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This post could also be titled “Best Laid Plans.”

I was lucky enough to recently be invited to a canning class, which took place at the non-profit where I used to work. We made the most incredible peach jam I have ever tasted.

I had planned to take a series of photos of the class to share with you all on the blog. That didn’t exactly happen. Best laid plans. Sometimes you have to decide whether you want to have fun and live in the moment or if you want to stand in the background and document everything. I chose the former, and I can’t say I regret it – I had so much fun! Here are a couple of the pictures I managed to snap, as well as the recipe for the best-peach-jam-I-have-ever-tasted. Enjoy!

Peach Jam recipe: 4 cups finely chopped peaches (peeled) juice and zest of 1 lemon 1 package pectin 5.5 cups of sugar

Bring fruit, lemon, and pectin to a boil, stir in sugar all at once. Bring back to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Pour mixture into prepared mason jars, seal and process in a water bath canner to preserve.

My son and his new friend, Mary:

Some of the crew (and the teacher) working hard:

Some of us thought knitting was a little more fun than making jam:

Oh, boy, do we LOVE our friends, fans and customers! Our Instagram friend Denise recently provided us with this fabulous Mason jar pickle recipe, and we had to share! I picked up some cucumbers this morning at our neighborhood farm stand (yes, Denver still has little farms scattered here and there!) and they have these recipes written all over them! OK, take it away, Denise!

Here are two different recipes. The quick pickle one I usually use the smallest number on the mandolin, so they are pretty paper thin pieces. And they are *super* vinegar-ey…so that’s up to you if you add more sugar. I’ll just give you the basics. I usually let them sit in a bowl for 30 minutes, and then I put them in a small mason jar. They are good for a week or more, though ours don’t last. These I do because my other recipe takes 24 hours before they are good. If we are doing burgers, or something that like that last minute – they are good to do quickly. And, well, I just love pickles.

The other recipe is Ah-mazing. You can slice them however you’d like, but we like the 2nd number on the mandolin. We’ve also done spears, but for some reason my kids prefer the slices better.

Also – make them as hot as you’d like. I add cut jalapenos and serranos to nearly every jar, or just sliced super thin over the quick pickles.

I hope you like them!

Quick pickles: 2 jalapenos, thinly sliced 2 kirby or 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced 2 cups white vinegar 1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste) ½- 1 tsp red chili flakes 1 tsp dill seed (I’ve also used fennel seed) 1 tsp coriander

Combine everything except the jalapenos and cucumber in a small pot and bring to a boil. Pour over prepared veggies. Allow to sit until liquid is room temperature. Drain and serve. (Don’t store in the liquid…or in much of the liquid – because they get REALLY tart.)

24 hour pickles: This recipe is for 1 quart jar – but I do as many as I have pickles for. So I cut the cucumbers all up – pack them tight in the jars, and go from there. The recipe is for just 1 jar.

As many cucs as you can fit in the jar 5 sprigs of fresh dill, or 1 TBSP dry dill 2-4 cloves of garlic, chopped 3 TBSP white vinegar 1 TBSP kosher salt Distilled or filtered water – enough to top off the jar 10-20 black peppercorns ¼- ½ tsp red pepper flake ½ – 1 tsp dill seed ½ 1 tsp mustard seed

Put 3 Tablespoons of vinegar in the bottom of each jar. Add the spices – and fill the jar as tight as you can with the cucumbers, dill, garlic and sliced or whole peppers (if you want them spicy). Once everything is in the jar, fill to the very top with distilled or filtered water, and screw the lid on super tight. Shake the jar to distribute the flavors, and leave on your countertop for 12 hours. Shake again, and turn the jar upside down for another 12 hours (make sure the lids are good and tight). After they have sat for 24 hours, shake them up one more time really well, and store in refrigerator. You can eat them right away – but they are better chilled. These are best eaten in the first 24 hours.

We now carry more than 100 accessories to turn your everyday Mason jars into something awesome! Click here to check out our shop and all our fun new arrivals! 🙂 You won’t believe what you can do with a Mason jar!

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Hi Friends! We’ve posted before about the Ball Heritage collection (the limited re-issue of blue, green, and purple Ball jars) and received so much excitement from our readers. But, unfortunately, we didn’t have a source for the green jars. Well, friends, have we got some great news: look no further than Ace Hardware! Not only do they have green heritage jars, but they are ON SALE! Oh, oh, and not only that, but you can order them online and have them shipped to your local Ace Hardware for FREE store pick-up! Because they are an online exclusive, you must order them online for store pickup. We’ve included product links below, plus, we also included links to some other sizes of Ball jars that are currently on sale! Act fast, because once the green jars are sold out, they’re gone forever!

