Jars are the stars,
Stay outta your cars,
’cause the fruit’s
the big loot.
Just put your ink on the label,
There’ll be food on the table.
Oh baby, I’m dancin’ with jars
’cause jars are the stars.
Okay, so rap isn’t my calling. But jammin’ sure is, and this week I’m happily taking inventory, counting jars and lids, ordering pectin, and getting psyched. There’s no such thing as too much jam.
My Twenty Something son has helped me can fruit numerous times, voluntarily. We also sometimes make bread together when he is around. He is a calming soul in the kitchen just as he is on the Ultimate Frisbee field, which is his preferred territory. This past weekend I watched him play in the National Championships. After I got over the thrill of seeing him live on my computer screen (thank you CBS Sports), I basked in the language of the Land of Ultimate. The frisbee is the disc, and you can huck, pull, cut, flick, hammer, grab or dump it, but never diss it by spiking it.
Likewise, canning has its language, and we know the parts. Jars, lids, rings, funnels, jar lifters and grips, and the magnetic lid wand. The beautiful glass jars, molded with diamonds and fruit shapes and classic Ball and Kerr logos, can be wide-mouth or regular mouth; and quart, pint, 3/4 pint, and half pint in size.
You can seal them with lids, which are single-use, available at grocery stores for 20-25 cents each (12 regular mouth for $2.50). You can also seal jam with wax, but I haven’t done that in decades. The metal rings are just to keep the lids in place during processing, and later for protection. I have a huge box full of them. Once the jar is opened, I throw the lid away and use nifty storage caps.
The Bearded One and I installed the plastic together, in between watching Ultimate Frisbee games. The whole time I imagined our son watching us from the sidelines and describing the action: “He cuts the plastic with a nice breaking flick. He dumps the little trimming. Cuts again, this time a big one. He hucks it downfield! Mom comes down on the floaty plastic. She goes to the inside and rolls the edges. The Bearded One, on the outside, places the lath and hammers it. Good job, you guys. A nice, clean game.”