Prepper Book Festival 12: Mason Jar Nation

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: July 3, 2019
Prepper Book Festival 12: Mason Jar Nation

If there were such a thing as a 12 point program for Mason jar addicts, I would be a card carrying member.  I adore Mason jars and use them to store bulk foods in the pantry, craft supplies in the closet, and frozen goods in the freezer.  Because of my love for Mason jars, they are being carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and packed away in boxes so they make the big move I have coming up this Fall.

So, imagine my surprise and delight when I was offered an opportunity to include a book about Mason jars in a Prepper book festival.  The book is Mason Jar Nation: The Jars that Changed America and 50 Clever Ways to Use Them Today by JoAnn Moser and let me tell you, if you you are an addict like I am, you are going to want to take a peek.

Mason Jar Nation | Backdoor Survival

It is my impression that Mason Jar Nation may have initially been conceived as a book of projects and most assuredly, there are plenty of those suitable for prepper-types like us.  In addition to various lights and lanterns (perfect as emergency lighting), there is a seed starter, a very nifty storage option for fire starters, and my favorite, instructions for making butter in a Mason jar.  This very cool and very fun stuff.

Mason Jar Nation Butter in a Jar | Backdoor Survival

Now that I have said all of that, I’ll get to the real surprise. JoAnn’s book includes a very thorough and fascinating history of Mason jars.  And the pictures, oh my gosh, they add so much to the book!  In case you can’t tell, I absolutely love this book as much for the history as for the projects. It is a beautiful book and a delight to read!

JoAnn is here today to answer the book festival interview questions, plus, she, has three copies available in a giveaway.  Enjoy the interview then be sure to check in below to learn about the giveaway.

An Interview with JoAnn Moser, Author of Mason Jar Nation

Tell me about your book. What is it about?

The book is a fun hybrid in that it begins with a brief exploration of how fruit jars in general and Mason jars specifically changed American history. After the historical portion, the book detours into tips on vintage jar collecting and then dives into the meat of the book, which are the 50 crafty how-to projects using Mason jars today.

What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?

I started by compiling a list of just about every book ever published about fruit jars. (Many, sadly, are out of print.) Then I tracked a bunch down on the secondary market and started ready, highlighting, and taking copious notes.

One of the highlights of my research was visiting an antique jar and bottle show here in Minnesota. I’d hope to interview passionate collectors, which I did, but even better, there I met John Varone. John happens to live just a few miles from me and has one of the best fruit jar collections in the Midwest, if not the country. He invited me to his home to see his collection and, subsequently, became my fruit jar history mentor.

How long did it take to write?

About 11 months plus a month or two to go through the editing process.

Every book, fiction and non-fiction, includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading your book?

That is a great question! I think there are a couple of messages. Finding beauty in humble objects, for sure, and honoring the past spring to the top of my mind.

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

Here are the bullet points!

• Education: MFA in creative writing from Hamline University. BA in English Literature from the University of Minnesota.

• Upbringing: Born and raised in the middle of nowhere, where self-sufficiency was a given.

• Parents: DIYers before DIY was a “thing”.

• Favorite childhood pastimes: Making stuff, drawing, reading comic books, visiting the town dump with my dad to find treasures.

• Spousal info: Married to a like-minded DIY fanatic who has as much DIY talent as he has power tools. (And he has a lot of power tools!)

As an author in the survival, prepping, self-sufficiency or homesteading niche, what are you personally preparing for?

Where I live, we have a preoccupation with weather, and justifiably so. Tornadoes, straight-line winds, blizzards, ice storms. We prepare for the worst of those and hope for the best.

Also, I’m a firm believer in planning for personal economic downturns. It used to be financial advisors would recommend that people have enough in savings to sustain them for six months. Now, a year (or more, if you can swing it) is best.

What would be your first prep-step if you were just getting started?

Canning food, of course! 😉

What movie do you think gives the best portrayal of what could happen?

Although the movie is based upon what already did happen, I’m going to say THE BIG SHORT, because it could easily happen again, which just might make it one of the scariest movies ever made.

