Vanilla Sugar

It’s been a couple of years now that I’ve been buying my vanilla beans in bulk. It’s so wonderful to have them on hand for any recipe that calls for vanilla, and to see those gorgeous flecks of vanilla bean speckled throughout whatever it is I’ve made. I take pride in making my own vanilla extract, such better quality than the stuff from the store, and so much more economical. $5 for a little bottle…say whaaaa?

But, I think my favorite thing to do with them is also one of the most simple. Whenever I have used beans in which I’ve scraped the seeds from, I toss the spent pods into a Mason Jar filled with sugar. There’s still lots of great flavor in the beans, and it infuses the sugar with all the deliciousness of the vanilla. It’s absolutely wonderful stirred into a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Makes a wonderful vanilla simple syrup. On top of creme brûlée, or anything brûléed for that matter. Not to mention it looks so pretty sitting on my pantry shelf…

Don’t you just love these limited edition Ball Heritage Jars? Mason jars have always been my go-to for food storage in the kitchen – so useful and practical. But these gorgeous jars that Ball has come out with for their 100th anniversary are just simply lovely to look at! I’ve always loved the old jars with the blue tint, and enjoy seeking them out at yard sales and flea markets. But to have some that are actually usable? So cool! The good folks at Ball have offered to give a case (set of 6 pint jars with lids) away to a lucky reader. To enter, just leave a comment telling us what’s your favorite use for a Ball jar? In the kitchen, or anywhere. Contest runs today through June 26th at 11:59 PM EST. 

Disclaimer: I received a case of Ball Heritage pint jars to review at no cost. As always, all opinions are my own.

61 Comments

  1. Mara
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

    I use Ball jars for EVERYTHING. I drink just about exclusively out of Ball mason jars, they store things in my refrigerator and pantry, I use them as flower vases and to store hair ties in the bathroom… literally everything! The blue ones are just beautiful!

  2. melinda s.
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

    Love to buy things in bulk (example: oats or flour) and I store the bulk items in jars for our pantry. Plus I do enjoy canning…love to make strawberry/blueberry jam…need jars for those!

  3. Posted June 19, 2013 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

    This is not a food use , but i have a Jar of keepsakes from when my now grown son was a boy , It includes a butterfly he found , and other treasures that would not have kept , if not in a mason jar . It is like having a time capsule of his childhood on my cupboard , and it warms my heart and makes me smile every time I walk past and see it .

  4. Posted June 19, 2013 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

    My favorite way to use Ball jars. The large ones can’t be beat for fresh fruit, herbs or spice infusions of rum, tequila or vodka. The smaller ones? To drink the resultant cocktails from, of course! Ball jars just make them even better!

  5. Kelly
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

    I use my ball jar for a keepsake..went to the beach for my 50th Birthday and collected sand..shells and rocks to put in the jar.now I have a great reminder of fhat special day!

  6. Kate
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    I’m trying to use glass instead of plastic so I’m increasingly using them for everything, right now I’m staying where I don’t have any & what I miss them most for is leftovers.

  7. Posted June 19, 2013 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

    I keep forgetting to buy extra vanilla pods just for this purpose! Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  8. Michelle McLane
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    I use Ball jars as storage for baking ingredients — various flours and sugars. I remove the labels from the original packaging and cut it to fit under the ring, so I always know the contents of each jar.

  9. Shanna Watson
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

    My fav use is for illumination! Jar + sand + votive = beautiful tabletop decoration!

  10. Emilia Neudorff
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

    I love using Ball jars for making jam and preserves, applesauce, and have even baked pumpkin spice breads inside of them for gifts during the holiday seasons! I love all the sizes of the jars, and even have some antique ones, too!

  11. Posted June 19, 2013 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

    I use ball jars for…. layered salads in the fridge!

  12. Rebecca Roehl
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    My favorite use for ball jars is just for drinking…but I use them for everything from canning to decoration 🙂

  13. Wendi Gratrix
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    My vintage blue Ball jars are just right for Mojitos on the deck…will also put up blueberry jam later this year.

  14. Jan
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    I use Ball jars for lots of gifts at Christmas time, but my favorite use for them is storing homemade creme fraiche.

  15. Sadie
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

    Those are so pretty. I sue my jars for storage. Chocolate chips, coconut shavings, etc. They are great for salad on the go too.

