If you’re a home canner (or a moonshiner), you’re already familiar with the wonders of the mason jar. These old-timey, reusable storage jars are very versatile. But are we using this container to its fullest potential? Here are my top 10 urban survival and wilderness survival uses for the classic mason jar.
1. Re-pack Dry Foods: Pour your rice, beans, etc. into mason jars and screw the cap on tight to keep bugs, rodents, and dampness out of your dry-food stores. Add food-safe oxygen absorber packs or desiccant packs if you have them.
2. Tinder Box: Keep shredded bark, dryer lint, and other choice tinders dry and away from nest-making rodents at your camp, cabin, or bug out site.
3. Bank: Fill a jar with valuable coins, jewelry, and other bank-worthy items, and bury it in a safe place (but one you’ll be able to find again). Don’t put paper money or documents in the jar–the lid could corrode and let moisture in. Be sure to let one or two trusted family members know the location, in case something happens to you.
4. Ammo Cache: Fill jars with the most popular ammunition cartridges (.22 LR, 9mm, .308, etc.) or whatever your guns shoot, and bury them at a bug-out site or in the back yard. Like the bank, make sure you hide it somewhere you can find it again.
5. Home Brew: Whatever your tipple–wine, beer, whiskey–store your homemade hooch in space-saving mason jars.
6. Store Game and Veggies: If properly canned and stored in a cool, dark place, fish, game, and homegrown or foraged vegetables can be stored for years in mason jars.
7. First Aid Kit: Mason jars make great, waterproof containers for first aid supplies.
8. Wild Pharmacy: Medicinal plants that you’ve grown or collected can be dried and stored for several seasons in mason jars. Some folks won’t store their dry herbs in anything else. Incidentally, our word “drug” comes from the Dutch word “droog,” meaning “dry.”
9. Lantern: Put a small candle in an uncovered jar to make a wind-proof lantern for home or camp.
10. Break the Jar: Functional glass knives and arrowheads can be chipped from the pieces of a broken jar.
Share your most creative moment with the humble mason jar in the comments.