Do you have plans for another book?

Besides writing about DIY, I’m a fiction writer too. Currently, I’m working on a young adult novel. However, if the stars align and MASON JAR NATION sells well, I certainly wouldn’t rule out another book of a similar nature. Perhaps the next time about wine bottles??

Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?

Just that I’m excited to share MASON JAR NATION with everyone, and I hope they enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it!

The Giveaway

JoAnn and her publisher have reserved three copies of Mason Jar Nation in this newest Book Festival Giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

Note:  Due to customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to individuals with a mailing address in the United States.

The Final Word

This is not the first time I have featured Mason jars on this site and it will probably not be the last.  Clearly there is something downright comforting and homey when it comes to seeing Mason jars lined up like soldiers on a shelf or in the pantry.

Yes, indeed, I am a Mason jar addict and invite you to become one too by entering the giveaway to win a copy of Mason Jar Nation.

In the meantime, for additional reading, check out:

Canning Jars 101 – Everything You Need To Know and More!
Fast Track Prep Tip #4: How to Use a FoodSaver for Vacuum Canning

For more information about the books in this latest book festival, visit Prepper Book Festival #12: The Best Books to Help You Prepare, Stay Healthy and Be Happy.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!

In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates  and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.


Spotlight:  .Mason Jar Nation: The Jars that Changed America and 50 Clever Ways to Use Them Today

Learn how to make more than 50 Mason jar projects, including luminaries, planters, and upcycled art, in this book for DIYers!

Mason Jar Nation begins by exploring the Mason jar’s impact on America since its 1858 patent. Prior to the jar’s invention, settlers had no reliable and safe way to store food for the winter, which required them to travel great lengths in difficult conditions and obtain expensive canned goods in order to survive. With its hermetically sealable two-piece lid and thick glass sides, the Mason jar changed the way mid-nineteenth century Americans fed their families.

Although the popularity of the jars ebbed significantly from the 1950s until the turn of the century, interest in them has exploded in the past few years. Ball, the biggest brand name in Mason jars today, has seen its sales double since 2001. Younger generations, including Millenials, have adopted the iconic jars as emblems of a more sustainable time. The humble Mason jar has been “discovered” as a versatile and beautiful material for creating craft items such as chandeliers, luminaries, planters, containers, and upcycled art.

The second half of Mason Jar Nation features over 50 of these adaptations, shown with clear photography, all designed and photographed by author JoAnn Moser, the “DIY Maven.”

Readers who appreciate American cultural history, making fun and affordable crafts, and Mason jars themselves will love this new book and its tall, narrow shape that’s based on the proportions of the classic Mason jar.

Third Edition:  The SURVIVAL MEDICINE Handbook

A frequent question I get on Backdoor Survival has to do with healthcare matters when there is no doctor around. This is the definite source of survival medical information for all Prepper’s and is my go-to bible for survival medicine.

Survival Medicine Handbook 2016

Aff | Tactical Pen

[DEAL] Ultimate Concealed Weapon

Tactical Pen / Multi-Tool (Flashlight, knife, etc)

Stay Protected
Aff | Emergency Blanket
[DEAL] Emergency Survival Blanket Get Cheap Security

85 Responses to “Prepper Book Festival 12: Mason Jar Nation”

  1. Ooo, I would love to get my hands on this book! We just started our canning adventures and are having so much fun with it! I also just purchased some old, light blue mason jars from Craigslist because they are beautiful and one has a mis-stamp…the number 2 is stamped backwards on the bottom! It just made it interesting to me 🙂

  2. Love opening my pantry doors and viewing rows of garden produce carefully sealed in mason jar after mason jar. With my dehydrator and new vacuum sealer, more jars are needed. Can’t have enough!

  3. I have recently fallen in love with Mason Jars! Right now I am only using them for storing the things I dehydrate. I can’t wait to learn everyone’s tips – need all the help I can get!! Mason Jars are one of the things I now look for at garage sales – got 12 of them for $3.00 at the last sale.

