Tag Archives | jars as glassware

Holiday Giving: Gifts for Jar Lovers

Weck Jars

Last week, I wrote about some of my favorite canning tools and the reasons they might just make good holiday gifts for the canners in your lives. This week I want to feature some of the odds and ends that aren’t canning necessities  but make a jar-filled life a little bit prettier and more fun (of course, I intended to get this posted on Monday, but that knock-out flu I had has put me behind in my posting. So sorry!).

First on the list is Weck Jars. They’re good for canning, for dry goods storage, and if you spring for a set of snap-on plastic lids, they make fantastic leftover containers. Because they’re a bit pricier than your average box of jars, they’re an indulgence, but isn’t that what the holiday season is all about? Once hard to find, they’re now available for online order from the U.S. distributor, Kaufmann Mercantile and Mighty Nest, and in Williams-Sonoma and Crate & Barrel stores.

Enamel ladle

For someone who has all their jar needs met, what about a pretty ladle? It’s good for filling your jars, scooping up servings of soup and chili and it looks fab sticking out of a crock of utensils. Available from Kaufmann Mercantile, it costs $32 and would be fun tucked in a stocking.

stainless steel funnel

I love my stainless steel funnel. The one I have is made by RSVP and I use it all the time. Not only is it useful during the canning process, but it’s also great for filling jars with dried goods and helping pour leftover soup into storage jars. I even take it to Whole Foods with me when I use my own container for bulk foods, because it allows me to funnel the food into my jars cleanly.

If I didn’t already have a stainless steel funnel, I might opt for this one, because it has a strainer that can fit into the base should you need it. That would be an awesome helper for those moments when you find yourself pouring stock into jars and want to do a final strain.

jar drink toppers

Drink toppers are another fun gift for jar lovers. I’ve written about these a lot lately, so I won’t go into crazy depth about them, but they’re great. There’s Cuppow, EcoJarz, and a lid specifically for iced coffee from the Mason Bar Company (they’ll also sell you a straw if you want a plastic one. I like these stainless steel babies better).

jar cozy!

Once you turn your mason jar into a drinking cup, you need something to absorb the moisture and heat. That’s where a jar cozy or sleeve comes in. There are so many different Etsy shops making these. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Mason Bar Company (cute hand-crocheted cozies from the folks who sell the drink lids mentioned above).
  • Greyslater (sleek waxed canvas sleeves).
  • Fine + Dandy Knits (hand-knit cozies made from organic cotton, pattern is available).
  • One Robin Road (charming cozies made from recycled sweaters. No two are alike).
  • Cadron Creations (hand-crocheted cozies made to fit a variety of sizes, including the newly reissued pint &  half jars).
  • Two Tired Bike (mason jar sleeves made from recycled bike inner tubes. Great for jar lovers who adore their two wheeled transportation).
  • Hide and True (hand-stitched leather sleeves. Spendy, but gorgeous).
  • The Stowe (another leather sleeve, this time with a built-in handle).

lunch tote

Finally, the ultimate gift for jar loves is the Jars to Go tote from A Tiny Forest. Since I first wrote about the original two-jar bag, Kim has expanded the offerings in her shop to include a four-jar bag and single sleeves that fasten up over the top of the jar (perfect for packaging up super-special gift jars).

And since no gift guide is complete without a giveaway, here’s what I have for you today. There are two giveaway packs and we’ll have two winners. The first is from Kaufmann Mercantile and consists of a six-pack of 1/4 L straight-side Weck Jars and that lovely white enamel ladle pictured above. The second is a four-jar Jars to Go tote from A Tiny Forest in Kim’s signature blue-striped fabric (like this one).

Here’s how to get in on the giveaway:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your favorite edible or culinary stocking stuffer (my favorite edible stocking stuffer is Pocky and my favorite culinary stocking stuffer is this little microplane nutmeg grater).
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Saturday, December 8, 2012. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday.
  3. Giveaway open US 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. I cannot accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Kaufmann Mercantile sent me the ladle seen above for photography purposes. Kaufmann Mercantile and A Tiny Forest have both provided the giveaway items at no cost to me. No vendor mentioned above paid for placement. 

Cuppow and EcoJarz are Having Cyber Monday Sales

As most of you know, I’ve long used jars in place of travel mugs. When the first Cuppow came out last January, I was one of the first to get my order in and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. In the last year, Cuppow has been expanding their product line, first adding a regular mouth version and, more recently, adding lids in colors (orange for wide mouth, blue for regular).

The cool thing about the colored lids is that 5% of the proceeds go to charity. The orange lid benefits Superstorm Sandy relief and the blue one contributes to The Alliance for the Great Lakes.

If you’ve been longing for a Cuppow of your own, now might just be the time to place an order. They’re having a 25% off sale if you use the code “majormonday2012” and shipping is free if you order four or more lids. The deal is good until tonight at midnight.

