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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Canning for Gift Giving

I was thinking this morning about the upcoming holidays and realized with all the jars that people will be giving as gifts that maybe I should put together some tips about "gift giving". There are plenty of sites on the web that will give you lots of ideas how to "decorate" your jars and I wasn't really interested in repeating. I did find some quick "recycle" ideas though.

Once you hand that jar of your home made delicatables to a non-canner you have no idea where they will store it so you have to make sure other items are very clear: the expiration date and the description of what is in the jar. Oh and one last thing,  what to do with the jar when it's empty! 
Here are some quick tips about presenting a jar to a friend or family member that might not know very much about canning.

1. Properly Label: Make sure to make a nice label to the top or side of the jar.  Create a label that you can put on the name of the recipe, but in many cases you should list the types of ingredients that make up that recipe so if someone has allergies they will know the contents. You can find a ton of creative labels on the web. Here is the basic information you need to have (you can leave out the "process")
If you only want to do a front label here is a very clever idea from S.C.R.A.P. for the lids. 

    Canning gift rings
    Greeting Card Insert






    Take recycled gift or greeting cards and cut out a circle using the lid as a template to fit inside the ring for a special message.


      2. Rings Back On: Make sure to put the ring back on the jar before you give it away. Instead of the ring you could put on a plastic canning lid so when they open it and stash it in the refrigerator the contents will stay fresher longer.


      3. Dating your contents: You should attach note to the jar or add it to your front label to tell your recipient; "Gobble up by:","Need to devour by:", or "Consume by:" so that they will eat it before it goes bad. Make sure you look at the date you canned it and when gift giving date it forward just a year.


      4. Getting the jars back: It may require an additional note or clever quip. Here are a few you could use:
      • "Please enjoy and I'd be thrilled with the return of the jar so it can be refilled"
      • "If you have enjoyed the fruits of my labor and found within this jar a taste to savor then do me a little favor... please return the jar and ring! Thank you Neighbor.
      • "Please enjoy the fruits of our labor and our bountiful harvest. As a reminder, Please remember, I plowed, disk and planted, fertilized, hoed and weeded, watered, composted and harvested. Then, I stood in a 300 degree kitchen in the heat of August carefully canning the delicacy your are consuming. Please tell me you are not so lame to not return my jar. If you don't I will hunt you down and hold you captive until I get my jar back!
      • From shockinglydelicious.com - "A canning jar is truly something, A special gift that keeps on giving. When it’s empty, don’t despair, Please send it back for another share! *(And the lids, too!)

      If you come up with other ideas for "sayings" to get your jars back I would love to see them in the comments. There are a ton of ideas for decorating on the web and would love to see your pictures of your gift giving jars on my Facebook page!