Frugal Friday-20+ Ways to Reuse That Canning Insert

For years I’ve used my grandmother’s canning supplies to preserve seasonal foods..jams, jellies, butters, sauces, veggies and fruits. For many years before I used her supplies, she used them. But alas, this spring the canning pot popped a spring and a hole developed in the bottom crease of the canner.

How do I know this, you ask? Because there was a lot of water on my kitchen counter, kitchen stove and kitchen floor. Genius.

Not wanting to throw away a piece of nostalgia I brainstormed how to reuse both it and the insert. I’m still brainstorming about that giant canner…I think maybe this fall it will become a plant pot for some mums on the front stoop.  The insert though…that’s already been put to use several times.

I kept the rusty look to the insert. Some may not like the shabby look but I like it. If you don’t like this look you could easily brush it down or spray paint it. With the handles still on it makes for an easy carry to the serving table.This insert will easily hold 6-8 pint sized jars (wide mouthed or regular), and still have a little breathing room so the jars don’t scrape each other. Simply place the jars around the insert, including the middle section and fill with a variety of items…ideas are listed below.


Use the insert filled with mason jars as a serving tray for utensils and salt and pepper.    I left out two jars in this example have space for salt and pepper and some fresh flowers. I have forks, knives, spoons, serving utensils, straws and flowers in the center jar. Also included is one jar filled with hot pepper flakesdsc_0259dsc_0261


Other ideas:

Ultimate Hot Chocolate: cocoa powder, spoons, marshmallows, flavored marshmallows, milk or cream, homemade whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate chips

Candy: Add your favorite types of candy with a spoon in each jar

Coffee: Instant coffee packets, sugar or sugar cubes, spoons, milk or cream, flavoring, biscotti

Tea: Milk, sugar or sugar cubes, tea spoons, honey sticks, lemon slices, variety of tea flavors

Jam/JellySpread Sampling: Include eight types of jams or jellies, each jar opened with a small spoon in each, place crackers to the side for tasting or use one jar for small crackers like oyster crackers for sampling.

Cookie Toppings: Use this for a cookie decorating party. Reserve one jar for spreaders or knives. Other jars holds a type of cookie topping-sprinkles, frosting, coconut, beads, ornaments.

Ice Cream Topping: Jars contain hot fudge, caramel, strawberry jam, pineapple jam, homemade whipped cream , maple syrup, sprinkles, spoons

Party Prizes-Each jar is filled and closed with lid. Each jar contains a prize for games played or won.

Rootbeer Floats-Fill jars with vanilla ice cream, root beer, spoon and straw. Use this canning insert to serve them to guests.

Herbs and Spices-Keep herbs and spices in jars with lids (Canning jar hack-lids from large Parmesean Cheese bottles fit perfectly on regular mouth canning jars. Use them as herb sprinklers) and use them as needed for cooking or serving.

Shortcakes: Each person receives a biscuit or cake. Jars holds homemade whipped cream, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, milk, sugar, spoons.

Condiments: Jars hold ketchup, mustard, relish, mayonnaise, hot pepper flakes or sauce, diced onions

Taco Toppings: Variety of shredded cheeses, sour cream, olives, hot sauces, taco sauce, salsa, guacamole, include spoons in each jar

Make-Your-Own-Pizza Toppings: Variety of Shredded Cheeses, diced vegetables, diced cooked meat, sauce

Flavored Dairy Butters:make a variety of flavored butters and keep them close for a breakfast buffet.

Breakfast Buffet: butter, syrup, forks, knives, confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, homemade whipped cream, jam

Flowers-Fresh cut flowers make a fantastic centerpiece in this canning insert.

Thanksgiving Jar: Use this for times of thanksgiving to remember what you are thankful for. Include slips of blank paper, one empty jar for filled slips of paper, pens, crayons (for those who want to draw), one money for extra change/donation funds, fall flowers in the middle jar

Office/School Supplies-pens, pencils, ruler, highlighters, paper clips, thumb tacks, sticky notes, scissors

Sewing: buttons, needles (jar top can be made to include a pin cushin), yarn scraps, scissors, thread, notes, farbric markers/pens

Guest Room: One jar holds fresh flowers. Other jars hold things such as candy, gum, breath mints, travel size toiletries

Candles: Place sand, salt, marbles or water in each jar with a tea light on top.

Art Supplies: brushes, pencils, erasers, rulers, paint samples

Party Favors: For a small gathering this would work well to gift small cookies, closed with lid and labeled.

Olives: variety of olives with tongs or olive fork in each jar

Cheese and Bread: Include variety of cubed cheeses, pretzel rods.


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