About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Monday, April 07, 2008
Preserving Jars
I've just had an enquiry as to where one might find preserving jars in Melbourne. A quick phone call to The Essential Ingredient, who stock both screw lid and rubber seal jars, revealed that they have just received a new shipment of stock. If you do any preserving, you know what great news that is, as preserving jars of any sort can be very hard to come by.

The Essential Ingredient, Prahran Market, Elizabeth Street, 9827 9047

Hot Cheapskate Tip: If you don't mind a bit of variety in your jars, simply wash and store jars that you have used up the contents of, like jam and pickle jars and hey presto, after a short while, you will have all the preserving jars you need. Virtually any jar can be recycled this way.
  posted at 3:57 pm

At 9:17 pm, Blogger George Biron said...

Fowlers vacola Jars prices seem to be at an all time low in op-shops around here> less than 50c for number 4's New Clips and rubbers are really cheap.
100 no 4s of tomatoes are in the larder.

At 9:32 pm, Blogger Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Recycling old jars is great, but remember to change the tops and rings, because you can't sanitize the old ones.

At 11:22 pm, Blogger Ed Charles said...

And if you don't have an op shop you could try Chef's Hat opposite South melbourne market - considerably cheaper than the Essential Ingredient. I collect lots of jars but the problm with some is that the tops don't seal well.These jars are on my mind right now as I'm about to preserve a stack of Aubergines and am thinking of using some to experiemt in making my own Amaro.

At 5:26 am, Blogger Katie Zeller said...

To add to Lydia - one cannot always find new lids for a lot of recycled jars... and, while fat and parrafin kind of work, they won't work for all foods.
That said, the jars that I use in France - glass lids with rubber pull rings, would send American food cops into high alert...

At 5:36 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Food sends American food police into high alert.

If it isn't packaged, processed and pasturized, it isn't fit to eat.

That said using jars not designed for home preserving will result in breakage and as has been pointed out it is difficult to find lids.

At 8:14 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi George, great tip, those jars seem to pop up everywhere, though I do have friends who had trouble locating the rubber rings and sometimes we've had to wait for some. Isn't it great having all that summer held in a jar; preserved tomatoes make winter much more bearable.

Hi lydia, my wife has been using recycled jars all her life and I've helped her for almost ten years using them and she never changes the lids, the same as her sister, but I hear what you're saying. Perhaps the secret is in how you process the jars as this is when the nasties are killed off.

Hi ed, great tip about Chef's Hat, I'll check them out. The lids sometimes don't seal for us too, then it's off to the recycle bin with that jar. We collect so many, having one or two fail doesn't matter, we just re process in a new(old) jar.

Hi katiez, one has to do, what one has to do!

Hi ntsc, aah, the food police, saviours of our health, makes you wonder how mankind ever managed to leave the forests of Africa all those millennia ago. All jars are designed for preserving and if handled carefully should give you no trouble, I don't recall any jars we've used breaking...unless we dropped them.

At 1:45 pm, Blogger George Biron said...

Fowlers Vacola [I have no shares or any contras][with anyone] 25 Racecourse Road North Melb has new staimless lids and all rubbers as well as some very cool corers. The glass is heavy and made way over spec, they will rise again in value. Its a pilgramage to an old Australian company, a real legend.

At 11:58 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

for me, it's got to be vacola jars - they are just so much better... A good tip is to try recycling bottle depots. I know the one in Bendigo close to where I live is always abundant in them. I bought about 100 jars for $20 a few years ago and haven't filled them yet! I learnt bottling from the CWA - sorry nick, not much help to you.

Most hardware stores carry the lids and seals, and op shops also have the fowlers preserving book (a little A5 paperback). I'd highly recommend picking one up as it gives the detailed method for bottling everything imaginable. Mine from the 50s has a special section on not bottling rabbit because of the recent arrival of myxomatosis!

Regarding using standard jars for bottling, Mediterraneo Wholesalers on Sydney rd in brunswick recycles and sells their big pickle jars cheaply. My mother in law sterilizes her jars with Milton's tablets for baby's bottles, before drying in the oven. She also wraps the hot, sealed filled bottles in a blanket on the floor in a corner - this assists in the vacuum seal working on all lids, and she has a fantastic strike rate. I check the seal on lids by placing a pencil across them a few hours afterwards, to make sure the lid has sucked in properly.

I'd encourage everyone to bottle. The CWA ladies were despairing of the collapse of this great tradition in food saving...the preserving section at the Royal Show is soooo sad now.

To my mind, it's the only sensible way to make jam. I chuck all my jam fruit (organic apricots $5 a box, a bit bruised but perfect for jam, at the local Wesley Hill Market in Castlemaine) into the vacola and preserve it in water until the cool weather comes in autumn and I can actually face standing over a hot jam pan.

At 9:10 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi george, good info about an Aussie icon. One thing about their rubbers though, they generally only fit their own jars and finding rubbers for other jars can be very difficult. Clarke Rubber will cut rubber rings to size, but a little expensive. It might be better to purchase the rubber sheet and cut your own rings to suit.

Hi anon, great information there, glad to see preserving is alive and well up your way. Another tip for dealing with fruit when you want to make jam on another day is to freeze the fruit, we have had great success with this.


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