A Handy Way to Store Your Canning Rings and Lids

bag of canning gear

Here in Portland, it is raspberry season. I couldn’t resist picking up a half flat of gorgeous berries on Saturday at the Beaverton Farmers Market. When I got home, I asked my mom to pull out her canning stuff so that I could make a quick batch of jam. She ducked into the garage and came back in with her shiny stainless steel stock pot and a plastic comforter bag filled with canning jar rings (as well as couple boxes of new lids).

canning rings close up

Using a stock pot and blossom trivet as a canning pot is a trick I taught her, but using an old blanket or comforter bag to corral canning gear was entirely new to me and I was stunned by the simple brilliance of it. At home, I use a pair of two gallon zip top bags to keep my rings in check. However, they’ve always been an imperfect solution because the zippers eventually fail and they’re just not quite big enough. The comforter bag has a real zipper, the plastic is sturdier, it holds a ton, and it does a good job of keeping the dust and dirt out.

If you have one of these bags floating around your house, consider doing like my mom and using it to store your gear.

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Giveaway: $100 in Jar Credit From Fillmore Container

down a warehouse aisle

Everyone’s path to canning is a little bit different. Some start doing it because they want to make the most of a produce glut. Others preserve because it helps them feel close to their mother, aunt, or grandmother. And then there are those for whom the jars themselves were the gateway to total canning preoccupation.

four ounce comparison

That’s how it was for me. While I did grow up with a mother who canned, I was acquiring jars long before I began filling them up and processing them. Truly, I am something of a jar junkie.

Over the last few years, one of my favorite sources for canning jars beyond the narrow range you can get at the grocery store has been Fillmore Container (I liked their jars so much that I talked them into becoming a site sponsor!). While they offer all the Ball jars you could possibly want, they also have a deliciously wide array of other options.

solo four ounce jar

And so, for this week’s giveaway, the lovely folks at Fillmore Container and I thought we’d do something a little different. Instead of picking out a particular style of jar to feature and then giving some of that size and shape away, I’m going to feature a few of my favorite jars from their catalog and let the winner choose their perfect jar.

solo four ounce jar

One jar that they carry that I love is the straight, smooth-sided four ounce jar. They don’t have any of that quilted nonsense and they’re perfect for preserves meant for gifting. I wrote about them nearly two years ago and still adore them.

various half pint shapes

Another jar that makes me happy is their eight ounce regular mouth jar. It’s a bit squatter than the the conventional half pint jar, but that just makes it feel extra sturdy in the hand. A few more pictures of that particular style can be found here.

four sizes of hex jars

For those of you who can’t bear for your holiday gifts to look just the same as everyone else’s, then the hex jar is for you. Fillmore Container keeps four sizes in stock. The 1.5 ounce is perfect for samples and variety gift baskets, the 4 ounce option is the same size at the smallest quilted jelly jars that Ball makes, 6 ounces is a nice in-between size that you can’t get with a mason jar, and 9 ounces is simply a generous half pint jar. 

six hex jars filled with peach and tomato jam

And just so you know, Fillmore Container doesn’t just carry jars and closures. They also have a number of fun jar accessories. You can get everything from lids with holes in them for straws to the stripy paper straws to pair with those lids.

Here’s how to enter this giveaway:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me how you’d spent $100 at Fillmore Container. Would you get yourself some new jars? Buy a few cookbooks? Or would you go crazy with the accessories and candle making gear?
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Saturday, June 28, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, June 29, 2014
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

P.S. I got to go behind the scenes at Fillmore Container a few years ago. The photos from that tour can be found here.

Disclosure: Fillmore Container has sent me lots of jars over the years to test and try. They’re a site sponsor. And they’re providing the prize for this giveaway at no cost to me. However, my opinions remain entirely unbiased and my own. 

Book Tour: Eugene, Seattle, San Francisco, and LA

This is my second palmful of raspberries today. Portland May well be paradise.

Raspberries that I picked from my parents’ back yard. Having access to their garden is such a treat.

Friends! I am still on the west coast and have a number of book events still to go. I thought I’d do a quick reminder about the demos and classes I’ve got on the books over the next week or so.

Monday, June 23 (Eugene)
I’ll be at Down to Earth in Eugene (532 Olive Street) from 2-4 pm. There will be a demo. There will be books. There may even be cake, as this event is in conjunction with the store’s 37th anniversary celebration. It’s a free event and fun will be had by all.

Wednesday, June 25 (Seattle)
I’ll be at the Book Larder (4252 Fremont Ave. N) in Seattle from 6:30-8 pm demonstrating a recipe from the book and signing as many copies as I can. The event is free, but they ask that you RSVP using this form.