EcoJarz is a little newer to the jar topper scene, but no less interesting. The started their product line with a stainless steel topper lined with a silicone gasket to prevent leakage. More recently, they added a bright green lid made of flexible silicone to the line-up.

The EcoJarz lids come in regular mouth size and can be ordered with or without a band and without packaging (nice for those who want to avoid any extraneous paper).

They are also offering 25% off for Cyber Monday through midnight tonight. No code is required, the discount is automatically credited when you proceed to check-out.

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Cuppow Review and Giveaway

cuppow front

When I worked in an office, mason jars were a regular part of my commuter food world. I layered oats and yogurt into wide mouth pints for breakfast and I toted coffee in those discontinued pint and a half jars freezer jars that I love so much.

There’s one very large issue with drinking coffee from mason jar (particularly the taller ones that I like so much). The very significant risk of spillage. More than once, I nearly knocked over an open jar. A dangerous things when your work machine is a vulnerable laptop.

cuppow back

Though I work from home now, I still find myself reaching for an empty mason jar when it comes time for morning coffee or tea. Because of this habit, as well as the fact that I’m generally crazy for any new jar-related item (all in the interest of research), I ordered the Cuppow approximately 12 seconds after hearing about it.

For those of you out there who are wondering what the heck I’m talking about, here’s the scoop. Cuppow is a reusable (BPA free) plastic lid, designed to fit on a wide mouth mason jar. You use a standard ring to fasten it into place. It works equally well with wide mouth models of pint, pint and a half (if you can find them) and quart jars.

cuppow

So far, I love everything about this product, from the eye-pleasing, letter press packaging to the heft and feel of the Cuppow itself. I spent the morning using mine to drink my milky tea (coffee and I are on a break right now) and it performs exactly as I hoped it would.

It offers a similar drinking experience to that which you have with a disposal Starbucks cup, down to the slight whistle from the vent hole on the opposite side. No leaking, no mess and far less risk of spilling all over my workspace.

cuppow jar cozies

There is one issue when you use a mason jar for hot liquids. That is the inevitable heat transfer to your hand. Because I’ve been using jars for coffee and tea for years now, I have a small stash of hand knit and crocheted cozies from a few of my readers to slip around my jars. However, you don’t have to get something so fancy. A clean, orphaned sock would also do the job nicely.

cuppow on full jar

Because I asked nicely, the guys at Cuppow have given me one (1) of these mason jar lids to give away to a Food in Jars reader. Here’s what to do for a chance to win.

  1. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post and tell us about your morning beverage ritual. Do you drink coffee or tea? Hot or cold? Or you like my husband, who prefers his caffeine cold and carbonated?
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Friday, January 27, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted to the blog on Saturday, January 28, 2012.
  3. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents (so sorry, Canadians. I’m not controlling the shipping on this one).
  4. One entry/comment per person, please.
Disclosure: Cuppow is providing the giveaway unit. I bought and paid for my unit with my own money. All opinions expressed remain entirely my own. 

Jars on Vacation – The Western Massachusetts Version

iced coffee in a jar

Every year since we’ve been together, Scott and I have gone off on a Memorial Day Weekend vacation. The last three years, we escaped to Lancaster County, PA for a bit of clean air and green views. I was always particularly charmed by that destination because Lancaster happens to be a hotbed for home canning (we have the Amish and Mennonite communities to thank for that).

so many jars!

This year, instead of heading west to Lancaster, we pointed the car towards Northampton, MA. Some of our dear friends moved there from Philly back in March and we felt it only right to scope out their new digs and help them break in their guest room. Happily, the Northampton area did not lack for jars. Here’s just a bit of what I spotted.

jar utensil holders

These first three photos were all taken at The Roost, an amazingly wonderful cafe at the corner of Market and Bridge Streets in Northampton, MA. They use jars for everything there, which I love. They also happen to serve seriously good coffee. We stopped there for a brief rest after parading through multiple used bookstores (for Scott) and junk stores (for me) and my only wish was that I could have stayed a bit longer. I long for a cafe like this one to open in Philadelphia. I couldn’t find a website for Roost, but here’s a blog post from a neighboring shop (Sticks and Bricks) about the design and construction of the cafe.

jars at the co-op

Jars ready to be used for bulk purchases at the Brattleboro, VT Co-op. They were pre-marked with the tare to make it easy for the cashiers.

herbs at the Co-op

Jars filled with herbs for sale at the Northampton Co-op. How great that they’re using some vintage bailing wire jars.

Marisa gets some maple syrup in a jar

And finally, a bonus photo by Scott, of me dispensing bulk maple syrup into a pint jar at the Brattleboro, VT Co-op. As you can see, it brought me great quantities of joy.