  4. I, like Savannah and many others I’m sure, just started canning. Although canning is new, I have used Mason jars for years as storage, decoration, I have a blue one on my kitchen counter with flowers from the yard in it. I would love to win this book and see what other fun things I can get up to with my Mason jars! Thank you again Gaye, for another awesome giveaway! ???? ❤ ????

  5. I make individual sun teas with mint for barbacues and summer parties. Everyone loves them and drinking straight from the jar. I save old scraps of soap in one till half to two thirds full. Add a little water and let sit till the soap breaks down. I have a pump to attach to the top and instant hand soap. Love these silly jars!!

  6. I’ve loved Mason jars since I was a kid. I would sneak one out of the kitchen to store things in my closet. My mom finally noticed her jars were disappearing; I didn’t say a thing but she found them when cleaning out the closet. She called me a little pack rat. haha

  7. Just got started using Mason jars a couple of years ago but discovered I can store pasta in them for long term storage.

  8. My first use of a mason jar was when I was a kid, I used them as an insect cage.
    My favorite was when I caught fireflies or lightning bugs as we call them. I always released them after a short time.

  9. Mason jars are the Swiss Army knife of jars. Insect traps, store food & drink, hardware in the garage, (screws, nails, nuts, bolts, hinges) and paint, cleaning paint brushes. I’ve seen people use them to soak car or lawnmower parts to loosen the grime and grease. The go to item for anyone that does their own cooking and handy repair work around the house.

  10. I use lots of mason for most anything from storing in refrigerator to storing in shed, also can a couple hundred fruits, veggies and meat. Would sure love this book.

  11. I just loving repack all my “leftover” jars for this year. Blue ones here, wide and mouth, pts., qts. and some of the old ones that don’t have a class but I hang on to anyway. I have some that belonged to my Grandma, my Mom, My husband’s grandma and his Aunts. I now am starting to save my coconut oil qt. jars for storage. OH MY, I guess I need that card for addictions also.

  12. LOVE canning jars. I even have some from back in Grandma’s time. Such a versatile tool for everyday and prepping.

  13. I remember my mom preserving all sorts of things. I wasn’t happy about the smell of vinegar but months later when we ate what she had preserved – YUM. She put away yellow peppers, pickles, jams from raspberry, strawberry, peach, etc and yum-yum watermelon rind. I’m first generation and the folks were from Europe so they learned how to because they had to. Too bad schools don’t have classes in this kind of stuff so kids learn something other than gaming and cell phone texting – I really believe the kids are dumb and would be lost if tech crashed.

  14. I like the look of mason jars with the black “chalk” labels sitting on my counter for salt-sugar etc. I particularly enjoy using them for my hand crafted herbal tea mixes – sooo pretty! Just have to improve my printing skills a bit :-/

  15. I’ve been using them for awhile now with a vacuum sealer, and just lately for putting up freeze-dried food. Two friends and myself went in on a freeze-dryer, and we’ve been storing the results in large mason jars that are also vacuum sealed. Amazing, the stuff you can freeze-dry, and “vacuum canning” adds a further dimension to long-term preservation.

  16. I love Mason Jars, I use them for so many different things. I use them to store nails, screws, washers, & nuts for any DIY project I have. I use them for my dehydrated foods that I’ve prepared and added to my long term storage. I love to preserve as much of my garden fruits and vegetables as I can and Mason Jars are my must have. My mom was a fabulous canner, and I’ve tried to carry on her tradition. I’m so lucky to have a family who was preparing long before I was old enough to understand its necessity. I’m completely addicted to Mason Jars, canning, preserving, jams and jellies are my pride and joy.

  17. I just saw an interesting use of mason jars on Facebook. Not sure if it’s mentioned yet. Someone filled a jar with milk then took an empty plastic fruit cup and filled it with cereal.The cup placed upside down on the metal seal of the jar and then screwed in place with the jar ring becomes a portable breakfast.

