Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Canning Jars--When They're Empty

I think we probably all know what to do with our canning jars when they are full:  line them up on shelves and admire our handiwork.  :0)

But what about after we've eaten the contents of the jars?  Then what do we do with them?

Here is what I do with them.

First, they get washed with the dishes that night.  Then they air dry upside down in the dish drainer until the next day.  After that, they get put into this handy dandy tote I got years ago.

The tote lives in the cabinet next to my dishwasher, and I add jars to it until it is full.  It holds about 10 pint or 8 quart jars or a combination thereof.  When it is full, I carry it down to the cellar, where both full and empty jars are stored, and empty it out.  Usually while I'm down there emptying, I do a little cellar shopping and fill the tote back up with jars of food to take to the pantry in the kitchen.  I try to keep a couple week's worth of canned goods on hand in the pantry, with the rest staying down in the cellar.

Once the empty jars are to the cellar, they go in a couple of places.  The gallon and half-gallon (which don't fit in the tote, but occasionally get used and so are included) go up on the top shelf.  They are for things like pickled eggs and sun tea and anything else that requires a really large jar.

The other sizes go into labeled storage containers based on size and type.  My storage bins are all Rubbermaid 18 gallon totes that I have collected through the years (on sale, of course).

Ugh, albino cellar spider got in the picture!
On the other hand, let's turn this into a learning experience:
  "Look!  A perfect example of the lack of pigmentation in subterranean species!"

Once those are full, usually toward mid-winter, I have to start putting my empty jars on the cellar shelves themselves.  I try to keep them grouped by size and mouth-opening (wide versus regular) in whatever areas we have all ready used up most of the full jars.

I'd love to keep all like jars together in containers to help keep them clean, but, alas, the stores around me no longer carry my preferred brand (Rubbermaid) and I'm not about to buy the brand they do offer.  I tried that brand a while back and found their bins to be more brittle and not last nearly as long. My Rubbermaid bins are all 12-20 years old and still going strong.  So, until I come up with a better solution, empty jars go into their assigned storage bins, and once the bins are full, the empty jars go on the shelves.

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