  16. Posted June 19, 2013 at 3:52 PM | Permalink

    i use jars for all sorts of things. i store beans, rice, etc. in the 1/2 gal. ball jars. love love love those! i use quarts for smaller storage. i use pints, 1/2 pints, 1/4 pints for all things canning. i even recycle the jars that are no longer able to be used for canning . i think ball is doing a great thing giving us the blue jars, and i would love to get them. not available here in grays harbor yet.

  17. Posted June 19, 2013 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    I use Ball jars to can all summer long!

  18. Sharon B.
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

    I love my Ball jars for everything! I have just recently started using them all over the house for various things! Still love them for Jam though!

  19. Posted June 19, 2013 at 4:15 PM | Permalink

    Embarrassingly, I don’t own any (yet), but I’d love to serve up some root beer floats in them!

  20. Posted June 19, 2013 at 4:37 PM | Permalink

    I use them to hold leftovers, lacto-ferment homemade salsa and giardinera and pickled garlic, store lentils, infuse flavored vodkas (strawberry-cinnamon!!) and herbal bitters, bring salads along with me for lunch, mix up salad dressings, and to make cold-infused cardamom simple syrup for lemonade in the summer. I could keep going, here…

  21. Jenny
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

    I’ve been using Ball jars as storage for my almonds, pecans, etc. in my pantry. So much easier to get at them than the original bags they came in, and it looks so much nicer too!

  22. Posted June 19, 2013 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

    This vanilla sugar sounds delicious! My favorite thing to use a ball jar for is to drink out of, with a straw! Love it! I have been searching high and low for these blue jars ever since you put them on instagram!! Beautiful!

  23. MelodyJ
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

    I store Homemade bath salts and craft supplies.

  24. Louis
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 6:22 PM | Permalink

    I use them for jam.

  25. Meryl
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 6:22 PM | Permalink

    I’d keep baking ingredients in there, such as chocolate chips.

  26. Tiffany
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 6:34 PM | Permalink

    I use Ball jars for all kinds of things – to store my homemade caramel sauce, vanilla sugar and jams. I also love using them as memory jars for my baby boy – we have one from his first trip to the park, and will make one this weekend for his first trip to the beach.

  27. Posted June 19, 2013 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

    Hello! Is the contest open to residents outside the States?
    Anyway, my favourite use for ball jars is as smoothie glasses or to store diverse jams (especially fig jam, yum!) x

    • Posted June 20, 2013 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

      Let me double check with the sponsor, but I’m thinking it probably is US Residents only. Will let you know, thanks!

  28. MeganM
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 8:19 PM | Permalink

    My favorite use is for drinking out of but gosh they’re great for almost anything!

  29. Deborah
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 11:53 PM | Permalink

    I use them for all sorts of things, to store baking ingredients, sewing equipment, vases, jams, curd, make up brushes, and many other things ????

  30. Teri H
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 12:08 AM | Permalink

    I can tomatoes and jam every year. I also have a very old jar filled with pestosky stones from a vacation with my hubby.

  31. Heidi
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 12:57 AM | Permalink

    I like to use them to make salads to go. Or to take an iced coffee to work with me!

  32. Posted June 20, 2013 at 7:20 AM | Permalink

    I lobe the blue tint on these! I use the ball jars for everything-food storage, as drinking glasses but my favorite is to display flowers!

  33. Posted June 20, 2013 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

    Ok, this looks stunning! But also, super tasty! I love using vanilla sugar in everything! And giving it out for Christmas gifts too but I think maybe it’s just a tad early for that… 🙂

  34. Vanieca
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    I use them to store everything, but really love them for making homemade vanilla extract.

  35. Amanda
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

    I like to use them to make my lunch salads for the week, just layer everything in and it stays super fresh and is easy to grab on the run!

  36. Alicia
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

    Love Ball jars! I take them to the grocery store & fill them with bulk items for my pantry – just make sure you ask them to tare it for you. Saves a plastic bag & it’s so much easier to find things in the cabinet!

  37. tc
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

    I love to use my Ball jars for making kimchi. 🙂

  38. Posted June 20, 2013 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

    I love to bring them with breakfast or lunch fixings to work–portable, won’t spill, and can be heated easily!

  39. Jay
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 7:44 PM | Permalink

    I just love to use these to store homemade jams and to place them strategically arounds the house filled with fresh faced daisies.

  40. Ashley
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 10:04 PM | Permalink

    What can’t you use them for? Each season is different from storing fresh cut herbs and flowers. My simple syrup for my new summer fav blackberry puree captain and ginger. At Christmas they are perfect for homemade body scrubs. Holding silverware at parties wrapped in pretty ribbons.

    So many things.

