Mason Jar Lunches (Ulysses Press, 2017) by Jessica Harlan reinvents meal prepping; she shows her readers how to use mason jars to pack healthy on-the-go meals in perfect portions. Harlan takes all of your favorite recipes and customizes them to fit into a fast-paced lifestyle with mason jars. In the following excerpt, she explains the many benefits of meal prepping with mason jars.
There are plenty of reasons why mason jars make the perfect lunch container—here are the top ten:
1. They’re inexpensive. A set of two pint-sized (16-ounce) mason jars can be purchased for under 10 dollars.
2. They’re readily available. You can find canning jars at supermarkets, kitchenware stores, discount stores, or online. You can even find vintage jars at flea markets and antique stores.
3. They’re easy to clean. Glass does not stain or retain flavors or odors, and it’s dishwasher safe!
4. They’re safe. People who are worried about storing food in plastic can rest easy with mason jars. Glass is an inert substance, so it will not leach chemicals into food, even when heated.
5. They’re environmentally friendly. Unless it breaks, a glass jar can be used for ages without deteriorating. And when you’re finished with it, it can be recycled easily. In fact, glass can be recycled an infinite number of times without losing its quality.
6. They’re practical. Glass mason jars can be refrigerated, frozen, or microwaved, although they can crack if subjected to sudden changes in temperature.
7. They’re portable. A pint-sized jar, which is the right size for most of the recipes in this book, is only about 5 inches tall and 3-1/2 inches wide. It’s easy enough to pack into a purse or a backpack. If you’re worried about it breaking, wrap it in a tea towel, which can double as a place mat at your desk.
8. They’re versatile. Mason jars are perfect for containing any sort of food, from cook-in-the-jar oatmeal to salad to dessert. And extra jars can be used for many more purposes than packing lunch. In my house, I use mason jars as drinking glasses, toothbrush holders, mini planters, pencil holders, and more.
9. They’re great for storage. Glass jars are good for storing foods in the refrigerator or pantry, particularly since they’re airtight and watertight. They’ll hold the layers of a salad or composed meal intact, and because they’re clear, you can easily see what’s inside. You can even use a dry-erase marker to label them on the side or the lid.
10. They’re trendy. Thanks to their versatility coupled with their retro design, mason jars are quickly becoming iconic. So pat yourself on the back—you are right on the cutting edge!
Reprinted with permission from Mason Jar Lunches: 50 Pretty, Portable Packed Lunches (2017), by Jessica Harlan and published by Ulysses Press.
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