Thursday, June 17, 2010

Canning Jars

Since I am done mulching the garden the next step is to prepare for the canning of the garden. Hopefully I haven't jinxed myself and it will produce something!  But I digress, I have been organizing jars.  Normally they just get taken into the basement and put willy nilly on a shelf.  So I have been sorting them into pints and quarts/ regular or large mouth.  I have also been condensing what jams/jellies/beans/etc sare till left on the shelves from last year.  This will determine if I bother with somethings.  For instance I still have some jars of currant jelly.  I moved the currant bushes this Spring.  I didn't expect a large harvest and now it doesn't matter.  They are now off the priority list.  If they get picked, that is wonderful but if there are 1000+1 more things that need doing I won't be upset if the birds take them and save some jars for something I don't have.  On the other hand I only have one jar of hot pepper mustand and three of salsa so I know I have to make even more this year.

If I remember I canned over 600 jars last year so I need to know I have enough for this year.  Not everyone is nice enough to return the jars.  They just toss them into the trash.  I found this poem that will be attached to all gifted jars from here on out....

My Canning Jar~
To some it's just a little jar,
To me it's so much more.
I have to go in search of these,
From store, to store, to store.
I fill them up and give them free,
With fruits and so much more.
I wish that I could get them free,
But canning jars don't grow on trees.
I've worked real hard to fill them up,
And it has been such fun.
`Twould be a special gift to me,
If returned when you are done.

I don't know who wrote it but kudos to them!!!  I love getting calls from friends asking if I would be interested in canning jars that their cousin, sister, uncle or friend found in the basement, garage or barn  Heck yeah!  I never turn down a canning jar...or recipe books.  In the boxes there usually ends up being old mustard, coffee or mayonaisse jars.  I know the screw bands fit on the mayo jars but I don't trust them so I take these to recycling.
Sometimes there are old juice jars.  I tend to keep a few of these on hand and take the rest to recycling.
Other times they end up being the old jars with the wire bales. 
I don't use these to can with but I do use them to store buttons, marbles, baking soda/powder, cocoa etc.  If the jars are very old, or colors like blue or amber I keep them for storage also and use the zinc lids with porcelain lining that usually come with the boxes of jars.
So far as cookbooks, I read recently that you need to have cookbooks written prior to the 1970's to find things made entirely from scratch.  Luckily I have been given or bought at yardsale and thrift stores alot of them.

I may not make use of some of the butchering part of most of the older cookbooks but they do still have some good recipes.
The older canning books have a lot of great recipes and you can see how preserving has changed over the years. And boy have they changed since 1918!  I use the newest editions (2009) to give me precise cooking times and best ways to preserve but keep the old for some information in them that is not available in the newer books.
Each year I learn more and more about canning...and cooking for that matter.  This year I want to learn to can more soups so on busy days I just have to pop a lid off.  I would also like to learn to can some meat so I can lower my electric bill by turning off one of the freezers.  Actually, I remember seeing a turkey in one of the freezers so I think I might start with that.  No time like the present to learn while it is still cool out.  And if you have jars put them on  as there are plenty of people like me willing to save them from the dump.

1 comment:

Sandie Knapp said...

I love your little canning poem. And I know exactly how you fell too. I can't count all of the canning jars that I have "lost" because I gave them, filled with goodies, as gifts and never saw them again. I very rarely share them now.

It has been a very long time since I came close to filling 600 jars. That is a lot of canning. It's so nice to be "younger" and to have the energy and stamina to do that. Enjoy it while you have it.

I wish you a very successful canning season this year.

By the way, my tomato plants and cucumbers are doing great so far. I am thrilled. I hope yours are doing well also.