Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Breaking up is good to do

From the ongoing bedtime story called If You Give a MiserMom a Canning Jar . . . comes this one obvious chapter on the use of canning jars: you can use them to hold food.

Like, of course.

You can even use canning jars to hold food that you didn't even bother to can.

Still a no brainer, I know.  But it's one of the most common ways I'm using jars nowadays.

There's a purpose beyond busy-work for transferring food that comes in bags, boxes, and bins into these jars. I don't put my food into jars just because everything is prettier that way than when it's heaped up in bags and boxes (although I do think jars of dry beans have a certain aesthetic quality to them).
Pretty beans?

The reason I use canning jars is not so that I can store the food; it's so I can retrieve it.

I buy most of my dry goods in bulk. If I tried to store it all in the kitchen, my shelves would be so full I could never find anything.  So I store most of my food in the pantry in the basement, and I keep just enough upstairs that I can see it and use it.  If I need more, I just go "shopping" in the basement. I could store all of that food in large bins, but I use small jars instead:  I'm a lot more likely to grab a pint of dry beans off the shelf than wrestle with some giant bag or bin.  That means I'm more likely to use the food I already have.

For my hungry family, a pint jar of dry beans happens to be just about the right amount to toss straight into a pot of water to soak overnight: no measuring cups involved.  For the same ease-of-use reason, I've divvied up what was left from a bag of rye flour into pint-sized canning jars.  Before I put it into jars, the bag sat curled up in a drawer staring at me balefully and taunting me, for months.   Bags of rye flour are just messy beasts to use, aren't they?.  But once the rye was corralled and pre-measured within easy grab-n-go jars, it was a cinch to use the flour up the next few times I made bread.

The grab-n-go is why I put our leftover Swiss Chard salad in a quart-sized canning jar one night.  The next morning, it went straight into my lunch bag along with a small jar of cashews.  By lunch time, all was history.

It's why, when I make pots of soup, we don't put the leftovers into the fridge until we've transferred everything to jars.  (Canning jars don't leak, and once you remove the lids and rings, canning jars can go straight into the microwave).

What you're looking at above is lunch-lunch-lunch-snack-lunch.  No prep time, just yum.

If you give a Miser Mom a Canning Jar, she can take it anywhere.

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