At least once or twice a year, I pull out all my canning supplies and take stock of what I have, what needs to be chucked, and what needs to be purchased.
It might be because I’m disorganized, that I feel the need to organize? Maybe everyone does this? I’m not sure, but I do know that by sorting through everything and taking stock, I’m ready to can whenever the urge strikes. This is what I have right now, after a summer of making jams, preserves, and other canned goodies. I thought I’d really like the blue Ball jars, and I do – just not for canning. Don’t get me wrong, I have them, so I use them, but it makes the contents an odd color so I definitely don’t gift any of those out to anyone. I do love them to use as drinking glasses. Totally cute with a retro paper straw.
Once I pull everything out, I give the bands a once over, looking for dents and discolorations. Those will get chucked. Sometimes I keep lids to reuse but not for canning. You never want to reuse a lid. The ones I save for reuse are kept separate for times I just need a closed jar for other items besides food. I’ll then pull out new ones and match them up to the jars to see if I need to buy any more. (I always like to keep these on hand for emergency canning!)
You can see in the photo on the left some rusty spots on a band. I ditched that one and replaced it, and the lid, with new ones. I use Kerr or Ball, I’m not picky. Use what is available in your local store. The regular and wide-mouthed lids are universal sizes.
Putting new lids on everything works for my system because it a) allows me to know if I need to purchase anything, as I mentioned before, and b) having the lids in place allows me to stack the jars in my cupboard.
Viola! I’m doing pretty good on my jars but I ended up needing to buy more bands in both sizes.
And don’t forget to check on your pectin packet expiration dates. Very important!!! You always want to make sure you have fresh pectin on hand for those recipes calling for it. Expired pectin won’t work in the manner you’ll need, so just make sure to peek at that date on the box before starting your canning project.
I recently purchased this Pomona Pectin but haven’t used it yet. I’ve heard good things about it. Anyone out there use it before? I’d love to know, and also how you organize your canning supplies.