The Pioneer Woman, Mason jars, and my real life

I watched an episode of The Pioneer Woman on Food Network today, and in this episode I noticed that Ree’s sweet teenaged daughter was drinking her lemonade out of a small Mason jar. Adorable.

Now I’m not sure whether that is a normal thing to do in the Drummond household, or if, in reality, the show’s stylist stuck it in her cute little hand since right now, the humble Mason jar is a bit of a design celebrity due to a site you might have heard of: Pinterest.

I have always had Mason jars in my home. In my childhood home, my mother and her mom, whom we called Grammy, used to pick pears and figs from the trees in her yard, and they’d make fig preserves and pear preserves from them, putting up the delicious sweetness in Mason jars. (Perhaps Ree Drummond’s mother or grandmother did the same.)

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When I was married in the early 90s, I had just graduated from the University of West Florida with my degree in education, and my husband was still taking classes there, as well as doing student ministry at a small church on the west side of Pensacola. My first teaching job out of college was at a prominent Christian school there in the city, and my paycheck was a tiny $10,300 a  year. No, I didn’t accidentally write a 10 where there should’ve been a 30 or even a 20. (I’ll never forget the sweet little bookkeeper for the school coming to me with the job offer, saying “We normally pay $10,000 per year, but the board thinks you have more to offer than some new teachers, so we are offering a little bit more…$10,300.)  ;)

But I digress. Though we were happy, ministering to kids at our church and at the school, we were two other things, as well: exhausted and broke. Our home was no-frills and that was just fine.

Now, sweet tea was a staple in our newly-established home, as in most Southern homes, but we didn’t have any large tea glasses of our own. So what did we drink out of? Mason jars.

When someone at church would give us a jar of their extra-special plum jelly, we’d gratefully use it up on our breakfast toast or biscuits and then wash the jar…and there was a new tea glass. When mom brought us a jar of her apple butter, we’d try hard not to eat it all in one day (it was fabulous) and then, voila! Another new tea glass.

In 2014, Mason jars aren’t relegated to the cabinets of poor young newlyweds. Now, when I see people carefully taking gorgeous pictures of their wedding tablescapes using flowers and candles in Mason jars, or see precious young girls casually sipping lemonade out of a Mason jar on t.v., or hipsters (I say it with love, y’all) packing their lunches in Mason jars, I chuckle to myself, because what they feel is so charming and so clever, many of us who had no other choice have been doing for years. :)

mason-jar-salad1

That’s not to say I don’t love it, of course. I’m happy that the utilitarian Mason jar is in the limelight. The Pioneer Woman’s lemonade looked so pretty in the Mason jars on the show, and the wedding pictures from Pinterest are so lovely. I myself have packed salads in one of my quart-sized jars, as it keeps the salad really cold and fresh; and I love nothing more than a simple bouquet of zinnias from the garden, standing tall and beautiful in one of them, as well. (Of course I also can in them; I’ve been doing so for years and totally enjoy it. Here’s a delicious apple butter you can make in your slow cooker!)

My message to you homemakers of any age who live on a tight budget? Do what you have to do to make it; don’t worry if everything in your life is not pulled-together perfectly and Pinterest-worthy. Don’t worry if you’re not wealthy and successful like The Pioneer Woman.

Sweet tea tastes as good from a Mason jar as it does from the finest crystal goblet, whether it’s a Pinterest sensation or not.

Before I go, here’s a quick salad recipe you might want to try in a Mason jar or in your regular ol’ Tupperware:

Mason jar strawberry-spinach salad

Layer in this order:

2-3 TBS of your favorite dressing, such as strawberry or raspberry vinaigrette, balsamic vinaigrette, etc.

1/2 cup fresh sliced strawberries

1/2 to 1 cup grilled or roasted chicken pieces

1/2 cup cubed fresh mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup glazed pecans or other nuts, as you like

1 cup or more fresh baby spinach leaves

Shake when ready to eat to distribute dressing.

A layer of pasta would work in this salad, too! I never say no to pasta..

(I’d love for you to join me on Facebook for more recipes and fun conversation! Click here to drop in; will open a new window)

Copyright 2014 Stephanie Hill-Frazier. All rights reserved.

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6 thoughts on “The Pioneer Woman, Mason jars, and my real life

  1. We use wide mouth canning jars for glasses here. It throws my mom into a loop every time we have her over for dinner! lol

  2. Hi Lady , I have been noticing the new craze with mason jars too! In my home we have always had jelly jar glasses as well as mason jars or the jars that you can get grapefruit in ! My favorite thing to use them for besides drinking my tea, is to clean green onion and store in the jar with the lid. It is great because there is no smell and it stays fresher won’t get soggy as quick. My husband likes when I clean and store celery like that as well.
    Thanks for sharing the salad recipe! 😊

  3. I’ve been watching Pioneer Woman for a long time. Guess I’m addicted. On her shows she often cooks for crowd of hungry cowboys or just her family. There have been times when she made lemonade, put it in the mason jars with lids and carried the drinks to the family or anyone that may be working out in the field. Makes transport easy. She also uses them for desserts. So I really believe this is a regular use in their home.

    • I guess another good thing about transporting drinks to the guys in them would be that they’re sturdier than most glasses, and if you break one, you won’t cry about it. :)

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