Tag Archives | jars

Giveaway: Le Parfait Familia Wiss 750 mL Canning Jars

A little over a year ago, when I was traveling up the west coast promoting Naturally Sweet, I stopped in at Down to Earth in Eugene for a demo and book signing. Before we got started, I took a moment to wander through their canning section. They had all the familiar jars and tools, but they also had a massive array of Le Parfait jars.

I wanted to fill the car with an array of those graceful, sturdy jars, but sadly, I was 3,000 miles from home and driving my parents’ station wagon. I was fairly certain that they would not appreciate it if I rolled up to their house with a wayback full of French preserves jars and asked them to keep them in the garage until I could find a way to get them back to Philadelphia.

Now, Le Parfait makes several lines of jars. Most of us are familiar with the Super Jars with their rubber gaskets and locking lids (I particularly love their Super Terrines for dry goods). And you may have used or spotted their Jam Jars (they have lug lids and look much like the jars you buy Bonne Maman jam in). But it was their Familia Wiss line that most captured my attention.

The reason that I was so charmed by Familia Wiss is that they are functional canning jars that are incredibly durable and beautiful. They have really wide mouths, making packing and filling a dream. They come in a wider array of sizes than regular mason jars (200, 350, 500, 750, 1000, and 1500 mL). And I found the sealing system so smart and reasonable.

Instead of using a lid and ring like our standard two-piece system, these jars use a flat lid and a fully encapsulating lid. The metal is heavier, they’re less prone to rusting, and seal that’s produced is incredibly strong. When you open up the jar to eat the contents, you can discard the flat lid and just use the cap for storage (they also sell bright orange plastic lids that fit these jars, which are a fun option for storing pantry items).

Once you understand how the basics of how the lids work, you can approach these Familia Wiss jars the same way that you do any other mason jar. You want to use new lids for each round of canning (and they can be ordered here). They should be clean but don’t need to be boiling prior to use. And like any other jar, once the jar has cooled and the seal is achieved, you can remove the outer lid and store the jars with just their sealed flat lid.

There is one downside to the Le Parfait Familia Wiss jars and that’s their cost. They come at a higher price than we’re typically accustomed to paying for canning jars. At first I bristled at the idea of paying more for jars, but I’m starting to think that they’re worth the price.

For one thing, they’re so much stronger than the grocery store jars. I hear from people on a near-daily basis about brand new Ball jars breaking in the canner. I can’t imagine that ever happening with a Le Parfait Familia Wiss jar. They are just so darn tough. And since I know that canning is something I’m going to continue to do across my lifetime, investing in gear that will pull its weight for the long haul doesn’t bother me.

The other thing is that I believe that working with higher quality jars leads to a more thoughtful approach to food preservation. Sometimes I preserve simply because I got a good deal or I start to feel that summertime panic that everything is currently in season and I MUST. PUT. UP. However, as I strive to be more conscious and preserving with an eye towards using up (rather than stockpiling), choosing the strong, beautiful jars that happen to be a little more expensive feels like a good choice.

This week, I’m partnering with the Le Parfait folks on a promotion and a giveaway. Two lucky people will each win a set of four 750 mL Le Parfait Familia Wiss jars (use the widget below to enter). These jars hold the same volume as the pint and a half jars that so many of us find particularly useful!

If you want to try some of the Le Parfait Familia Wiss jars and don’t want to take your chances on the giveaway, you can head over to Amazon, browse the size options, and use the code FOODNJAR for 5% off your order (the code is good through the end of July).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Comments { 249 }

Canning 101: A Field Guide to Jars

regular mouth ball jars

Recently, one of my long-ago former co-workers mentioned on the Food in Jars Facebook page that what she really wanted to see was a visual guide to available jars out there. So earlier, after I’d met all my deadlines for the day, I raced around my apartment, hunting down examples of all the easily available jars currently in production in the hopes that I’d have them all. Amazingly, I did.

Before we dig into the jars, you should know that all standard canning jars sold in the U.S. are made by a company called Jarden Home Brands. They own Ball, Kerr and Bernardin (that’s their Canadian brand). So though it appears that there are multiple brands of jars out there, they’re all made by the same manufacturer.

