On our homestead, we can a lot. I’m not talking about making just jams either. Not only do we can individual items like corn, green beans, peaches, etc but we also can meals like chicken noodle soup, beef stew and chilis. But as we go through these jars of delicious foods, we tend to just wash them and stack them up. This creates a problem during canning season.
Getting Your Jars Ready
As I said above, normally we just wash and stack our jars in the basement. They have no lids, rings, and are possibly not even clean. This creates a problem when I’m canning full force and putting up dozens of jars a day. So how do we go about getting all of our jars ready now while we wait for harvest? Every single case of empty jars comes upstairs, including all the lids, rings, and other odds and ends.
I go through each jar and make sure that they all in good condition, no chips, cracks, dips or dings. Then I go through all the rings and sort them. I will keep the rings that have rust but they go into a different bin to use on a different project. I will also take inventory on my jars and see if I need to buy more. Then I start the washing process.
I use vinegar instead of dish tabs because I’m cheap and I think the vinegar does a better job at cleaning them. Once they are clean, they get a fresh lid and ring. Back in the box and stacked on our shelves for use in the basement.
Beyond Your Jars
Not everything revolves around jars during canning season. Weird, I know. But the jars are just the vessel that you are using to preserve your harvests or good deals. You also need to make sure that your canners, both pressure and water bath are in good condition and ready to go. Peak canning season (April to September for us) is a terrible time to find out that the gasket on your pressure canner is cracked or the regulator broken. Go ahead and check those things now and order replacements if needed.
Check to make sure that all of your strainers, ladles, and canning funnels are in good shape and you have enough of them. I have four funnels and I’m getting ready to buy a couple more that are much wider. I ordered this one. The reason is because during soup season, when I need to dump the last remaining goodness in that jar? I don’t want to spill it everywhere. Go ahead and grab one or two more jar grabber thingy’s. Nope, I don’t know what they are actually called but I know when I start looking for mine, it’s usually hidden under all the towels and hot jars.
Start Stocking Up
Now is the time to start stocking up on all your lids. Seriously, get as many as you can afford. Better yet, grab some reusable lids like Tattler or Harvest Guard. We use Tattler and love them. If you need more jars, get those too. During canning season, they will be hard, if not impossible to find.
Get your vinegar, garlic, salt and other herbs and spices for canning season. Remember, every other canner in your area is going to be getting these same items. Especially if they did not stock up in the spring like you are doing.
These are just some of the things that you can do to make sure that you are ready for canning season. If you think of anything I missed, please comment below!
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