Canning By the Numbers

Well, it’s a good thing I found time today to do a proper jar inventory and organize my canning cupboard. I do not have what I thought I did. I’m not in totally bad shape, but I do need more jars (surprise, surprise there). This is what I’m estimating that I’ll need this season –

97 quarts (8 cases)
35 pints (3 cases)
14 half pints (8 ounces) (3 cases)
5 ¼ pints (4 ounces) (1 case)

This is what I actually have –

68 quarts
10 pints
21 half pints (8 ounces)
12 ¼ pints (4 ounces)
2 small jelly jars (really old and not a standard size)
5 pint Elite jars
66 regular rings
10 Elite/wide mouth rings
116 regular lids
71 Elite/wide mouth lids

It looks like I still need a considerable number of jars to reach my goal, especially pints. I really though that I had more pint jars around here, but I guess not. And about 18 jars are currently in use, but I’m planning on those being empty by the time I start preserving. No time like the present to start scouting for deals though, since this is what I still need –

27 quarts
25 pints
23 lids
73 rings

So I’m going to get three cases of quarts (that’ll give me a few extra) and two cases of pints (since I do have the Elite pints to use if I have to, even though I don’t like using those for canning). And since I don’t store my jars with the rings on them, the sixty-six that I have will probably be fine, but since I have to buy two boxes of lids to get me to the right amount, I’m just going to buy the ones that come with the rings to increase the amount of rings I have.

I was really shocked by how many jelly jars I have in there, considering I rarely make anything in that size. But I’m guessing I can find a way to put them to use this year! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to start trolling the interwebs for sales and coupons!

All The Pretty Things… AKA New Canning Equipment!

Call it luck. Call it a splurge. Call it an early Mother’s Day gift. Call it what ever you will – I’ve got a new little present on the way to my doorstep!

It might look like an ordinary canning rack, but don’t be fooled. It’s a mini canning rack – which is absolutely perfect for small batch preserving. It holds either four pint or two quart jars and fits into a standard stock pot. So it’ll be perfect for a small batch of jam, or a few quarts of pickles or what have you. I’m pretty excited about this little beauty – I could feasibly whip up a quick, small batch of something on a weeknight after work! Or have it going at the same time as the larger canner to expand how many jars I can process in one go. I can’t wait for it to arrive so I can try it out – my first preserves might be red wine jelly or beer mustard from this year’s Can Plan.

And I haven’t purchased this yet, and it’s not strictly for canning, but I came across it the other day while browsing the interwebs for canning supplies and I just fell in love with it –

It’s a flower frog that screws onto any standard mason jar. How beautiful would that look in the dining table, full of wispy spring flowers? Next time I need a little pick me up, I’m going to snap up one of these. With my mason jar pencil cups, soap dispensers, and chalkboard storage jars, this flower vase would be right at home.

Sunday Scores

I feel like I made up for yesterday’s doing nothing in a few short hours this morning. We were up by 8:30 so we could make it to farmers market at opening. I was glad we had the head start too, because it was really hopping today. I stopped by and spoke to a couple of farmers that I’d been emailing about bulk tomatoes, and I think we have a winner – Midnight Sun Organics is going to have canning seconds for about $1.00 per pound, starting in August. I’m going to have to do a mad dash of canning before the baby comes, but it will definitely be worth it.

And we got an amazing assortment of fruits and veggies this week – a pint of big red raspberries, a pint of cherries, a zucchini, a bunch of carrots, scallions, rainbow chard (since ours is still recovering),  a pint of small wild black raspberries (the BEST kind), ciabatta bread, two chocoloate croissants (breakfast for me) a chocolate doughnut and cup of coffee (breakfast for husband), half a pint of crimini mushrooms, and a bunch of black eyed Susan wildflowers. What a haul! The red raspberries I think I’ll make up into a tart or a small cobbler. Likely a cobbler, since I’ll be making apple hand pies later. The black raspberries probably won’t make it past today, since I’ve been craving them for my entire pregnancy. The rest of the produce we’ll just play it by ear for dinners this week.

After the market we stopped by the store to pick up the few dry goods we needed this week. For some reason, we really had to load up on condiments like rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, apple cider vinegar and such – isn’t it odd how those things always tend to run out at once? We also picked up some ribs, so we’re going to do Marinated Barbecued Ribs for dinner tonight, and I think I’ll make up some Poor Man’s Risotto with mushrooms to go alongside – we haven’t had that in awhile. To round out my food-centered day, in addition to the raspberry cobbler and apple hand pies, I’m also going to try a delicious-sounding recipe I came across recently for Spiced Chai Cupcakes. I think I’m going to leave off the icing though, so they’ll be more like muffins. So we’ll have plenty of options for breakfasts this week.  

After the market, we picked up some quart canning jars. I found a lady in our neighborhood via a great community networking site called OhSoWe who had two cases of quart canning jars that she didn’t need. I was really surprised that they’re brand new, still in the box. I’m so excited to have them, because it saves me almost $35.00, which is about what they’re retailing for this year. I will be gifting back a few quarts of tomatoes to her in August in thanks. I just need one more case to have all the quart jars I’ll need for this season. But if I can find another two cases, so much the better.

All in all, a good Sunday thus far. It’s quite hot and humid, so unfortunately we’ve had to turn on the air conditioning (which I really hate doing) but since it’s on I have no excuse not to turn on the oven and bake this afternoon. And we’ll hopefully be able to get in some time on the deck this evening once the sun starts to go down. Happy Sunday!

You Gorgeous Jars, You!

Okay, this just popped up in my feed and it looks so stunning I have to direct you to get on over to the Food in Jars flickr feed via Marisa McClellan’s post A Few Shots From the Food in Jars Flickr Pool. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I love Food in Jars – the blog, and actual food in jars. 🙂