When you live in an old house like my, 1867 house, you sometimes discover really neat things.
Today was one of those days.
I was canning and and I knew that one of the previous "women of the house" had left all her canning jars in the basement. The one that did this lived here in the 1970's to early '80's so I figured I'd probably have a bunch of either normal jars and/or maynaise jars. Money is tight this week and I've been canning up a storm so I thought I'd check out her jars to see if there were any I could wash up and use.
Well, there were some mayonnaise and assorted bottles that obviously were condiment jars at one time (and those cannot be reused to can) ... and then some of these! Aren't these neat? I researched the Ball jars online at this lovely blog, http://livinghomegrown.com/2012/06/dating-old-canning-jars.html, and it appears that some of these may be from as far back as the 1920-1930's! I so totally love that! The jazz age is one of my favorite times in history, I love the Art Deco style, and now I own a little piece of it. Too cool.
Now the down side, most of the jars in the basement are also the clamp lid style and having never canned with these, I did some research online as well only to discover that it's generally not recommended. The information I discovered here: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/using-old-canning-jars-zmaz99aszsto.aspx#axzz3CZNFISqm
indicated that it generally isn't safe as old jars may have chips or cracks that would prevent a good seal or may actually crack under the pressure of canning. Bummer. I seem to have a lot of these. If anyone has had success canning with old bail style jars, please let me know. Also most of mine are rusted, is there anywhere that you can replace the wire on these?
If not, I'll need to find a lot of craft projects using bail style jars.
While we are on the topic of canning.. and because I've been up since 9am doing it today, let me give you a tip I was reminded of recently that I had forgotten. If you can tomaotes, listen up. We all know the biggest time suck when canning tomatoes is the time you spend boiling the skins off of them. About a year ago, I was watching Rachel Ray's 30 mins. cooking show and she roasted the tomatoes in the off season to bring out their flavor. "Eureka!" I thought. While she wasn't intending this as a canning trick, this certainly works and allows you to peel as many tomatoes as you can fit on a baking sheet at one time.
Line you sheet with tin foil. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Wash your tomatoes and make an X in them just as you would if you were boiling tomatoes. Now put the entire thing in the oven for 20-30 mins. After that time remove them. You have just now loosened up all those tomato skins AT ONE TIME! Just now cool, peel and process! This is one of those, why he heck didn't I think of that! It's brilliant and works wonderfully. Careful lifting them out of the oven, in my case 30 tomatoes get a bit heavy. But isn't that a wonderful thing?
Happy canning season from my kitchen to yours!