Green jars:

$9.99 Ball 1qt Green Heritage Collection Jars (1440069100)- 6 Pack; 23% Savings At acehardware.com Only While Supplies Last! Plus Free Store Pickup. Buy Online & Pickup Today At Your Participating Neighborhood Ace!

$7.99 Ball 1pt Green Heritage Collection Jars (014400690204)- 6 Pack; 20% Savings At acehardware.com Only While Supplies Last! Plus Free Store Pickup. Buy Online & Pickup Today At Your Participating Neighborhood Ace!

Other jars:

$8.49 Ball® 16oz Regular Mouth Mason Jars 12/pack; 15% Savings At acehardware.com! Plus Free Store Pickup. Buy Online & Pickup Today At Your Participating Neighborhood Ace!

$9.49 Ball® 32oz Regular Mouth Mason Jars 12/pack (62000); 27% Savings At acehardware.com! Plus Free Store Pickup. Buy Online & Pickup Today At Your Participating Neighborhood Ace!

$12.99 Ball® 32oz Wide Mouth Mason Jars 12/pack (67000); 7% Savings At acehardware.com! Plus Free Store Pickup. Buy Online & Pickup Today At Your Participating Neighborhood Ace!

$8.00 Ball® 16oz Wide Mouth Mason Jars 12/pack (66000); 38% Savings At acehardware.com! Plus Free Store Pickup. Buy Online & Pickup Today At Your Participating Neighborhood Ace!

Canning products:

$89.99 Ball Fresh Tech Automatic Jam and Jelly Maker; 10% Savings At acehardware.com Only 8/1-8/19/2015! Plus Free Store Pickup. Buy Online & Pickup Today At Your Participating Neighborhood Ace!

$119.99 Ball Electric Canner; 8% Savings At acehardware.com Only 8/1-8/19/2015! Plus Free Store Pickup. Buy Online & Pickup Today At Your Participating Neighborhood Ace!

*This post contains affiliate links.

United by Mason jars! This is the place to share your very favorite Mason jar memories and stories (and read memories and stories from others)! Share your story in the comments. Enjoy!

(Want the story behind the Mason Jar Project? Click here.)

We’ve been tossing around an idea for awhile now, and we decided it’s time to take the first step toward making it a reality. Let me explain. When we first opened Mason Jar Lifestyle, we couldn’t really decide who our “target market” was, and that’s generally thought of as a no-no in the business world. Did we appeal to the new wave of urban homesteaders, the DIY crowd, homemakers, urban “hipsters,” etc. etc?

We couldn’t choose one group, and we didn’t want to. So we basically forgot about it. And then, last week, we had a meeting with a friend who has a very successful small business, and she asked us, “So, have you chosen a target market?” When we explained that Mason jars didn’t lend themselves to being pigeon holed like that (because who doesn’t like Mason jars?), we had an “aha!” moment. That’s exactly what makes Mason jars so special.

You’d be hard pressed to think of a more iconic, timeless item in American culture and beyond (Mason jars have made their way to practically every country, in fact). Everyone has a memory of a Mason jar. We all have a story. It doesn’t matter if you’re eight or 80, live in the country, a big city, or the suburbs — a Mason jar has somehow impacted your life. Maybe you canned pickles with your grandmother (as I did), or perhaps Mason jars were part of your wedding decor. We want our target market to be everyone who enjoys Mason jars. Uniting people is exactly what we want to do, and that’s the idea behind The Mason Jar Project.

This is where you all come in. I know that our customers and fans come from all over the country (and the world!) and are of all ages and backgrounds. We want to hear your favorite Mason jar stories and memories. They can be a sentence, a paragraph, or a page; we just want to hear them!

Click here to contribute your story to the project–simply leave your story as a comment on The Mason Jar Project blog post. We will regularly feature your stories in our newsletter and as featured entries on our blog. However, all contributions will officially be part of The Mason Jar Project and will be visible on the original blog post for all to see. Let’s think of it as Chicken Soup for the Soul meets This American Life. The goal is for these to be a pleasure to write and fun to read.

