Over the past 10 years or so, it’s become incredibly "cute" to serve everything in a mason jar. Cocktails! And yogurt parfaits! And chia seed pudding! And scrambled eggs! I get it, I guess. It’s quaint and folksy in a Blake Lively’s-lifestyle-website kind of way. But the romanticizing of reusing and recycling jars strikes me as a bit strange, because people have been doing that out of necessity for, I don’t know, at least a century? In college, my friends and I reused jars (for drinking glasses, in lieu of Tupperware, for displaying a bouquet) constantly. We didn’t want to unnecessarily spend money on things like wine glasses or food storage containers or vases; that seemed far too grown up and pricey and permanent for our college lives. So instead of recycling jars when we scraped out the last of the jam, we gave them a rinse, and put them back in the cupboard, ready for their next roles.
I’m very much out of college now. I have my own wine glasses and Tupperware and even a couple vases. But the jar hoarding continues. My shelves hold jars of all shapes—tall and skinny Ball jars in a jewel-like blue, a squat gold-topped jar that once held capers—but my very favorite ones are the same ones I held onto in undergrad: Bonne Maman jam jars.
You know them: they have a lid that looks like a picnic blanket, the cursive logo on the glass you can read with your thumb, and the simple black and white label. It’s about four inches tall with no swoops or curves and a sturdy base. It’s the platonic ideal of a reusable jar. And so reuse them I do.
In the past week I have used a Bonne Maman jar to hold onto a one-person portion of chickpea salad, to shake up a vinaigrette, to pickle some radishes, and to magically peel a hardboiled egg. I've also handed one to a friend for a glass of water, and grabbed one to use for olive pits at a party. I can attest to the jar being the perfect width for dunking cookies in milk. You can store nuts and dried fruit in them for easy oatmeal topping access. It's not too big and it's not too small. It isn't so deep or so slim you can't stick your fingers in to grab an almond, and it isn't so shallow or so wide you can't drink a negroni out of it.
Sure, recycling jam jars is good. Do that. But having jam jars to reuse for literally everything? That's better.