Canning jars are everywhere in my home. There are jars in the fridge and freezer, and populating the cupboards and shelves in my kitchen. Many are bursting with dried goods of all sorts and others are filled with assorted and sundry floating in acidic and syrupy liquids — an apothecary of deliciousness. There are other jars still; in my office, basement, and even in the garden. I use jars to hold my surplus of self-saved seed, and others to house crafting and home repair supplies. There are jars in the bathroom stuffed with handmade epsom salts, cotton balls, and Q-tips. Jars are used to transport road trip meals and others affixed with water-tight plastic lids make it possible for us to bring our own home brewed cappuccinos to go.
I have amassed a whole lot of them to be sure. I bought my first jars as a teenager. Back then you could get a vintage blue glass Ball jar for practically pennies. They cost a small fortune now, but there are still deals to be found. I find the occasional Le Parfait swing top jar at the local thrift shops, and last year, I bought an entire box of gorgeous, vintage wire gasket half-sized jars with star-shaped lids at a yard sale for just a few dollars. They now sit on a shelf underneath my kitchen island, where I can quickly reach for them when I need a little of my favourite dried herbs: various mints, lemon balm, and bee balm petals for tea; oregano, tarragon, sage, thyme, lavender, rose petals, rosemary, and marjoram. I store the herbs as whole as possible and crush them right before using. This preserves their flavour much longer.
The other day Margaret Roach of A Way to Garden had me on her radio program and we chatted at length about our mutual love of the perfect canning jar. Head on over to Margaret’s where you can listen to the show and discover even more uses for canning jars ala Margaret.
Below are just a few of my favourite uses. I’d love to hear some of yours in the comments (p.s Commenting enters you for a chance to win a gift certificate that you can put towards your choice of fabulous Weck Jars).
The Nearly Limitless Uses for Canning Jars
- For preserving fresh, edible flowers such as squash blossoms,
- For putting up food (of course). Try some of these: Green Tomato Chutney, Heirloom Tomatoes, Tomato Ketchup, Golden Plum and Vanilla Jam, Concord Grape Jam/Jelly…
- For preserving fresh, edible flowers such as squash blossoms and nasturtium.
- For fermenting tomato seeds (Just make sure to cover it with a piece of cloth or paper towel wrapped with an elastic band to keep the fruit flies out.) and later storing the saved seed.
- For storing dehydrated tomato skins and the resulting tangy powder.
- For storing dried herbs including rose petals, linden flowers, and thyme (this version works for all manner of herbs and is especially good for drying seeds to eat or replant.)
- Large jars are great for storing up your own reserve of homemade herbed salts such as Salomoia Bolognese or Lavender Sea Salt and small, decorative jars are perfect for gifting some to friends.
- For short term refrigerator storage of delicious homemade soups like this one (should you have any left!)
- Big, oversized jars are the perfect vessels in which to ferment things such as kombucha. I am currently fermenting a batch of ginger beer.
- How about a batch of elderberry syrup?
- I make and store all of my herb and fruit infused spirits in canning jars of various sizes and styles. I gift them in this way, too. Once completed, flavours such as dianthus infused vodka, rose petal, or limoncello are stored in the freezer so they can be enjoyed chilled.
- For making and storing herb-infused vinegars that are used all year long.
- For storing herbal syrups such as this lavender blossom simple syrup. Store it in the fridge.
- Canning jars make simple, yet classy vases: My friend Uli says that you can even purchase perforated lids that function as a built-in frog to hold up stems.
- Margaret chops up chives and freezes them in small Weck jars. I do this now too and it works brilliantly if you need to add a handful to a meal or even sprinkle a little on top of a salad. You will never buy chives again, EVER.
- Speaking of brilliant, Margaret also freezes whole cloves of her homegrown garlic. She says that they take on a nice caramelized look and flavour when fried in a pan. You can stop buying garlic now, too.
- You know what else is great in a jar: refrigerator pickles. It’s about time to whip up a batch.
- You can freeze flour in canning jars to help keep it fresh longer. Just remove from the freezer, use, and return.
Weck Jar Giveaway
THERE ARE 2 WAYS TO WIN a $25 gift certificate from Kaufmann Mercantile to put towards the Weck canning jars of your choice — one on my website, and one on Margaret’s A Way to Garden. Be sure to comment in both places to double your chances.
All you have to do to enter is answer this question in the comments box below:
What do you use canning jars for, and are you preserving anything in them — frozen, dried, or “canned” — this harvest season?
No answer, or feeling shy? That’s fine; just say “Count me in” or something similar, and we will. Two winners — one on each of our websites — will be chosen at random after entries close at midnight on Tuesday, August 20, 2013. Remember to click over and repeat your comment on Margaret’s site, too. Good luck to all.
UPDATE: The contest is ended and winners have been chosen using a random number generator and contacted by email. On YouGrowGirl.com the winner is Sheryl.
Disclosure: This giveaway was sponsored by YouGrowGirl.com and AWaytoGarden.com. We love Weck Jars and know you will too.