities (like different kinds of flours and sugars).  I’m using another similar system for bigger pantry items like longer pasta noodles and cereal, etc.

So far, I have stored the following in our mason jars:

  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • White chocolate chips
  • Dried cranberries
  • Oatmeal
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Pine nuts
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Coconut
  • Cocoa
  • Basmati rice
  • Brown rice
  • Wild rice
  • Chai
  • Macaroni
  • Quinoa
  • Couscous
  • Granola

A couple of reasons why I love this system:

  • It keeps our food fresh.  Too often, we have had to throw food out because a box was left open or the bag wasn’t sealed tight enough.  I think we will waste less food this way.
  • I really don’t like cluttered and disorganized kitchen cabinets- it makes my brain foggy when I try to meal plan.  Having our food in clear, clean, and organized containers helps me to maintain an organized and clean kitchen.
  • I love the way it looks.  Cooking is much funner when I enjoy the kitchen I’m working in!
  • I can buy all of the ingredients I need at the bulk stations at our grocery store or local co-op, in the exact amount that I need!  Therefore, I am cutting down on wasting a lot of food and money.  Also, it cuts down on accumulating a lot of trash- which means we don’t have to take it out as often, always a plus in my book.
  • One of my pet peeves is discovering that I am completely out of an ingredient for the recipe I am using while cooking.  Using mason jars always lets me know how low I am on my supply of ingredients.  Super helpful for planning my grocery list.
  • Mason jars are fairly inexpensive.  I bought mine on sale, actually. They last forever and are much cheaper than the glass containers I considered buying at Target.

Have any kitchen organization tips or recommendations for me?  I welcome any advice that has worked well for you…

39 Comments leave one →
  1. allison Lyles permalink
    August 17, 2010 7:05 am

    So excited for your new house! The pics look gorgeous!!! With my numerous accidents in the kitchen, might I suggest a pad on the floor to prevent broken glass if anything ever fell down.

    That was my planters peanuts experience a couple of weeks ago…peanuts and glass, peanuts and glass…

    I’m sure it is going to be great!!!

    Love, love you!

    • janice harney permalink
      February 1, 2021 12:34 pm

      Do you just open up the Noodles box and pour in to jar and nuts too. .How long will it keep in jars .

  2. Andie permalink
    August 17, 2010 7:09 am

    If you want gallon sized mason jars for your flour and sugar, I’m getting some from Azure Standard (it’s a bulk and natural/organic food company in Oregon). They are around $4. (1/3 of what they cost at Target).

  3. therigneys permalink*
    August 17, 2010 7:42 am

    Allison, good idea! However, you have always been more clumsy than me! Ha! You know I’m kidding. I think I’m the only one who can rival you in tripping!

    Andie, Thanks so much for the offer! Wow- I wish I would have known about this earlier. I actually already bought gallon sized ones for my flours and sugars, I am storing them on my kitchen counter. Do you buy other things in bulk from Azure Standard?

  4. August 17, 2010 10:06 am

    do you know what would ROCK? custom round labels for the tops of the jars that tell you the contents. i can see it now…little illustrations of walnuts, rice, etc…so cute.

  5. August 17, 2010 10:54 am

    Danielle, Yes! I’ve been thinking the same thing myself! I have a couple of free downloadable (is that a word?) of graphics for this sort of thing off of a craft blog I follow, they are really cute- so I might try that!

  6. August 17, 2010 11:18 am

    Love this! I can’t wait to see your other ideas for organizing and decorating as you settle in. What’s your plan for spices? We installed a bunch of spice racks on the back of our pantry door and I LOVE being able to see them all and having them arranged alphabetically.

    This isn’t exactly an organization tip, but here’s a cute kitchen idea I’d like to make:

  7. August 17, 2010 7:48 pm

    I’m definitely more interested in your ideas for organization than mine! We Tabbs are pretty classy — we use plastic bags to store stuff like that. Not only are they see through, but you can jam them into small spaces without breaking anything. 😉

    I’m SO excited to see your home once you’re all moved in!

  8. Sarah Rogers permalink
    August 20, 2010 9:10 am

    that looks so cool! we have drawers like that under our cabinets, but not in our pantry. that’s a really good idea! i love being organized and consistent with things so that looks so cool to me!

  9. August 20, 2010 5:17 pm

    Looks nice! When I get a new kitchen, I want to put all my spices in matching jars in a neat cupboard or drawer. Someday…

    • LilyAnne's closet permalink
      November 30, 2017 5:54 pm

      Plastic Parmesan cheese lids also fit on these jars, that makes it easy for flour, sugar and spices.

      • Susie Lee Powell permalink
        August 8, 2019 1:55 pm

        Yes they do.I have one now on a pint mason jar with seasoned salt.

  10. August 20, 2010 5:21 pm

    Oh, tell me more about Azure Standard! (I don’t have your email, Andie.) My mom used to order from there when we lived in Montana, and the guy would drive through our area with his truck every few months, and we’d meet him at the tractor dealership:). I’d be interested in ordering. I can taste the fruit leather now!

  11. Jenn A permalink
    August 21, 2010 5:08 pm

    Love the kitchen organization – very “Jenny” looking! I wish I had a spot where I could do something like that! Our house definitely needs a new kitchen!

  12. September 7, 2010 9:39 am

    Hi there,

    I did buy some of this canister/jars but i dont know how to put the lid together. can you please help me?

