Sunday, 17 March 2013

jam jar etiquette : lesson two

Do you have a stinky jar? Are you embarrassed at the odour when you give home~made jam to your friends? 

If you have a problem, and no one else can help, maybe you should hire ... The A Team... Duh duh duh duh, duh duh duh, duh duh duh duh, duh duh duh duh der.. 

Something that can be very off~putting when reusing jars is the smell.  If the jar you have was used for blueberry and apple jam, or honey, or lemon curd, then you're fine, you can fill it with whatever you'd like to make.

If your jar was used for chutney or gherkins or mint sauce it may well have a noticeable whiff of vinegar, which somehow clings to the glass as well as the lids, even if you wash them several times.    Of course, if you're going to make chutney, that's fine, so you can get right on with that.  Jars which previously housed curry sauce or sweet and sour sauce will also somehow have managed to remain noisome*, but fear not,  good citizens, for I have journeyed far and wide in search of a cure for this loathsome odour, and I have good news for all ~ you shall make the jars not stinky (as in : you shall go to the ball!).  Do not fear, all is not lost ~ you too can have lovely~not~at~all~vinegary smelling jars!

First thing to do is work out whether or not you have a stinky jar, which is very easy to do ~ take your washed and dried jar and lid, and have a proper sniff of the inside.  If you can't smell anything, great.  Store the jar (with the lid on), wherever is handy for you.

If you feel just a tad dizzy from the vinegar fumes, that's what we're learning how to fix, so keep reading.  But sit down first, and take a couple of deep breaths...that's it...okay.  Now keep reading.

Put a teaspoon of bicarbonate of sodium, also known as sodium bicarb, into a measuring jug.  You can find it in the baking aisle in the supermarket, along with the flour.
Add warm water to the measuring jug to make it up to about ¼pint/400ml, stir to dissolve.  Don't worry too much if there's some sludgy bits still left in the bottom.

Pour the solution into the jar, close the lid tightly.  Trust me, you want this lid on that jar properly.

Shaky shaky shake shake ~ how you do this is up to you, but it never hurts to put some Ricky Martin on and dance your way across the kitchen. . .
Shake for anything upwards of thirty seconds ~ I'm sure it's excellent exercise, so carry on for thirty minutes if you like!

Tip the bicarb mixture out, either into the sink or into another jar if you have more than one to do ~ plenty of de~odourizing (see, that's where that word comes from) power left in that!

Now wash the jar thoroughly, allow to dry, and screw the lid on tightly before storing, ready for use.

If I was less lazy busy, I would do the sniff test on every jar before storing it, so that all the jars in the cupboard are ready to be pressed into service for whatever I'm making, without having to think about it.  You know, in an ideal world and all that.


            ~You've now completed jam jar etiquette lesson two!

jam jar etiquette : lesson one asked 'why make jam?'; whether to buy new jars or reuse those you already have; and how to store empty jars should you decide to reuse.

Today in jam jar etiquette : lesson two you found out how to de~stink jars so you feel happy and confident handing over jars to friends. 

Next time, jam jar etiquette : lesson three asks 'sterilizing jars ~ why and how?'; there are a few ways to sterilize jars ready to fill them with yummy homemade jam, chutney, or marmalade.  Different methods work for different kinds of jars, so this time the most frequently used type of jar will be sterilized step by step.

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