5 Ways to Use Mason Jars for Meal Prep

5 Ways to Use Mason Jars for Meal Prep

August 25, 2023

5 Ways to Use Mason Jars for Meal Prep

In the world of meal prepping, mason jars have become an essential tool. Their versatility, durability, and aesthetic appeal make them an ideal choice for preparing and storing meals ahead of time. Whether you're a busy professional, a health-conscious individual, or someone looking to streamline their cooking process, mason jar meal prep is a game-changer.  Here are 5 ways to use mason jars for meal prep.

Layered salad in a jar with grains, greens and corn

Mason Jar Salads

Mason jar salads are not only visually appealing but also a convenient and nutritious choice. Here's a step-by-step guide to crafting a perfectly layered mason jar salad:

  1. Dressing First, Greens Last: Start by pouring your favorite salad dressing into the bottom of the jar. By keeping the dressing separate from the other ingredients, you prevent sogginess and maintain freshness. Opt for oil-based dressings as they tend to hold up better.

  2. Sturdy Ingredients Next: Add ingredients that can withstand the dressing without becoming soggy. This includes veggies like cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. These veggies act as a barrier between the dressing and more delicate ingredients.

  3. Protein and Grains: Layer your choice of proteins such as grilled chicken, tofu, boiled eggs, or legumes, followed by grains like quinoa, rice, or pasta. These ingredients will keep you satiated and add substance to your salad.

  4. Delicate Ingredients on Top: Finally, add delicate ingredients like leafy greens, sprouts, or herbs to the top of your jar. This ensures that they stay fresh until you're ready to enjoy your salad.

Tips for Success:

  • Consider investing in wide-mouthed mason jars for easier assembly and eating.
  • Pack your jars tightly to avoid shifting and air gaps, which can lead to spoilage.
  • Store the mason jar salads in the refrigerator, and they can stay fresh for up to five days.
Oats, milk and strawberries in a jar

Overnight Oats

If you're seeking a nutritious and hassle-free breakfast option, look no further than overnight oats in mason jars. With a little prep the night before, you can wake up to a delicious and filling meal. Here's how to make overnight oats:

  1. Base Ingredients: Start by combining rolled oats, milk (dairy or plant-based), and a sweetener like honey or maple syrup in your mason jar. Use a 1:1 ratio of oats to liquid for a creamy consistency.

  2. Flavorful Additions: Customize your oats with a range of toppings such as chia seeds, flax seeds, nuts, dried fruits, or spices like cinnamon or cocoa powder. Feel free to experiment with different combinations to find your favorite flavors.

  3. Mix Well: Stir the ingredients thoroughly to ensure everything is well combined and there are no clumps.

  4. Overnight Rest: Seal the mason jar and refrigerate it overnight, allowing the oats to soak up the liquid and flavors.

Tips for Success:

  • For added convenience, prepare several jars of overnight oats in advance for the entire week.
  • To save time in the morning, you can add fresh fruits or yogurt just before consuming.
  • Experiment with different milk options and toppings to find your preferred taste and texture.
Woman holding strawberries, blueberries and blackberries in jar

Fresh Berries

To extend the freshness of your freshly washed berries, mason jars can be an excellent storage solution. Here's a simple guide on how to use mason jars to store your berries and keep them lasting longer in the refrigerator:

  1. Prepare the Solution: In a large bowl or basin, mix one part white vinegar with three parts water. For example, you can use 1 cup of vinegar and 3 cups of water for a larger quantity of berries.

  2. Submerge the Berries: Place the berries in the vinegar solution and gently swirl them around to ensure they are fully submerged. Let them soak for about 5 minutes. The vinegar solution helps remove any surface contaminants, pesticides, or bacteria on the berries.

  3. Rinse Well: After the soaking period, remove the berries from the vinegar solution and rinse them thoroughly under cold running water. Make sure to rinse off any vinegar residue.

  4. Dry the Berries: After rinsing, gently pat the berries dry using a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. It's important to ensure they are completely dry before storing them to prevent excess moisture, which can lead to spoilage.

  5. Storage: Once the berries are dry, follow the steps outlined in the previous paragraph to store them in mason jars for extended freshness.

By using a vinegar solution to wash your berries, you can help remove potential contaminants and inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria, thus extending their lifespan. However, it's important to note that the vinegar solution may slightly affect the taste of the berries, so it's essential to rinse them thoroughly after soaking.
    Yogurt, granola and cherries layered in a jar

    Yogurt Parfait

    Creating a delicious and visually appealing yogurt parfait in a mason jar is a delightful way to enjoy a nutritious breakfast or snack on the go. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to make a yogurt parfait in a mason jar:

    1. Layer the Bottom: Start by adding a generous spoonful of your favorite granola or cereal to the bottom of the mason jar. This will provide a delightful crunch and texture to your parfait.

