Tuesday, June 21, 2011

compost and canning jars

Adam's friend's mom has a room in her house called the fruit room. It's basically where the food storage has been kept over the years. It was abandoned for some reason and they started storing their food somewhere else in the basement. Adam has been helping James clean out the house after his father's death a month ago. Adam mentioned the room to me. He told me there were 200-400 jars of home canned food that is no longer any good. Ann wants to get rid of it and did I want the jars? Who would turn down that offer? Not me! The catch was that we had to empty out the jars before I could use them. Luckily, Adam built me that much bigger than planned on compost bin. It will make fine compost! The oldest jar we've found so far was from 1964!!!

We went one evening after work to collect the first round of jars. We got 244 jars and that was only about 1/3 of the total jars in that room! Unfortunately, a lot of them are old condiment jars that she reused, even with the original (not canning) lids. I won't be canning in those so they are no good to me.

We carried just over half the bins over to the compost pile and started working. Adam unscrewed the lids and bands. I pried the canning lids off and emptied. We worked at it for about 4 hours.

Look at how old and vintage these lids are!

These 3 are my favorites. I have a couple of the sliver ones. I am hoping they come off in one piece because I have a DIY project in mind for those.

We had a wedding reception to go to so we quit before finishing. We had about 40 jars left to open and empty. But this is what food from 200 jars gets you. Much less than we were expecting... Well, we still have 400 more to add to that. Oddly, nothing stunk. Some came out like molasses, others had already turned to dirt inside the jar. Almost every jar still smelled exactly like what it was. I wouldn't have expected that since most of the jars were from the 60's to 1970.

We sorted the jars to keepable and those to be recycled. The recycle ones went in one large bin while the keepable ones got a quick rinse off from the hose. I think I got to keep about 40 of them.

Poor Adam got a giant blister on the palm of his hand from opening the stuck on lids and bands and he was wearing thick leather gloves! I tried taking over but I was much too weak to get those open.


cfoxes33 said...

Okay, because I love to can, those jars are awesome!

Heather and Thomas Mann said...

You are a brave woman! I'd be afraid to open anything that old! I am glad you got some good compost material and canning jars!

Tiff :o) said...

cfoxes33, I know! But I don't have enough space for them all so I could only keep the ones I could actually use.

lol It really wasn't that bad, Heather. If it made me want to puke, I could have stopped...but it all seemed like food.

Valerie said...

I was thinking the same thing as Heather. You are willing to do so many things I wouldn't. And this time you get free cool jars for your work!

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