The first group is the available regular mouth Ball jars. They come in quart, pint and half pint sizes. These jars are the ones most commonly found on the east coast. These shapes and sizes can also be found with the Kerr marker, but only out west. I prefer the Kerr jars to Ball, because they have a smooth back (it’s perfect for labels) but they’re nearly impossible to get where I live.

wide mouth kerr jars

The next group is the wide mouth Kerr assortment. These come in quart, pint and half pint sizes. Of all available jars, the wide mouth half pint is my very favorite jar currently in production. Sadly, it’s one that’s very hard to track down here in the Philadelphia area. I either drive to the Good’s Store in Lancaster or I mail order them. It kills me every time I visit my mom in Portland, OR and see stacks of this size/shape at her local grocery store.

wide mouth ball jars

Here’s the Ball brand wide mouth assortment. They have these in half gallon, quart and pint. As far as I know, they don’t currently make a half gallon jar under the Kerr label (feel free to correct me in the comments if you’ve seen them in stores recently). Jarden doesn’t currently make the wide mouth half pint under the Ball brand, though I have one floating around my apartment, so at one time they did.

quilted jelly jars

Here’s the quilted line-up. These jars come in 4, 8 (half pint) and 12 ounce varieties. I don’t love the looks of them (I much prefer a smooth-sided jar), but these are such handy sizes (I love the 12 ounce jar for pickling asparagus because it’s a bit taller than the available pint jars) that I put aside my aesthetic concerns and use them.

collection elite jars

Lastly, there’s the Collection Elite line. This consists of just two jars, a pint and a half pint. Unlike the rest of the canning jars featured* which come in cases of 12, these jars are sold in four packs. I love the shape of them, but often forgo them for the less expensive jars.

You will often come across other sizes and shapes in thrift and antique stores, but to my knowledge, these are the only ones currently available for purchase new.

One last thing before I sign off. Remember last year when I mentioned that a new brand of canning jars was coming to market? Sadly, it’s not to be. Jarden Home Brands bought Penley and put the kibosh on that plan.

*Half gallon jars are sold in cases of six.

Comments { 174 }

Skip the Plastic in the Bulk Section, Use Jars Instead

jars filled with bulk goods

I have been a bulk section shopper for most of my life. Growing up, my family was devoted to the bulk bins and it was always a great thrill when my mom would let me fill up the bags with rice or granola or grains. As I got older, it felt natural to keep buying oatmeal, dried fruit and beans that way. Of course, the bulk section has its inconveniences too. At Whole Foods, it’s far to easy to rip the plastic bags on the conveyor belt at check-out, leaving a trail of flour, sugar or quinoa all over the check stand. And, being that I’m not the most spatially minded person, I’ve never been good at determining exactly much product is going to fit in the assigned jar at home.

Lately, I’ve been taking clean, empty jars with me to Whole Foods for my bulk section purchases. This solves both issues of ripping bags and overestimating jar volume. It does require a bit more advanced planning than a spur-of-the-moment dash into the grocery store, but saves on plastic and frees me from some of those bulk section frustrations. I just pack up the jars and make a quick stop at customer service so they can weight the jars and make note of their tare prior to being filled, so that I’m not paying for the weight of the jars. Oh, and if I can just add a tip here, I recommend bringing a wide mouth funnel with you to the store. It will make your jar-filling life so much easier.

reusable bulk bags

In addition to my jars, I have a few of these very lightweight, reusable bulk bags that I try to bring with me each time I go to a store with a bulk section. They’re designed to hold bulk section food and be light enough so that they don’t need to have their weight subtracted from that of your food. They’re also washable, so I just toss them in the laundry after each use, to ensure I don’t mix nutritional yeast with my whole wheat pastry flour. These bags allow me to make a few bulk section impulse buys without reaching for a plastic bag, which I like.

I’m certain that there are some of you out there who have been shopping like this for years. However, it’s a very rare day that I see anyone else at my urban Philadelphia Whole Foods store with their own containers. Thing is, I think this is the direction more of us should be headed. It prevents waste by keeping plastic bags out of the system and means that you’re not buying more food that you can use (I confess that there were times in the very distant past when I would just trash the few spoonfuls of grain or fruit that made the storage jar overflow instead of bundling it up and saving it to use up). And it’s just one more chance to show off all those gorgeous jars I know so many of you have!

Let’s hear from you guys. Do you take reusable containers to the grocery store with you?

Comments { 106 }

Pictures of jars from Lancaster County

So far this weekend, I’ve purchases five wonderfully unusual jars (big ones for storing grains, flours, cereals and more), dug through a wagon of free stuff to discover two sandwich plates that match the ones in my kitchen cabinets (as well as five Fire King coffee mugs and an old grater), wandered many antique store aisles and eaten far, far too much. I’ve also been taking pictures of jars wherever they’ve caught my fancy. Here are a few.

canning jars
John Deere Jars
jars of pickled brussels sprouts
jars of pickles, chow chow and jelly
me with 1/2 gallon jar

Comments { 2 }