Okay, so maybe not quite as many jars as in Lancaster, but still, more than you might otherwise think.

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Breakfast Baked Eggs in Half Pint Jars

356 | 365

Two or three times a year, Scott and I come to the slow realization that our eating habits need a bit of a reset. I’m sure many of you know how this is. You go from making oatmeal for breakfast each morning to picking up a bagel and cream cheese around the corner from work. The meals that include heaping portions of green vegetables become fewer. And ice cream goes from a once-in-a-while treat to a grocery list staple.

custard cups

One of the best ways I’ve found for me to restore some reason to my eating habits is to spend a week or two actively increasing my greens and proteins and avoiding sweets, treats and anything made with flour. For those of you who like to put labels on such things, I guess you could call it a modified low carb diet.

cups/jars with sauteed vegetables

As we all know, eating better takes a little bit of planning, particularly when you’ve fallen into a habit of the morning bagel from the neighborhood deli. For me to get out of that rut, I have to make something tasty that I can easily take to work with me and will keep me satiated for a few hours. And that is where these cute little egg cups come in.

unbaked egg cups

I’ve been making these in various forms for years now (as this two year old Slashfood post attests). I used to make them in a six-cup muffin tin, but recent realized that I should apply the bake-in-jars trend to this savory breakfast item. It means I don’t have to transfer them to another container after baking and instead can just screw on a lid once they’ve cooled down. And you all know I how much I love to eat my breakfast from a jar.

baked egg cups

Unfortunately, several of my wide mouth half pint jars were recently pressed into canning duty, so I didn’t have quite enough to go around and had to employ some vintage Fire King custard cups to serve as well (I have an embarrassing number of these as I can’t resist them when I find them for $.25 at thrift stores). Still, you get the idea.

A word to the wise here. If you decide to follow my example and bake eggs in jars or glass, please make sure to give your vessels a good greasing. I was in a hurry when I made these (it was past 11 pm on a Sunday night) and took the cheater’s way in the form of the Trader Joe’s version of Pam. However, when I have a bit more time to play with, I grease the cups with butter.

And a final note. The recipe below calls for onion and asparagus. That’s because that what’s in season right now. During the summer, I use spinach or shredded zucchini. Kale or chard is good. I’ve even used leftover brussels sprouts in these. It’s all good and it all works. Use your imagination and pick out a couple of vegetables that taste good to you.

On reheating: When it comes time to eat these, I do one of two things. I either pop them into the microwave for a minute or I eat them after they’ve sat at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, until they’ve lost their refrigerator chill. You can reheat them right in the jars. If you want to reheat them in the oven or toaster oven, I’d recommend starting them in a cold oven so as not to shock the glass.

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Keeping Those Jars Cozy + Cold Brew Coffee

jar cozy!

For years now, I’ve been in the habit of using jars as to-go containers. On days when I make a smoothie for breakfast, I tote it to work in one of my precious 24 ouncers (please Jarden Home Brands, bring back the 1 1/2 pint wide mouth jar). I frequently eat a yogurt, granola and jam concoction out of a wide mouth pint. And when I don’t have a traditional travel mug handy, I pour my coffee into a jar.

jar cozy in hand

During warmer months, I’m strictly an iced coffee girl (see below!). I use the cold brew method, which results in a smooth, nuanced cup. However, in the winter I like my coffee toasty. And while the jar can handle the heat, my fingers can’t always. Enter the jar cozy!

A couple of weeks ago, I put the call out on the Food in Jars Facebook page (come hang out, there’s so much good jar chatter happening!) for jar cozies and got a number of enthusiastic responses. And happy day, the first one arrived today from Leah in Minnesota. I may have to brew up some hot coffee tomorrow morning, just to make use of it. Thanks Leah!

cold brew coffee - full coffee grinder

As far as the cold brew coffee goes, here’s my super simple approach. Fill a cheapo coffee grinder nearly to the top with beans (I’m working on the dredges of a couple different varieties, so there’s both medium and dark roasts in the hopper. Obviously, I’m no purist).

cold brew coffee - 6-8 ounces of ground coffee

Using a wide mouth funnel, knock the grounds into a quart jar. I typically use just shy of a cup of coffee grounds. Fill the jar to the top with filtered water. Tightly screw on a lid (do not use one of the white plastic ones in this situation) and give it a good shake, in order to fully saturate the coffee.

cold brew coffee - filled with water

Let the jar sit for 8-10 hours (overnight works pretty darn well here). In the morning, line a drip funnel (something like this) with a paper filter and set it over another jar or a pitcher with a quart capacity. Pour the coffee into the filter and let it drip through (this will take a little more time than it does when the water is hot).

The resulting coffee has a ton of flavor and makes this caffeine addict very, very happy. I pour mine into a pint jar, leaving enough room for a generous splash of milk and head off to work.

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