I miss having parties. Mostly I miss the party food. I will take any excuse to make and eat festive foods, appetizers specifically. As things slowly return to normal, I started to think about my beloved appetizers and how we can enjoy them as we move forward. While scrolling Pinterest during the holidays, I saw a charcuterie place with fancy meat and cheese platters separated into individual containers. It got me thinking, how can I make unique appetizers? After a more in-depth dive, I learned they are called jar-cuterie.
Want to learn all about jar-cuterie and how to make appetizers portable for social distancing?
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What is Jar-Cuterie?
Meat and cheese boards, also known as charcuterie, are all the rage nowadays. People have taken them beyond meat and dairy and have created hot chocolate boards, dessert boards, even candy boards. We here at The Kitchen Chalkboard brought it to breakfast with a Make-ahead Pancake Board. Jar-cuterie is an individual version of those platters, most often made in a jar, hence the name.
The wonderful thing about the jar-cuterie concept is that the options are endless. You can fill them with anything that fits. They are portable, and you can line the bottom with any sauce or dip, which makes them the perfect appetizer for during a pandemic and beyond. My kids LOVED them, and they contain any mess! Have I convinced you to make your own? Let’s learn how.
How To Make A Jar-Cuterie
What Jars To Use For Jar-Cuterie
You want to start with the base, and here I used small mason jars. They are affordable, dishwasher safe, and look great. I have seen other people make cones out of paper, but you can’t put a dip inside them, and they are fussy to make. When buying the mason jars, be sure to pick the small, wide-mouth version. The regular-sized ones are too big, and that makes it too difficult to reach in to get your food.
These are the ones I used. When I am not making jar-cuteries in them, they are great for storing any leftovers. The glass is an excellent alternative to single-use plastics, which I am slowly trying to ditch
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How To Fill A Jar-Cuterie
Now that you have the container, it’s time to fill them up! Now is the time to be creative; the possibilities are limitless. I moved beyond what you would see on a meat and cheese board and put appetizers in the jars.
- Have a theme. It doesn’t need to be cutesy; just think about what pairs well together. Veggies and dip, charcuterie, dessert, the possibilities are endless. You just don’t want to have salami with chicken tenders.
- Start at the bottom. Fill the jar with small snacking foods (like grapes, marshmallows, raisins, etc.) or dips first. They act as an anchor to hold the other items in place. Also, think about sauces. You are trying to make a contained food, so if there is a sauce that traditionally accompanies your food, place it in the container’s bottom. I found that two tablespoons are the right amount.
- Work your way up. You want foods of varying heights for visual interest. You can add height by putting foods on toothpicks or cutting them in ways that make them longer. If you use toothpicks, feel free to combine items that are usually eaten together, like meats and cheeses. You don’t want a ton of toothpicks in the jar. The used ones get in the way.
- Place them on a tray, and wow your friends and family!
Tips For Jar-Cuterie Success
- You don’t want to use anything that will get soggy. I found that thin potato chips do this in dips as well as tortilla chips in salsa. Pick thicker potato chips and opt for guacamole over salsa.
- Don’t use too many toothpicks. They get annoying and cumbersome. Feel free to combine items on one toothpick.
- Prep your food to fit into the jars. Long spears work best for vegetables. Smaller ones get stuck in the containers and are tougher to eat.
- Don’t fill your jars with anything that isn’t edible. Decorations are cute but, where do you put them when you want to eat? Save the props for other places.
- Don’t overfill the jars. Too much food makes it hard to eat. People can always grab another jar.
- If you want to learn about which cheeses to pick, the Modern Proper has an informative guide.
Ideas For Jar-Cuterie And Appetizers In A Jar
- Italian meats and cheeses
- Vegetables and hummus
- Vegetables and ranch dressing
- Chicken Tenders with BBQ sauce
- Chicken Tenders with honey mustard
- Chicken Tenders with Chik Fil-A Sauce
- Chicken tenders with ketchup
- Mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce
- Dumplings with soy sauce
- Truffle popcorn
- Potato skins with sour cream
- Tortilla chips with guacamole
- Tortilla chips with seven-layer dip
- Tortilla chips with queso
- Fruit with melted chocolate
- Fruit with cannoli dip
- Fruit with caramel
What Do You Think?
Have you tried jar-cuterie? If so, what did you include? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to hear.
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