  41. Jenny G
    Posted June 21, 2013 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

    My favorite use of Ball jars… I use them to make Overnight Steel Cut Oats in the fridge! Add ingredients, screw on a lid and pop them in the refrigerator – Breakfast is ready and waiting for you in the morning! 🙂

  42. Kristen
    Posted June 21, 2013 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

    My favorite use of mason jars are for flowers!

  43. Jacki
    Posted June 21, 2013 at 7:03 PM | Permalink

    I love the blue colors of the jars!

    I use mason jars for many things, but currently my favorite use is making overnight oats in the fridge. I put a small scoop of steel cut oats, cover it with almond milk, and then add whatever flavors I want… cocoa powder, nut butter, sliced bananas, strawberry jam… then in the morning I nuke it in the microwave, and eat it with a spoon on my way to work. So simple!

  44. Susan
    Posted June 21, 2013 at 8:50 PM | Permalink

    I use the jars for flowers, actually. I’m sure I’m not alone. (I also use them for pickles but flowers are my favorite)….Thanks for the chance to win!

  45. Shannon C
    Posted June 21, 2013 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

    I keep leftover hummus and stuff like that in them.

  46. Debbie
    Posted June 23, 2013 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    I love using Ball mason jars for so many things. One of my most common things is for storing the “spice tea” mix that I mix up during winter-time. It looks pretty in the glass jar and is so easy to store. They are so good for leftovers in the fridge too.

    I have made the cakes in a jar too-what a fun treat. I have several ideas for layered deserts pinned on my pinterest board. I would love to have a new case and I would get busy making some of those deserts for friends or a party!!

    Love the recipe for vanilla sugar – thanks! Vanilla beans is on my shopping list today!

  47. Posted June 24, 2013 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

    I love canning tomatoes in the summer with Ball jars.

  48. Posted June 24, 2013 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    I love seeing my students bring them in their lunchboxes to drink their mama’s tea out of!

  49. Bern
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    My favorite uses of mason jars are for homemade puddings, jams, and of course summer cocktails 😉

  50. Maryellen
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    Of course I use then but lately we have started using them of all kinds of things, Short flowers yes, my raw sugar mixed with Stevia for my husbands coffee, in fact he used my last jar for some Moonshine a friend at work made him. lol I need to buy some more. I love blue glass as it is my very favorite so I will purchase some of these.

  51. Posted June 24, 2013 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

    I love using Ball canning jars for canning applesauce. 🙂
    These blue jars are so beautiful, they look like they would match the paint in my kitchen.

  52. Kim Cianciolo
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    I don’t own any, but if I did, I would certainly have many uses for them…serving beverages poolside, a vase for my hydrangeas and shasta daisies, utensil holders for outdoor picnics…the possibilities are endless!!!

  53. Morgan
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    The blue jars would make lovely light fixture!

  54. Sarah
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    I’m a canner and my favorite thing to can is string beans.

  55. Liz Blunt
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

    I use Ball jars to hold my vanilla sugared pecans – and I give them to friends!

  56. Mary
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 11:20 PM | Permalink

    My favorite uses for Ball jars are a BBQ Sundae with a Mason Dixon to drink!! Yum!

  57. Tatum
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    These blue Mason jars are gorgeous! Mason jars remind me of many memories from childhood. My grandparents used them for canning, serving sweet tea, & storing leftovers in. One of my favorite uses for them brings back memories of my dad. He always made Coke or Root Beer floats in them. A scoop of vanilla, a pouring of your favorite pop, & a straw makes for a delightful Mason jar dessert/beverage. A modern use for these in the home, is to get an lED tea light in the bottom. I would use them outside by the pool, on the porch, or around my garden tub!

  58. Posted June 25, 2013 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

    I love to give my homemade gifts away in Ball jars – – everything from candles to layered bean soup mixes. I’ve even used itty bitty jelly jars as jewelry “boxes.” Their uses are limitless! I have one on my dining room table filled with dried hydrangeas, and one in my bedroom for my husband’s change.II’d love to have some of the blue Heritage Ball jars!

  59. rachel
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

    As a vase — especially for wedding showers!

  60. jonquils
    Posted October 7, 2014 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

    I’ll be filling up mason jars with vanilla sugar, cake & cookie mixes and wrapping them with copper hangers to make flower & tealight holders for our clubhouse boutique. It is nice to use mason jars instead of plastic. I make vanilla extract in them & will decant it into 2 oz. bottles to sell at the boutique. I absolutely love mason jars. I’m so glad a lot of us do.

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