Saturday, June 16, 2012

Old School

SM is a talker.  He'll gab about life with just about anyone.  A social butterfly.  This serves him well when he's out on client calls.  If the person he's chatting with has a garden then he gets to gabbing about that.  We've gotten wonderful tips from the locals.  Everyone loves to talk about their gardens.

And if he's talking with an older lady who has a garden, generally speaking, you've got someone who preserves her harvests and then canning becomes a topic of converstion.

I've personally only bought about 4 dozen mason jars.  Everything else has been given to us.  Last year for example, SM came across a fellow whose Mother had died and she had TONS of jars in her basement.  SM said he's take them and "TaDa!"...Free jars for his aspiring canning wife to play with.

Same thing happened last week.  SM ends up talking with an older lady in our hometown who'd stopped gardening and canning and was more than happy to give her jars to SM and I.  Woo Hoo!  Free jars!

So we went over to her house last Saturday morning.  She had boxes piled high in her carport.  SM and I went and loaded them into my Jeep, chatting with the lady the whole time about gardens and canning. 

Most of the boxes had lids on them but the last few didn't and I caught a look at the jars and realized that these weren't mason jars. 

I caught SM's eye and said to him under my breath so she couldn't hear me..."These aren't mason jars.  I can't use these."

SM, his hands full of a box of jars, just widened his eyes at me and said very softly "Don't".

I got the hint loud and clear. 

Sometimes you just have to leave things alone so as not to offend.  This sweet lady felt that she was giving me a gift of jars that she'd been using for years and years.  "Tomatoes" and "Green Beans" were written on the lids of some of the boxes.  They all worked for her.  So of course they'll work for me!

Old school canning. 

Back in the day you could use any jar that a lid, ring and rubber would fit on.  And I'm pretty sure it worked too!  As long as it sealed, it was a keeper.

It's just that these days using any old jar is NOT recommended.  And since I'm fairly new at the canning game, I opt not to bend the rules.  Mason jars only for me.

(Yes, I cross my T's and dot my i's...Hey that's a good slogan!  My name is Tami after all @;)

Anyway, we thanked her for her gift and she told me she had TONS of pint jars in the crawlspace under her house.  I regretfully told her that I wasn't big into jellies and jams and that the quart jars would suit us just fine.  "Thanks again!"

 As it is, the jars ended up rattling around in the back of my Jeep all last week.  We were busy enough with the carpet install early in the week and then the Jeeps battery died and SM had to replace THAT and then the terminals on the battery needed to be replaced so he kept the Jeep home for a few days to work on it.

Friday morning is trash day around here and I made a mental note to pull all the boxes out and place them curbside for the recycling guy to come and pick up.  I assumed everything would be tossed.  Just to be sure though, I pulled the jars out and eyeballed them.  The first 2 boxes were nothing but regular old jars.  Pickel jars I call them.  

On the third box though I hit paydirt.  Mason jars...Ball and Kerr.  Now these I can use.

So after everything was said and done it was about a 50/50 haul.  About 6 dozen Mason jars for me and about 6 dozen pickel jars heading to the trash.

The recycling guy must have took the pickle jars cause when I came home they weren't curbside anymore.  SM brought the Mason jars into the house for me to do a handwash and inspection on the rims this weekend. 

So not a bad ending after all considering we helped this lady clean out her crawlspace.

Do any of you use regular old jars for canning?


  1. Tami - If you purchase new lids, why can't you use the "pickle" jars? I do :}

    But - nice haul - lucky you!

  2. Yay! Free stuff rocks. Six dozen is a nice haul. I am extremely nervous about canning, to the point that I am paranoid. When I do work up the nerve to start canning I would do exactly what you did. Keep the good ones and recycle the others.

  3. I bet someone like me picked up those other jars and the garbage guy never saw them. I use heavy glass jars (not the thinner jars like you often see now in stores). In fact, I used one today canning relish. I inspect them just as carefully as I do my 'real' canning jars and I've never had one not seal or crack or anything.

  4. I have used the old salad and coffee jars in the past. My mother, aunt, and friend have taught me much about processing vegetables and fruits. Also, I refer to BB book, two others, and the internet. I bought two large garbage cans with an assortment of jars at an estate sale in the fall. My first cousin calls them 'junk' jars. Hopefully I won't have to use those this year---I have not had a problem pressure or water bath canning. Without rain I won't be canning or freezing.

  5. I only use Mason jars for canning, but I use the others for food storage (dry beans, pasta, rice, etc.) and/or freezing (jams, pasta sauce, corn off the cob). I do occasionally buy something that is in a really heavy glass jar, Kirkland (Costco) peaches and a brand of spaghetti sauce that I can't remember off hand. I do use those for canning. My oldest son buys at least a couple dozen new jars for me every year. I think it's meant as a "hint, hint", and of course I comply ;-)

  6. Dang! What a haul! I would've used the pickle jars for non-canning stuff, like pasta or rice in the pantry.

    Keep talkin' SM! It pays off!

  7. Good point Daisy. I didn't think of THAT. Or maybe I did...You do know I'm on a mission to deCRAPify the house don't you? I was thinking where the heck am I going to put all these jars?

  8. Granny...I'd love to hear more on the freezer corn. I was planning on canning corn this year (never done it) but I actually buy frozen corn at the store. Which do you like better? (PS...I'm not a creamed corn kinda gal @;)

  9. Dani, Tina and Carol...Well, now I know. Hopefully someone DID pick them up. They were a nice heavy glass too. I wish I knew more people locally who canned. Seems like I'm the only one around my hood.

    City folk...Geez.

  10. Coral...Live and learn Huh? That's what I love about these much experience out there. Glad to know I'm not the only scardy-cat out there @:)

  11. Tami, our very favorite frozen corn is: Cut it from the cob (no need to scrape, that makes creamed corn) and put all the kernels in a pot with a bit of butter and just stir and heat it up until the butter melts and the corn is nice and warm. I like to put it in jars, leaving head space for expansion, but you could bag it. I never worry about freezer burn in jars. I also save my used jar lids for that purpose, as they do not need to seal.

    Another way you could do your corn is just cut it off the cob, bag and freeze. I've found no need to blanch corn, in fact I've found it makes it a bit "chewy", but that's a matter of preference. Freeze the kernels on a big cookie sheet, then bag them. I vacuum pack single servings or double bag large amounts in gallon zip lock bags, so I can remove just the amount I need.