    2. Creamy Yogurt Layer: Spoon a layer of creamy yogurt on top of the granola. Greek yogurt, with its rich texture and high protein content, works particularly well for parfaits. Choose a flavor that complements your chosen toppings or opt for plain yogurt and sweeten it with a drizzle of honey or a sprinkle of cinnamon.

    3. Fruit Medley: Add a layer of fresh or frozen fruits of your choice. Berries, sliced bananas, diced mangoes, or chopped apples are popular options. Feel free to mix and match fruits based on your preferences and seasonal availability.

    4. Repeat the Layers: Repeat the layering process by adding another layer of granola, followed by yogurt, and then fruits. Creating multiple layers adds visual appeal and texture to the parfait.

    5. Finishing Touches: For added flavor and texture, top your parfait with additional toppings like nuts, seeds, shredded coconut, or a drizzle of nut butter.

    6. Seal and Chill: Once your parfait is assembled, securely seal the mason jar with its lid. Refrigerate the jar until you're ready to enjoy your parfait. The chilling time allows the flavors to meld together, and the parfait to set.

    7. On-the-Go Enjoyment: Mason jars are perfect for on-the-go consumption. Simply grab your jar, insert a spoon, and savor your delectable yogurt parfait wherever you go.

    Tips for Success:

    • Opt for clear mason jars to showcase the colorful layers of your parfait.
    • Experiment with different combinations of granola, yogurt flavors, and fruits to discover your favorite flavor profiles.
    • If you plan to prepare parfaits in advance, consider storing the granola separately to maintain its crunchiness until you're ready to eat.
    Hot water being poured into a jar with noodles and vegetables

     Instant Cup of Noodles

    Mason jars can be a wonderful tool for preparing make-ahead noodle soups that are convenient, flavorful, and perfect for a quick lunch on busy days. Here's a simple guide on how to use mason jars for a satisfying make-ahead noodle soup:

    1. Choose Your Noodles and Broth: Start by selecting your favorite type of noodles, such as ramen noodles, rice noodles, or egg noodles. Cook the noodles separately according to the package instructions, ensuring they are slightly undercooked to prevent them from becoming mushy when reheated. In a separate pot, prepare your desired broth, whether it's a flavorful vegetable broth, a savory chicken broth, or a comforting miso broth.

    2. Layering Ingredients: Begin layering the mason jar with your chosen ingredients. Start with a portion of the cooked noodles at the bottom. Then, add your desired protein options such as cooked chicken, sliced beef, shrimp, or tofu. Follow it up with a colorful assortment of vegetables like sliced carrots, mushrooms, bok choy, or bean sprouts.

    3. Add Flavor Enhancers: To elevate the taste of your noodle soup, consider adding flavor enhancers like minced garlic, ginger, chili flakes, or soy sauce. These will infuse the broth with delicious aromas and an extra kick of flavor.

    4. Pour in the Broth: Carefully pour the hot broth over the layered ingredients in the mason jar, ensuring it covers the noodles and ingredients fully. Leave a little space at the top to allow for expansion when reheating.

    5. Seal and Store: Once the mason jar is filled with the ingredients and broth, securely seal it with the lid. Allow the jar to cool before refrigerating it. The flavors will meld together as the soup sits, resulting in a delightful and convenient meal.

    6. Reheating and Serving: When you're ready to enjoy your noodle soup, simply remove the mason jar from the refrigerator, remove the lid, and heat the jar in the microwave or transfer the contents to a pot on the stove. Heat the soup until it's piping hot and the ingredients are thoroughly heated through. Stir well and savor the comforting flavors of your homemade noodle soup.

    Tips for Success:

    • Customize your noodle soup by adding garnishes like fresh herbs (such as cilantro or green onions), a squeeze of lime, or a drizzle of sesame oil for added flavor.
    • If you're using ingredients that require less cooking time, like thinly sliced mushrooms or leafy greens, consider adding them to the mason jar just before reheating to maintain their texture and freshness.
    • For an extra dose of umami, you can add a spoonful of miso paste or a splash of soy sauce to the broth before pouring it into the mason jar.

    By following these steps, you'll have a delectable make-ahead noodle soup ready to enjoy whenever you need a quick and comforting lunch. The convenience and versatility of mason jars make it easy to transport and reheat your soup, allowing you to savor a delicious and nourishing meal wherever you go.

    Everything Tastes Better in a Mason Jar

    Mason jars offer a convenient and visually appealing solution for meal prep enthusiasts. Whether you're assembling a vibrant mason jar salad or preparing a nourishing jar of overnight oats, these versatile containers can streamline your meal prep routine and contribute to a healthier lifestyle. By following the simple steps outlined in this guide and experimenting with flavors and ingredients, you'll be

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