When I was a kid, Mason jars comprised a large part of my family’s kitchen. My mom used them to pickle cucumbers, dill, and garlic from our garden. She followed a special family recipe that had been passed down to her by my great-grandmother. The pickles turned out perfectly… just the right amount of salt, vinegar and crunch.
When they weren’t being used for canning, the jars doubled as drinking glasses, especially when the kitchen hadn’t been cleaned in several days. I always knew a family dish washing session was coming when I saw my dad drinking water out of a Mason jar.
John Landis Mason invented the Mason jar in 1858. It was called a “shoulder-seal” jar, because it had a threaded “neck” that fit with the threads in a metal cap.
When I recently moved, I found several mason jars in the back of my cupboard. I don’t really can anything, but I do use the jars to store leftovers, and, if things get really gnarly, as drinking glasses.
I’m not going to share my great-grandmother’s pickling recipe. It’s a secret. Actually, I’m just too lazy to call my mom and ask for it. But here’s a salad dressing recipe that I make in a mason jar.
Mason Jar Dressing
½ cup olive oil
¾ seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoons maple syrup
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon (or more) freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons salt
Handful of fresh herbs, finely chopped (basil, rosemary or thyme are good for salad dressing)
Put all ingredients in a mason jar. Seal and shake. Store in the fridge (the flavor gets better after a couple days). Clean your kitchen, since you won’t have a mason jar to drink water out of.