Home Made

John Landis Mason invented the Mason Jar on November 30, 1858. In 1884, Ball Corporation began manufacturing glass home-canning jars, the product that established Ball as a household name and licensed Mason’s design.

I didn’t grow up in a household where we canned fruits and vegetables. Living in the suburbs, our garden only had a few tomato plants, a few green vegetables and the occasional zucchini plant. It was our small version of a Victory Garden but it never produced much more than we could eat that summer.

However, my Dad’s sister and her family always had a huge garden and they canned as much as possible. Back during the late 50’s and on into the 60s, I remember visiting the cousins “on the ranch”  and helping pick blackberries, cherries, apples, and a variety of smaller vegetables that they would preserve. I have great memories of helping cook apples for apple butter, making watermelon pickles, and helping prepare the jars and lids for canning. It was a lot of work and the large country kitchen was full of small helpers, my cousins and I each with an assigned task.

I think it was that sense of sharing in a generations-old activity that encouraged me to try canning with my granddaughter. 

What is America’s favorite flavor? According to data based on the U.S. Census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS), 163.97 million Americans consumed strawberry jams, jellies and preserves in 2019. So strawberry jam was on our list to try.

Nearly 128 million consumed grape jams or jellies. Raspberry, blackberry, and apricot round out the top five flavors, though considerably farther behind (50; 38; and 33 million). So we bought fresh strawberries from the market and a gallon jug of Welch’s grape juice to make strawberry jam and grape jelly. 

If you haven’t tried your hand at home made preserves, it’s surprising how much time is involved in preparing utensils, boiling water, sterilizing bottles and lids, cutting up fruit, measuring sugar and many other little tasks. While I got our little production underway, Cadence cut up the strawberries we had purchased.

Our assembly line worked pretty smoothly, the kitchen was filled with the smell of ripe strawberries, and the introduction to an element of frontier living went better than I could have hoped. We’ve got enough bottled preserves to last us through the winter, and though we never did make the pickles I had promised her, there is still time to try this summer.

While searching online for recipes and where to purchase mason jars, I was really surprised to see the many creative uses for mason jars that people have been inspired to share. The website freshpreserving in particular, had a lot of fun DIY projects for jars. The locking ring and lid are particular features of the mason jar. However, the website masonjars marketplace has an array of accessories to replace the traditional lid with pour spout lids, dispensor pumps, or spray tops to make reusable glass storage ware.

The wedding industry doesn’t seem to have slowed down in their love of rustic, DIY presentation and the mason jar has a proud position at the table as well as in lighting and other creative uses. And whatever your style, Etsy has it covered with over 51,000 entries alone for “mason jar decor.” That’s a pretty good heritage for John Mason and his glass container patent for the “Improvement In Screw-Neck Bottles.” It was the first hermetically re-sealable glass jar (US 22186A). His improvements, coupled with a rubber washer, transformed the capabilities of the home canning industry and solidified Mason’s place in history. (masonjars.com/history)

Mason jar wine glasses, a little bit country.
Wedding decor with firefly lighting and themed drink ware.
Rustic mason jar bird feeder.

3 thoughts on “Home Made

  1. Very good. You did not see the dozens of jars
    of pickles and jams, including marmalade I put
    up, and stored in the shelves in the garage in
    Everett, nor the gallons of wine I bottled (not in
    gallons, but in bottles) and all those bottles of
    beer I made. It was not all that good, and Eric
    did not try it, but it was drinkable, and I did. All
    67 bottles of it.
    Ball puts out, or did, a very good booklet on
    preserving food. I used their recipes, and the ones
    in the red and white checkered cookbook.
    Later, in Everett, I froze a lot of the vegetables . I read
    you should boil all home preserved vegetables for
    ten minutes after opening the jars before consuming,
    and, since I figured that would reduce them to mush,
    I only canned fruit after that. Froze everything else.
    We had bought our 20 cubic foot freezer from Sears
    and put it in that service porch that had been added
    to to the back door in Smith Valley before you were born, so I was used to freezing things. (We traded
    the freezer to Claire for the 4 door Austin, and bought a smaller freezer when we were on Clemson, before
    driving down to Cal Poly)
    I found such satisfaction in listening for all those
    lids to pop, and looking at all the glistening jars
    sitting in their rows on the counter. Did you find
    it so?
    Love,
    Mom

    Sent from my iPad

    Like

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