The busiest time of year for canning is coming quicker than we think.It is time to take stock and inventory of what's left from last summers canning ,count and look over the jars and the other supplies needed for canning.
I went out a week or so ago and looked through the jars that are still full of last summer/falls efforts,things are still looking pretty good.We have 2 jars of Strawberry Jam left which is fine since June/July the berries will be back in season.We have 6-8 jars of Apple Butter left,these will hold us until Apple season.Sadly we are out of the Applesauce.Last fall I peeled apples until my fingers were numb,this year it looks like I will need to up my volume and make sure I have help with the peeling.We also have plenty of Pickles and Kraut until we can these again in the fall.Overall I am happy.I think I have finally worked out the numbers to get enough canned for a years worth of things.20 pounds Strawberries, 40 some pounds of Apples will need to be increased,25 pounds Cabbage, 50 pounds Cucumbers plus whatever else I can come up with to can. We are also using the last jar of the Thai Sweet Chili Sauce Sol and I canned but that can be made year round, I just need to make some more soon.
I have not gone through my jars yet to check them for chips or cracks.I am lazy and do this as I need them on canning days.But on the other hand I do need to look at how many smaller sized jars I have.I have it in my head I need more of them but when I look in the pantry it seems like I have a ton of boxes with empty jars.This year I would like to make up more smaller jars to have on hand for gifts or to send home with people.
What really got me thinking about canning and supplies was Chris over at Lost Arts Kitchen posted (not on her blog) about Tattler's Reusable Canning Jar Lids, . I was really excited to see these because I have been wanting to find some and here they are no BPA and reusable! My excitement was short lived though,the prices are a bit steep for us right now mainly because I would need so many of them.The regular mouthed jar lids were $20.95 and the wide mouthed ones were $23.95 both come in boxes of 3 dozen. Over time the lids would pay for themselves and have the added bonus of no toxic crap in them but right now is not the time for this purchase.I have bookmarked the site and will try and buy one box at a time until I have enough.
I really did not want to give up on reusable canning lids so I did a BUNCH of surfing around.You know how it can be,you start looking for one thing then something catches your eye and now you are over here.It's how I have found a few of my favorite blogs. Anyhow.... I started at Lehman's , canning supply page and saw their Euro canning jars,Lehman's did not list the maker but I am pretty sure they are from Weck.
Finally I have been looking at these jars at Sur La Table for a while now and this summer I am adding a few of them to my stash of jars.
Someday in the future I would like to try a few of the European type of canning jars that have the clamps that hold the lid ( which if I am remembering right are reusable.) in place.There's one more link covering how to get started with canning and in it there is an answer about using the euro type jars that I thought was clever. In the list of resources for this article are a few more links geared towards learning to can (I like Food In Jars.)
Even though I was all over looking at "designer" canning jars my favorite way to buy them is used from thrift stores and yard sales.They can be pretty cheap and if it's an estate sale they can be abundant.When buying used jars be sure to check for cracks in the jar and check the rims for chips.Chips in the rim will not allow the jar to seal properly when you can with it.
I never did find another source for reusable canning lids so if anyone out there knows of one please let me know.
This evening I go to the HOA meeting.I have been trying to think of other questions people may ask and have a few in my head that were fairly common when I worked at Urban Farm.I think I am ready,I'll let all of you know how it went and the questions that were asked.