  13. Jeana permalink
    September 8, 2010 1:58 pm

    I stumbled across your page when i was looking for cute ideas for weddings with mason jars.. and i have to say, after looking at the pics of your kitchen i’m completely jealous!!

    someday i’ll have a remodeled kitchen, and i’ll probably copy you idea. i love buying food in bulk so there’s no waste, but in my containers i actually have to open them up to see how much i have… Mason jars would be so much better!

  14. Stefanie permalink
    February 13, 2012 11:53 am

    I’m doing this right now. However, instead of custom labels I am going to paint the lid in chalkboard paint. That way i can easily change the label if the contents change in the jar.

    • Susie Lee Powell permalink
      August 8, 2019 1:57 pm

      I never thought about chalkboard paint. it would be eay to write on. Right now I use a paint pen. They come in a variety of colors

  15. March 23, 2012 3:35 pm

    TOO FUNNY! I just did this two weeks ago in my pantry, and used chalkboard paint on the lids. I love it! I found you via pinterest 🙂 Love your blog!

  16. Susan permalink
    August 20, 2012 5:02 pm

    Beware, the metal lids will make your various nuts go rancid very fast. Switch to the plastic mason jar lids for nuts. (It has something to do with the metal vs. natural nut oils/fat)

  17. jen permalink
    December 31, 2012 1:24 pm

    Silly question…do you just store items for short term or do you/can you seal them for long term? Then once open, do you reseal them? I love the idea of the mason jar (I too use them for drinks/coffee using the Cuppow). I would love to get rid of all my plastic storage containers.

    • Nancy permalink
      October 2, 2015 7:32 pm

      If you have something that you do not plan to use in a while you can 1. vacuum seal with attachment on bag sealers, 2. oven canning, seals by heated jar activating gasket, and 3. just by using the glass jars with tight lids the food is safer from getting stale, bugs, etc and you don’t really need to “SEAL” jars. I tossed all my plastic Tupperware because they lose their tight seal after a couple years and bugs find a way in. Freeze or oven sterilize dry foods that have been in questionable packaging, then you know everything is good to go glass. Nuts are always better in the freezer.

    • dacestitchery permalink
      July 24, 2016 7:29 am

      If you have something like a foodsaver with the canister hose you can but the jar sealing attachment. I absolutely love mine! Takes all the air out so everything stays fresh!

  18. Silvia permalink
    February 8, 2013 11:46 am

    Great idea love it, going home and doing this today! @ Susan can you just put plastic wrap on the lid for the nuts?

  19. February 8, 2013 8:31 pm


  20. Renee permalink
    February 20, 2013 3:25 pm

    I use the white ball screw on lids. (plastic storage caps) I save the other lids for when I want to seal with my food- savor.

    • Nancy permalink
      October 2, 2015 7:23 pm

      I found (with brown sugar) that the white ones do not seal as tight. But if you like the look put a gasket lid inside and use the white lid instead of a jar ring.

  21. April 11, 2013 10:22 am

    Awesome Blog! I re-blogged you in a post today. Thanks for the wonderful idea!

    -Trashy Girl

  22. Nancy permalink
    October 2, 2015 7:21 pm

    I use 1/2 gallon jars in my pantry, that way if I need to replace a lid standard wide mouth works. I got mine at Ace Hardware. This size is easier for me to open with arthritis. For taller or larger quantities I use Large pickle jars.

  23. Michele permalink
    November 15, 2015 3:04 pm

    Lovely post, almost an ode to a Mason Jar. I am with you on the Mason jar use – I love the clean lines and the fact they aren’t plastic. I need to use them more in the pantry, I love the tidy, zenlike look they have. Thank you for the list of pantry items – now I don’t have to re-invent the wheel.

  24. carol permalink
    December 4, 2015 3:57 pm

    The vacuum sealer works great. I repackage coffee, nuts, etc. in quart jars and vacuum seal. Lasts for months maybe longer.

  25. Glenna permalink
    February 29, 2016 12:41 pm

    Love mason jar storage. How deep are your shelves?

  26. Pepper permalink
    February 14, 2017 3:54 pm

    If I were you I would spray the inside of the lid with a spray blackboard paint and then use a white chalk marker to write what is in each jar… I would probably also paint the rim in a pretty colour

  27. Kay Mitchell permalink
    April 9, 2018 7:05 pm

    Buy a vacume sealer and u can seal your jars also. That way the contents will last a very long time as well!

  28. Gina permalink
    April 22, 2018 4:08 pm

    How do you store the leftovers? Because you can buy somethings in smaller quantities, but items like rice and popcorn will be more than will fit in the jars.

  29. Gina permalink
    May 7, 2018 8:23 pm

    Did you dry can or air seal your jars?

  30. Shelley Gravenstine permalink
    May 18, 2018 4:51 am

    We live in the country and had mice trying to over winter with us… mason jars are also mouse proof!

  31. Eileen permalink
    May 31, 2020 2:56 am

    I also use mason jars in my pantry. Lately, I have been discovering other sizes for items I keep in bulk. I especially love the gallon and half gallon sizes!

  32. Charlie Archer permalink
    March 10, 2021 2:12 am

    Consider getting a vacuum sealer for your canning jars and vacuum seal the produce in the jars, increases shelf life and stops bug development exponentially.

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