Thursday, June 26 (Seattle)
I’m teaching a four preserve class at The Pantry at Delancey. I believe that the class is currently sold out, but it never hurts to get on the waiting list.

Saturday, June 28 (San Francisco)
From 12 noon to 1 pm, I’ll be doing a book signing at the CUESA classroom at the Ferry Building (you’ll find me under the white tent at the front of the building). Books will be on hand for sale! More details can be found here.

Sunday, June 29 (San Francisco)
I’ll be at Omnivore Books from 3-4 pm, demoing a tiny batch of honey sweetened strawberry jam, and signing books. There will be samples and they will be delicious. Please come!

Tuesday, July 1 (Los Angeles)
My very last stop on this tour will be at The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories in Santa Monica. I’ll be teaching a free demo-style class from 2-5 pm and will have books on hand to sign. Click here for more details and to sign up!

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Links: Strawberries, Dill Pesto, and a Winner

Open faced sandwiches and my current cookbook obsession.

I landed in Portland on Thursday night and have spent the last few days hanging out with my parents and doing a handful of book events (here’s the segment I did on the local morning show, if you want to watch!). This week, I’m continuing my mad dash up and down the west coast. Eugene tomorrow, Seattle Wednesday and Thursday, and San Francisco Friday through Sunday. Now, links!

pint and a half products

Last week’s giveaway of goodies from The Pint and a Half was lots of fun and the winner is #124/Melissa. She said that her favorite way to cool down this summer is, “Iced jasmine tea, with a slice of lemon or lime!” Sounds like a lovely sip to me! 

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Preserving by the Pint Typos

pizza sauce picture

One of the inevitable things about writing a book is that no matter how hard you work at making it perfect, there will still be a mistake or two in it when the manuscript goes to print. It happened with Food in Jars (you can find the errata page for FiJ here) and it has happened again with Preserving by the Pint.

At my book events I’ve been hand-correcting every book I sign, but I realize that not all of you are going to make it out to a class or demo. So in order to make the corrections accessible to everyone, I’ve created an errata page so that all the errors and fixes are in a central place.

If you’ve spotted an error or typo in the book that you don’t see listed here, please drop me a line so that I can add it to the list and make sure that it gets corrected in a future printing.

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Giveaway: Gift Card from The Pint and a Half

pint and a half products

Many years ago, I fantasized about opening a coffee shop in which, for an extra $1, we’d sell to-go iced drinks in mason jars with holes punched in the lid for the straw. Basically, I was only in it for the jar accessories.

Nuby zippy cup lid

Happily, there have been a number of different companies that have popped up in the last few years that have started offering all manner of mason jar toppers, drink adaptors, lids, and sleeves.

mason jar lids

And now, there’s a shop that pulls all the different lids, sleeves, straws, and converters into a single place. Called The Pint and a Half, it’s a site devoted to celebrating the jar a drink vessel and I am delighted to welcome them to the jar blog scene (if there is such a thing).

Koverz

One of the products they offer that I’ve not seen elsewhere is the neoprene jar sleeve. Available to fit either a 24 ounce pint & half jar (that’s the Koverz) or a 12 ounce jelly jar (known as the Kidzikoo), it allows you to pack a chilled drink without having it sweat all over your hand, cup holder, or desk. They have them in a bunch of different colors, but I’m more than a little taken by the zebra stripe version (I’ve always had a thing for animal prints).

And if the full coverage sleeve isn’t your thing, there are also these nifty silicone Eco Sleeves. They’ll give you a good grip without covering the entirety of your jar.

straws and spoon

They also offer a nice selection of straws, cleaning brushes, and long-handled spoons (all the better for eating your morning yogurt parfait out of a pint jar). I’ve tried a number of reusable straws over the years and I really like the Glass Dharma Straws (I have some that I bought several years ago). They are nearly unbreakable (I dropped one behind my washing machine a while back and it survived unscathed) and don’t impact the flavor of your drink at all.

The Pint and a Half

Now, time for the giveaway! April from The Pint and a Half is offering Food in Jars readers a chance to win a $50 store credit plus $8.50 to cover shipping (that’s enough shipping credit to cover one jar and several accessories) in her online shop. What’s more, for those of you who can’t wait to buy your jar goodies, she also sent me a coupon code to share. Use the code FOODINJARS10 at check-out for 10% off your purchase. The code is good until June 30.

Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what you’re drinking this summer. Are you exploring shrubs? Or are you dedicated to iced tea? Or do you have a signature cocktail for 2014? Let me know!
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Saturday, June 21, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, June 22, 2014
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: The Pint and a Half gave me the jars and adaptors you see pictured above and are also providing the giveaway prize at no cost to me. However, all opinions expressed remain entirely my own. 

The Pint and a Half can also be found Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook. Make sure to follow them for new product news and occasional deals!