  18. It’s not my tip (no long hair) but my mother used to keep her bobby pins(‘member those?) in a couple of pint jars in the bathroom Would love to win this book I need help

  19. I use mason jars for storage in my quilting studio. Buttons, snaps, misc. thread, etc. are stored to keep them clean and easy to find.

  20. In our area, Goodwill Stores sell Mason jars, all sizes, some with lids & rings, some unlidded, but always priced at $.20 each. I pick up a few each time I am there, which is at least once a week. If I happen to be there on Wednesday, which is Senior Discount Day, I can buy them for $.16 each (20% Senior Discount). I think this pricing applies to all “Seattle” Goodwill Stores. There are probably 20 to 25 “Seattle” Goodwill stores, not just in Seattle, but in many of the surrounding communities, (Bellevue, Juanita, Renton & Edmonds come to mind).

  21. I fell in love with Mason jars as a kid playing in my grandmother’s basement. It had a smaller room with a packed dirt floor and shelves that held her canning jars filled with treasures. Some were the old ones with the wire bails.

    My latest favorite use for a canning jar is to hold cleaned/dried prepped salad greens in the fridge. I use a 1/2 gal jar packing the greens gently before vacuum sealing. The greens stay fresh for several days and are ready for immediate use.

    • Kathy D
      Can you do that with a prepared salad, without any dressing on it? DaHubs and I can’t eat one of the packaged salad mixes in one sitting but if we put the rest of the bowl in the fridge no matter how tight I get the plastic wrap, the salad turns icky.

    • Contrary to all advice I’ve ever read, I preserve my salad mixings by moisturing them before refrigerating them. I put the mixings into a bowl, fill the bowl with water, drain the bowl, and then refrigerate them in whatever container is handy, including plastic baggies. They stay crisp for about a week. I’ve done this for 45 years, so I know it works. I’ve never understood why others insist that the greens must be dry. However, it obviously won’t work for greens that wilt in water, such as spinach.

  22. I have 16 pint-and-a-half jars filled with dehydrated veggies and herbs lined up on my counter. Handy AND beautiful!

  23. In addition to storing food, I use mason jars for crafting. They can be painted, decorated, used as candle jars, or even used for gift wrapping.

  24. I remember as a child that my aunts would always have rows of mason jars filled with the canned produce from their gardens…beautiful and bountiful pantries! Now I hanker after having my own filled pantry… 🙂

  25. My mason jar collection is out of hand… I keep dried herbs, pantry items, tinctures, homemade goodies in the jars, lacto-ferment in the jars and then transfer to other jars for storage, drink out of the jars, everything! My husband even bought me a mason jar wineglass to combine my two favorite things: mason jars and wine 🙂

  26. Mason jars are semi-often pressed into service as a take-to-work lunch container around our house. They even mostly come back home afterward…

  27. I use them for iced tea, I make small batches in quart jars and mix and match in a glass as my mood strikes me.

  28. Having just started preparing to ca things, I have started getting a few jars together and could really use this book.

  29. Mason jars and canning supplies are seasonal in many areas, so FALL is the time to purchase what you need for best selection!

  30. I have pancake mix stored in the fridge in a wide mouth quart Mason jar. 1/2 gallon jars of pasta in the basement and many other size Mason jars to fill with every and anything. Purchased both sizes of the Food Saver jar vacuums and they work great. Fall is coming so now is a good time to start watching for any sales. I have yet to find these jars at a garage sale or Goodwill in my area. Canning and Mason jars have been utilized in my family for three generations and there are two more generations after me that are learning of their usefulness.

  31. I have been canning and fermenting for years!! learned from my mom and grandmas – I use Mason jars for everything in between! Sadly I have had to be on a mission to replace all my jars as we had a house fire and lost over 60+ dozen jars of all sizes and ages! Miss my stash!! Starting over is not fun!

    • I am so sorry to hear that you had a house fire. Hope everyone is safe! After you replace/rebuild take lots of pictures in the event another tragedy of some sort strikes. Show them to your insurance company to see if they can cover all your hard work or if there is a need for a little more insurance coverage. Everything adds up quickly when you have to replace it. Best of luck going forward!

