Silly, silly

It’s the time of year when gardeners are turning their ripe tomatoes into sauces and salsas and cucumbers into pickles. But a boom in gardening and preparing food at home during the coronavirus pandemic has led to a scarcity of supplies with which to preserve them.

From Maine and Vermont to Louisiana and West Virginia, gardeners have reported being in a pickle when it comes to finding the right size glass jars, the special lids to safely seal them, or the bands with which to screw them on. They’ve gone from store to store and some have given in to paying higher prices online.

“We have been everywhere,” said Vanessa Ware of Hurricane, West Virginia, who said she went to at least half a dozen stores after running out of supplies for her tomatoes, peppers, corn and sauerkraut canning.

The emissions from looking for the supplies being greater or lesser than those from just going shopping for the food?

18 thoughts on “Silly, silly”

  1. Better that your wife has a cheap and time-consuming hobby like this, rather than an expensive one like sitting on the sofa scrolling through Amazon’s tat-bazaar and clicking “buy” every five seconds. *sigh*

  2. In our outhouse we have a big white box. It is fitted with a small heat pump which keeps it really cold inside. Garden produce keeps really well in there.

  3. Its called preparation. I’ve made about 30 jars of jam recently (Jostaberry & Raspberry). I didn’t have to look far and wide for them. I had been collecting jars of suitable sizes for months before hand. And some were empty jam jars from a previous year.

  4. I suspect this is a mostly-ginned-up story. Out here in outstate Michigan, we can every year, and our usual supplier of lids and bands is an outfit that sells them by the pound – Country View Market in Stover, MI, if anyone wants to check. Prices may be slightly-elevated, but there is no shortage. We don’t buy jars, because we have hundreds already.

    I suspect that there is maybe an issue for people canning for the first time, who can’t find supplies at Meijer or Kroger. Just need to go where the supplies are.

    llater,

    llamas

  5. I just checked Ball’s website (www.ballsofficial.com) and they say they have ample inventory of everything and can ship today – price discounts, even. But you have to buy in bulk.

    Non-story. Local shortages of 12-packs of seals.

    llater,

    llamas

  6. Sixty years ago my parents used the same kilner jars each year, replacing the rubber seals as and when necessary.
    What particularly baffles me is why the septics need the “right size” jars! Why cannot they just select some jars and make enough jam etc to fill those?
    “*the special lids to safely seal them, or the bands with which to screw them on.*” This *must* be The Grauniad – the rubber “bands” (which are not “rubber bands”) are to safely seal the jars and the special lids are screwed on.

  7. @john77 – the US ‘standard’ canning jar aka Ball jar, comes in two most-common sizes (there are others), hence the need for the ‘right’ size seals and bands.

    The seal system is different than the Kilner-style jar. The ‘seal’ is actually a lid, made of tin plate, with a thin rubber seal around the edge, which seals on the glass lip of the jar. The ‘band’ is a formed tinplate collar which screws onto the thread molded into the neck of the jar to retain the seal.

    A properly sealed jar does not actually require the band – the vacuum inside the jar holds the seal tight. The band is only used to protect the seal in handling. We don’t put bands on our jars unless we’re going to transport them.

    So now you know.

    Limey.

    llater,

    llamas

  8. “The seal system is different than the Kilner-style jar. The ‘seal’ is actually a lid, made of tin plate, with a thin rubber seal around the edge, which seals on the glass lip of the jar. The ‘band’ is a formed tinplate collar which screws onto the thread molded into the neck of the jar to retain the seal.”

    That is the original Kilner jar system:

    https://www.kilnerjar.co.uk/index.php/kilner-range/preserve-jars.html

    My mother used to use them in the 70s. You had the metal disc lids with the rubber seal which you needed to buy new ones of every few years (they were supposed to be one use but you could definitely get more than one out of them) and the jar and the screw on clip which were re-usable. The wire clip ones with a rubber washer aren’t real Kilner jars at all. They may be known as that now, but the design that made Kilner jars a worldwide name is the 3 piece jar as you describe.

  9. The reason to create one’s own condiments in this way is driven partly by taste. We make our own tomato sauce when we have a successful tomato season (which is not every year !). And by crikey it’s a damn sight better than any bought one. And homegrown tomatoes are typically better, though not necessarily always so.

  10. @jim – no, what we both described is the current product made by Kilner – similar as the US Ball- or Mason-brand jar. The ‘original’ Kilner jar used a glass cap or lid with a separate rubber sealing ring. Google ‘Kilner Jar’ for images of this design. This is the style that john77 described. The Ball- or Mason-style design became more-popular because a) the seal uses much-less rubber (important in WW2) and b) the domed tinplate lid gives a positive inducation that the required vacuum has formed and is still present.

    @john77 – amusing to note that Kilner, in the link that jim provides, refers to the Ball- or Mason-style lids as ‘seals’ and to the threaded collars as ‘bands’. Tomayto – Tomahto.

    llater,

    llamas

  11. Idiot virtue signallers

    They miss it’s DIY

    Simples: fill jar, pour melted food wax (eg buy some cheese and reuse wax) over top. Job done

  12. Sunk-cost fallacy. We’ve got the produce, so we MUST process it, even if the cost of doing so in materials purchased (let alone in time and energy inputs) exceeds the cost of composting the produce and buying the food. It makes the house pretty hot too.

    In our household the excuse is knowing that our canned tomatoes are better suited to the low-sodium diet required by one member than the bulk of the brands of tinned tomatoes one can buy in the supermarket.

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