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Jars: Trash or Treasure?

box of jars This crate of jars was given to me by my mother who received it from my paternal grandmother.  What does this look like to you? Trash?

To me, it was a box full of potential. I know Grandma Joyce is a collector of stuff.  Out of the box of miscellaneous jars, I decided not to keep many of unknown origin or with chipped rims. After a little digging and sorting, look what turned up:

row of used canning jarsNearly two dozen usable canning jars. Of course they will all need new lids, which I buy every time I can.

vintage kerr canning jarsI found some of my very favorite jar style in that box.  I adore these squat squared half pint jars.  They are shaped differently than anything I can buy new and the flat back side gives a lovely view of what is canned inside.

Using inherited or thrifted jars adds a whole new dimension to the preservation effort.  As I'm milling applesauce, coring tomatoes, or stirring jam, I often wonder what the life was like of the woman or man who used the jars before me.

Were they preserving out of necessity or hobby?  Were they making a special family recipe or trying something new?  Were they working alone with babes underfoot, alongside their teenage children, or with a group of friends as my mother used to do?  Of course, I will never know the situations for most vintage jar in my stash.

vintage atlas mason jar

I can guess with relative assurance that anyone who went to the pains of home canning some time ago would be delighted to know that someone is still using their jars and practicing the art of food preservation. This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday.