Organizing canning supplies
Anyone have a good system for organizing canning supplies? I've ended up with my stuff scattered in different places around the house. Now that the mason jars no longer come in the nice boxes they used to they aren't as easy to store and stack when empty, I have lid parts scattered in different places, especially the rings. Plus I'm using a couple different systems. I have some Weck ( which thankfully come in nice boxes that are easy to store) but also regular canning jars and I'm using tattlers for some things and regular lids for others.
I thought about just getting a plastic bin for the lids but if the rings get bent they can result in bad seals so they need to be tossed.
I, too, lament the passing of the full-enclosure boxes. I take the slacker's way out, and keep the open flats in which to store the full and emptied jars. They still stack OK, it's the lids and rings that can be a hassle to store. As I empty jars, I try to put on a new set of metal on the jars (loosely) when they go back into storage. I also try to keep one unopened box of lids and rings so they stay together.
Please tell me about the "tattlers", will you?
They are reusable, BPA free plastic lids with rubber gaskets and use the same metal rings during processing as regular disposable canning jar lids do.
I've only bought wide mouth, since that is what I use the most in mason jars, but of course then I got on the jam kick which use the regular mouth so I haven't been using them lately. I did use some when I pressure canned soaked beans earlier this year and they worked great. I just need to get some regular mouth ones now.
I'm trying a new system this year. My little storage space for home canned vegetables holds as much stuff as we can eat until the garden is producing again next spring. When we eat a jar of food, the jar gets washed and put back in the spot from which it came.
Surplus jars that I don't regularly use, a whole bunch of quarts and 1 1/2 quarts, are stored in boxes in the barn.
the never-ending problem, isn't it?
I have mine stacked (only somewhat precariously) in a wooden crate, and I keep rings and lids in a plastic bag tucked into the box.
I try to keep an old dishtowel (one of the stained ratty ones that always seem to be around) over the top of the box to keep the dust out.
You might also put a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the bottle, then use the old rings to hold it on -- also keeps the dust out of the jars.
EDIT: Okay - so it's now a plastic tub - I found a broken slat on the bottom of the crate as I was carrying it downstais. :)
I have purged the vast majority of my metal lids and rings. I decided I really only need to keep about 10 of each size ring on hand--enough to process a full kettle of jars plus a few for whatever partially eaten stuff is in the fridge. I toss most of the original metal lids as soon as whatever was in the jar is eaten up since those get replaced every year anyway, at least until I can convert to Tattler. I keep rings and a few spare lids in a rectangular bin in a cabinet where the rest of my storage containers live. Any extra extras I stash inside my kettle for the off season.
I am about five minutes away from having an enormous empty jar storage problem, myself. My dilemma is I've decided I prefer most things in pint jars but I am loathe to get rid of all my quarts because I know I'll regret it and I have quite a few of the cool old blue/antique ones.
I have IKEA's Broder shelving system in a couple of places in my garage that hold canning stuff, but I think I've conceded that I need to put shelves to the ceiling in my back pantry just for empties because my cabinets are full and chaotic with jars this season. I like that particular shelving system because it's super sturdy, the shelves come in two depths (I prefer the shallow for easier accessibility) and it's easily height configurable. As soon as I get a minute I am going to see if I can find some decorative cardboard storage boxes or baskets to store empties.
So I guess my answer is to line every available wall with shelves and then try to tart it up enough to distract from the fact that I might possibly have a jar hoarding problem.
Good suggestion on getting rid of the excess rings. Of course every case of jars comes with rings but you never store them on the jars so they just accumulate. I have a bunch of the plastic lids for storage in the fridge once the jar is opened.
I wish I could find the perfect sized boxes for my jars so I could stack them. Milk crates work pretty good, but I can't really spare then for empty jars and they don't keep dust off. With my cats I can't store any jars on open shelves.
I have a walk in pantry but it was obviously not designed by a seasoned cook. No floor to ceiling shelves.
I wonder why jars are always sold with lids and rings... would be better IMHO to buy just the jars because (a) the rings accumulate (as you pointed out already) and (b) I never like the lid gaskets to have already been compressed by the rings being screwed down at the factory (though I've never had a problem with the lids, so know I'm worrying needlessly).