Jars, part 1

a small part of the collection

I bought a case or two of canning jars several years ago, before I started canning, to store dry goods in my pantry. Since I started canning my collection has exploded.  At last count I have more than 250 jars in the house.

At the beginning of the summer, many of these (200?) are empty and sitting on a shelf in the basement, waiting for canning season to begin. By October, they’re all full!

Apart from canning, here’s what I use jars for:

1. Food storage in the pantry. You can see what’s in the jar, and how much of it you have, because of the measurements along the side. You can use jars to buy the grains and beans (and spices and syrup and honey and dish soap and powdered buttermilk and panko) you buy in bulk at the natural foods store. Pantry moths can’t get into a jar!

2. Food storage in the refrigerator. Leftover soup goes in a jar, but so does a batch of iced coffee, or half a lemon.

3. Food storage in the freezer. This is a little tricky because the glass can shatter if you’re not careful. I mostly freeze things in wide mouth pint jars, because as soon as the food is slightly thawed, it will slide right out. If you use other kinds of jars, you have to be patient and wait for the food to thaw–or take your chances with breakage, and stick the frozen jar in a bowl of water or put it in the microwave (really, don’t do this.  Even if your jar doesn’t break, the glass is weakened and it might break next time).  And leave space in the jar, and don’t screw the lid down very tightly–you need to allow the liquid to expand.

4. Taking food to work. I walk a mile to work, so a plastic container full of soup carries a lot of risk of spillage. Not so in a jar. My lunch bag is a lot heavier and bigger than most, but I don’t mind.  Any food that fits can be carried in a jar. Yogurt and fruit. Carrot sticks. Salad. Tortilla chips! Screw you, zip-loc!

3 thoughts on “Jars, part 1

  1. you have more than this to say about jars? can’t wait for the next installment.

    i have a little jar fixation. i mean, a fixation on little jars. fancy little jelly jars, that kind of thing. pretty, and as you say, you can use ’em for anything.

    i use really ordinary mason jars to bring soup to work every day for lunch. i do microwave it in the jar, and then eat it from the jar. jar jar jar!

  2. Another use for wide mouth jars for the freezer: storing frozen chunks of pureed homemade baby food. I wish I had thought of this before I just bought some tupperware for that purpose.

    Also, (and this is totally a compliment) you are reminding me of Andy Rooney. I saw on 60 minutes a tribute to him as he goes off the air. His son called him “the chronicler of the particular”, and I would like to apply that to your coverage of the jars. Keep it comin’

    Have you any information about the lids of bell jars (or others) containing BPA? If they do, are you concerned about this? I suppose if the food doesn’t touch it, then it would be okay? What do you think?

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