  32. I love Mason Jars, and i have a LOT of them. I don’t think any of my uses are ‘unique’ though. I can jam, and tomatoes and pickles (of course). I put stuff in them – sugar, honey, baking soda, dog treats – anything. I have a nice large wide mouth green one with a super cool cork top that I got from the Mason Jar Lifestyle site with cotton wools in it that looks pretty nice.

  33. I love using canning jars for everything. We use them for vacuum sealing bulk items we use like powdered milk for our coffee, for canning our garden produce, and storing extra seeds for our garden. I have some really small ones I use for my homemade toothpaste and we have half gallon size with special lids to ferment in. They really are the greatest, most versital containers around.

  34. I do not usually enter contests. But this book interests me. I already get your emails and follow on facebook. I thank you for the chance at winning.

  35. I don’t have any mason jars yet but have pinned a few posts about them. The book looks informative. I’m always saving plastic bags since they banned them or you have to pay for them now, so find creative ways to store them. I stuff them into pretty containers that are convenient, and I don’t want to throw out yet, like a pretty tissue box. When it gets worn or dirty, just toss it.

  36. I am also a very big fan of Mason Jars. In addition they make great candles with a wick and lamp oil. Also love the break bleed vacuum technique learned here to remove O2.

  37. I love my Mason Jars. I have been collecting ther blue ones for several years now and have about 46 of them.

  38. I’m always on the lookout for jars at thrift stores, garage and rummage sales. You can never have enough jars.

  39. Not unique, but I have sourdough starter in one. Today I made coconut milk and put it in a 1/2 gallon Mason jar.

  40. I have every size mason jar there is in my house. I use them to can fruits and vegetables and store dry goods in. I also enjoy making meals ahead of time and storing the ingredients in my jars!

  41. Mason jars are great for storage and displaying a collection of antique ball/kerr/atlas/mason jar collection! I have a vintage dark olive green and a 2 qt lighter olive green! my faves!

  42. I am just getting into using mason jars, from food storage to moonshine, and hopefully soon will be canning.
    I am up to about 250 jars right now, but always looking for more.
    And, I would love the book, to see ways of using the jars, that I have not yet thought of.

  43. We’re trying to remove plastics from u r food storage and household stirage. Mason jars have been such a useful tool. I’ve got all my herbs stored in them with pretty labels too!

  44. I use a Mason jar to take refrigerator oatmeal to work for breakfast a couple days a week. You can do an online search for a recipe. Also we just recently bought a case of jars with the intent of using the jar attachment to our vacuum sealer to seal up some small batches of dry goods and plan on storing them on a floor level shelf in one of the kitchen cabinets. I estimate it will hold about 30 quart jars.

  45. I have been using mason/ball/atlas jars as long as I can remember. I started canning with my grandma and mom and moved on from there. I love mason jars!

  46. I use mason jars to store leftovers in the fridge, and I use the pint jars for my drinks. Those little “cozy” things made to keep your soda and beer cans cold fit tightly around the jars. They keep my drinks in the mason jars the right temp.

  47. I never have enough mason jars. It matters not, how many I purchase. There are just so very many uses for them.

  48. I use them to store left over food, although this week end I used the small size as part of table decorations!

  49. Love Mason Jars and use them for just about anything and everything. I keep my baking powder and baking soda fresh and dry in Mason Jars. Thanks

    • I too use mason jars for all kinds of things in the kitchens… Salt, spices, leftovers, cut flower, utensil holder, whatever my storage need is at the moment. They’re versatile, cute, a great size, and very easy to clean.

  50. We use the half pint ones for wine glasses. And I have a “Redneck Sippy Cup” made from a pint jar with a hole in the lid and a straw…

  51. I saw an article about gamma seals. My boyfriend was just asking about storing food in 5 gallon paint buckets so I’m going to print it off for some info. for him. Thanks.

  52. I use mason jars all the time for anything from candle holder (with a layer of sand in the bottom for safety), decorations, and the regular use – canning foods.

Leave a Reply