We don’t yet have an end date for the project, but we recommend submitting as soon as you think of a story or memory! Again, click here and submit your story as a comment. If you have any difficulties submitting your entries, please feel free to email me at maggie@masonjarlifestyle.com

We thought about giving a prize for a “winning entry,” but, honestly, our goal is for people to contribute to this project because they genuinely want to be part of a fun and unique project that brings us together. We have plenty of giveaways over on our blog, but we want to keep this project non-competitive and fun.

We can’t wait to read and share your stories! United by Mason jars!

Enjoy!

I feel like I introduce every post with the fact that our family uses Mason jars for practically everything. But it’s true! This post, however, is not so much about Mason jars as it is on the wonder of reusable straws (which, of course, do go perfectly with Mason jars and straw lids)! Even when I’m not using a Mason jar to drink from, I still need a straw now. I guess all of our glass and stainless steel straws have spoiled me! Last night, I was relaxing with a glass of lemon ice water, and all I kept wishing for was a straw to complete the experience. Somehow, water just tastes better out of a stainless steel or glass straw! 😉

Every morning, our family has smoothies. We drink them from Mason jars with smoothie straws. Until recently, I was a little concerned about the sharpness of the edges of the straws with the kiddos drinking from them. That fear is gone now with our new “rounded end” straws! Trust me, I have (accidentally!) jammed one in my own face, and, of course, it hurt a little. But it was way better than when I’ve (accidentally!) jammed other straws in my face. Note: I am a klutz.

These babies are the best! We know you’ll love them! And, because we love you, we’re giving away a four pack (you choose the size and style) of these awesome little rounded end straws (that even have our logo on them!)+ a cleaning brush; see Rafflecopter below to enter (Contest begins on 7/16). We also have a sale going on through Monday, July 20, where if you buy two, you’ll get one free! The discount will automatically apply once you put three in your cart. You can mix and match between our Rounded Stainless Steel Straws for Half Pint Mason Jars, Pint Mason Jars, and Quart Mason Jars.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Today, our products are featured on the fabulous, fun lifestyle blog Life With Rosie!

Chelsie made a pretty fantastic summertime beverage and used our caddy, lids, and straws to take it to the next level!

(Photo courtesy of Life With Rosie)

Check out her recipe here!

Aren’t Chelsie and her pup totally adorable?

(Photo courtesy of Life With Rosie)

In our house, we have all sorts of Mason jar lids (obviously!), including decorative lids, storage lids, straw hole lids, etc. The one common problem among all these Mason jar lids is that very few are leak-proof. I’ve often wanted to store a jar in my fridge on its side due to space constraints, but if there’s any liquid in the jar, I can’t! Another concern is that many of the fun decorative lids on the market aren’t food safe. This is fine if you want to use them strictly for decoration, but what if you want to keep candy or nuts, for example, in a jar with a fun lid (like this), but it doesn’t have a food safe liner?

We have a solution! Ryan recently designed these awesome regular mouth silicone sealing lid liners to deal with leaking and non-food safe lids. We’ve been testing them like crazy, and they work wonders!

Here are just a few uses we’ve come up with:

Make your straw lid totally leak proof! Want to transport your jar and straw lid without worrying about any leaking? Stick a lid liner inside until you’re ready to drink it!

Make any storage lid leak proof! For example, the handy white plastic lids sold by Ball aren’t leak proof, but these inserts fix that! Bring lunch to work in a Mason jar without worrying about any spillage in your brief case or back pack! Go ahead, stick that jar on its side in your fridge! It won’t leak!

Make a decorative lid food safe! We love mixed nuts in our home, and we always have a jar (or three) on our kitchen counter. Since these jars are always out and visible, we want them to look extra cute. We love being able to use our decorative storage lids, which, with a lid liner, are totally food safe!

Want to win a 10 pack for yourself? Check out the Rafflecopter below to enter! Winner will be announced on Thursday, July 16.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

REMINDER: Don’t forget to enter our other big giveaway! You have through Tuesday, July 14! Enter HERE!

We hope you’re all having a fun and relaxing summer! We’ve been loving warm nights in the yard with cool drinks from our Mason jars (plus straws and lids, of course)!

It’s time for a giveaway! Check out our rafflecopter below to enter to win a surprise Mason jar accessory package valued at over $50! We’re giving you several opportunities to get contest entries, and the more entries you get, the better your chance to win! (That probably goes without saying, huh?) Good luck! Contest ends at midnight on Tuesday, July 14.

a Rafflecopter giveaway