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a mason jar containing a pink smoothie on a wooden kitchen table next to a blue jug of yellow daffodils and a checked napkin

10 Ways to Use a Kilner Jar at Your Bed and Breakfast

breakfast running a bed and breakfast Feb 29, 2024

Last September, I went on a decluttering marathon. I still can't believe, as the messiest person I know,  that I managed to keep my untidiness hidden from my B&B guests and hotel inspectors for 17 years!

Our work surfaces were pretty cluttered because our cupboards and drawers were filled with items I hardly used! So, I committed to a minimum of 30 minutes of decluttering each day, tackling the mess in small, manageable steps. The progress I made in a month was amazing. In fact thinking about this, I may have to set myself a new decluttering goal for March.

The most challenging items for me to recycle were my Kilner jars and small mixing bowls. I admit that I have a bit of an obsession with them, and running a B&B allowed me to fuel this "jar and bowl" habit, almost guilt-free.

This habit wasn't helped by our local supermarket in Shropshire, Tuffins, which has a whole aisle dedicated to kitchen utensils. Almost half of it is filled with a wide variety of Kilner jars and bowls of all shapes and sizes.

So the most difficult part of my decluttering process was parting with my jars. And it's not just Kilner and Mason jars, but also repurposed jars that once held food items - the bigger or more uniquely shaped, the better. My favourites include Bonne Maman jam jars and Lucy Bee Coconut Oil jars.

If you share a similar obsession, this blog post is for you. Kilner jars and other similar jars are incredibly useful when running a B&B. Hopefully, this post will help alleviate the guilt of purchasing yet another jar…

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1. Display your homemade or store-bought cereals

If you make your own granola or muesli, or if you want an attractive way to display store-bought cereals, large Kilner jars are the perfect solution! You can also add stickers with a use-by date at the bottom of the jar so you'll know when to empty and clean the jar.

Check out my granola recipe here >> Karen's Homemade Granola Recipe

πŸ‘©‍πŸ’»Karen’s Tip

For guests with specific allergies, such as gluten, I always purchase sealed packets of gluten-free cereal. Even if the contents of the Kilner jar are gluten-free, there's always a risk of cross-contamination as guests use the same scoop for different jars.

2. Create individual breakfast "desserts"

You could prepare individual servings of bircher muesli (also known as overnight oats), yogurt, granola, and compote cups or cut up fruit. These can be placed on the buffet table or individual tables. This is particularly useful for guests with allergies, and it was also ideal during the post-COVID lockdown period.

For guests who wanted breakfast in their room because they were leaving early, I would use the same jars to leave breakfast outside their room door first thing in the morning, or put it in their room fridge.

Check out my overnight oats recipe here >> Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds and Kefir

3. Keep your homemade biscuits fresh

If you make your own homemade biscuits for guests, or leave them sweets or chocolates, or even buy shop bought biscuits, it can be a dilemma knowing what to store them in.
I would put my homemade shortbread in a small stubby Kilner jar which I’d refill daily.

Check out my homemade shortbread biscuit recipe here >> Karen's Homemade Shortbread Recipe

4. Store bathroom soaps

Large jars are an ideal solution for storing bathroom soaps or other complimentary toiletry items for guests.

5. Use as vases for flowers

I’m a rustic type of girl when it comes to decorating, and whilst I have a few purpose made vases, I much prefer to see a bunch of flowers arranged in a Mason Jar or jam jar than a more formal arrangement.
This works particularly well when you have a pretty posy of wildflowers and the small Kilner jars work perfectly for the short stemmed smaller flowers that first appear in spring in your garden.

6. Decant flour, sugar, etc., into jars to keep fresh and clean

Once you’ve opened packets of flour etc, it can be difficult to know what to do with the contents to keep them fresh and free of insects.

Before opening the B&B we once scooped up a tablespoon of ground coffee out of a jar whose lid was on but not secured. About to pour the coffee into the cafetiere, it started moving, resembling something out of a sci-fi movie. With horror, we watched as 8 large  legs started feeling their way slowly out of the coffee…

Again, make sure to put a label with the sell by date on the bottom of the jar so you know when the contents are reaching their best before date.

πŸ‘©‍πŸ’»Karen’s Tip

It’s a good idea to have a few spare jars, so that once the contents are getting close to their use by date, you can start a new jar rather than just refilling and letting the bottom ½ inch get older and older!

I also use store dried pasta, lentils etc in kilner jars once the packet is opened, with a label on the side with cooking times as a reminder.

7. Use for leftover baked beans in the fridge

If you serve tinned food for guests at breakfast, such as baked beans, and you have leftovers, the general advice is to transfer them from the can to a bowl. I use a small, clean Kilner jar for this purpose.

They are also perfect for storing homemade yoghurt, buttermilk, pancake mix and more!

πŸ‘©‍πŸ’»Karen’s Tip

You can buy chalkboard style labels and chalk pens which can be wiped off and written on several times, these are ideal for recording the date that you put food into the fridge and the use by date. FInd Chalkboard Labels and Chalk Pens on Amazon >> Chalkboard Labels

8. Sprout your own healthy breakfast garnish

If you're looking for a green garnish for your breakfast dishes, sprouted seeds are a healthy option!

They would work perfectly on avocado toast or herby mushrooms!
I used to faff around with muslin and rubber bands but I’ve recently discovered these tops designed for sprouting seeds in mason jars - perfect >> Sprouting Jar Mason Lids 

Check out my favourite vegetarian breakfast recipes here >> 5 Easy vegetarian recipes

9. Grow your own sourdough starter

I have just made another sourdough starter - I’ll admit I’ve killed a few in my time. So I won’t be naming this one or getting attached to it too soon. When I make a sourdough starter I prefer using a Kilner jar with the rubber ring removed and the lid loosely attached for the starter process, as this allows any built-up gases to escape.

When I was running the B&B, I found I just didn’t have the time to make my own sourdough for the B&B. But these days we eat far less bread, so I’m going to give it another go. Read my blog with hints and tips on making sourdough for your B&B 

I used to use my breadmaker to make bread for the B&B. Find my recipe here >> How to enjoy freshly baked bread every morning

10. Use for guest supper platters

My in-room supper platters were always a huge hit with my B&B guests. And I made liberal use of Kilner and other mason style jars of various sizes for storing coleslaw, pickled cucumber, pate, grapes etc etc.

You’ll get the idea in this blog post about how to create a luxury smoked fish platter for your guests >> Luxury Fish Platter

11.  Create your own fermented foods

The perfect addition to your guest supper platters would be some homemade sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables. These tend to be pretty expensive to buy in the shops, but are very easy, and cheap, to make yourself.

Because I was going to save all that money not buying store bought kimchi and kraut, I treated myself to a Masontops Mason Jar Fermentation Kit, to turn my Mason Jars into fermenting jars!

If you're new to fermenting, then this book, Fermented Vegetables, is my current favourite.

Ok so to finish up, Kilner jars provide a practical, and aesthetically pleasing solution for various kitchen and B&B needs. Whether you're storing cereals, preparing individual breakfasts, keeping biscuits fresh, or even storing bathroom soaps, these jars prove to be invaluable. They also serve as a unique touch for decorating with flowers or sprouting seeds for a healthy garnish. The key is to remember to label your jars appropriately and ensure the contents are always fresh for your guests. So, drop the guilt and pop off to the shop and buy a new one, because there is no such thing as "Too many jars"!

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