I’ve run out of space entirely, so I was forced to clear out a shelve in my China hutch. It’s okay because we sit and eat at the dining table across from this cupboard and the jars will add some beauty to the room, but I wasn’t expecting this to happen. When I decided to “can” raspberry rhubarb “Rhu Razz” jam and sauce back in June, I had no idea I would find it so easy and fun. I’ve been bartering for jars since that first Amazon purchase of a dozen. I have acquired at least 8 dozen jars, yes, around 100 jars of all sizes! I figure there must be lots of glass jars out in the world, already made, so why pay money to buy new ones? I just had to find the used ones that had become unwanted.

At first I was collecting the jars in boxes and storing them in the basement. Then I re-arranged the office closet/pantry and put the boxes in there. Then I just kept canning and canning. I found free apples, then pears, then plums, then figs, then blackberries. And then there were the pickles and dilly beans and apricots and so on…

I’ve learned in a few short weeks some helpful tips that I’d like to pass on to any of you reading who are new to this as I was. Stacking jars on top of each other can cause the seal to break, so it’s best to store only one level at a time, like my pictures show. If you overfill your jars and they spill out during processing OR if you don’t process in hot water long enough; the seal may not really stick. So it’s best to remove the ring and check the seal, after the jar has cooled. You can do this by lifting the jar (with a hand underneath, in case it drops) by the sealed lid and if it pops off, put it in the fridge and eat it soon. If you can pick it up by the sealed lid, it’s properly sealed, yay. Figs were a tricky one. They are mild and don’t have much natural citric acid, so you must add lemon in order to can them in a water bath. Pumpkin is too thick and cannot be canned without a pressure cooker, even if you are making apple butter with it and mixing in other ingredients. Follow a tried and true recipe, no one wants to get botulism when they enjoy your home canned food. Hmmm, any other tips I’ve heard??? Oh of course; you don’t have to use canning salt, you can use any salt you want for pickles.

I’m still wondering why some people put their jars upside down to cool. If you know the answer to this one, please share below!

How do you store your canned goods? On display or hidden away?

spiced apple pear sauce with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger
purple plums in a light syrup, it’s it pretty?