The Art of Paper Filigree

This blog is to celebrate the things I enjoy making. This includes quilling art, crafts, and cooking recipes and ideas, as well as some musings. I enjoy sharing ideas. By all means, if you want to borrow an art idea, go for it. But please, make it your own; don't just copy. If you've never heard of quilling art, I hope this introduces it as an art form and possible hobby. And I hope the pages to the right of the quilling blog posts offer up information, ideas and inspiration.

Enjoy your visit! If you have questions or comments, by all means share.


Funny thing about large chain grocery stores these days is that they don't necessarily carry the things we need when we need them, because they've decided that... preserving for instance... is a seasonal activity.  Feh.  I find winter a great time to make jam.  The fruit is in the freezer, or it's available in some way at the store these days, so why not put those snowy days to good use?  And when it comes to things like Red Pepper Jelly, why the peppers go on special at this time of year just as often as when they're in season, so why not replenish our stock of goodies in our pantry on a wintery day?  Problem is, those preserving jars you need may not be available at this time of year, and those big box stores won't be able to get any for you because the people in the store aren't actually running the store.  Some ivory tower types in power suits are deciding from afar what we're allowed to do and not do at what season of the year.

I discovered this years ago and have been buying my preserving jars at the local hardware store ever since.  Not only are the jars I want readily available, they're cheaper and if the stock runs out, the folks who run this main street business will happily order in more ~ in any season.  Just a word to the wise.

So, of course you need some of these preserving jars to bottle up your jam, jelly, or relishes.   I use the 250 ml. or 1 cup size for jam.  Those with big families may wish to use the next size up, which is 500 ml or 2 cups.  At the same time, elderly couples or people on their own may wish to use the "jelly jar" size.  At 125 mls or half cup, this size is easier to use up before the stuff inside goes funky.  But you'll also want to get some bigger jars so you can make gifts of the rest of the batch if you wish.  ;o)

Wash the jars you choose in hot, soapy water, rinse thoroughly, wipe the rims with a clean dish cloth and place, on their bottoms, on a clean cookie sheet in the oven.  Turn the oven on to 250 degrees when you're almost ready to cook the preserves.  It only takes my oven a few minutes to heat up and I cook my jars for 20 mins.  Judge accordingly.

The lids are also washed in that hot soapy water and rinsed well.  Then place them, rubber rings up, into a large Pyrex glass bowl, along with a preserving funnel, tongs, metal ladle, and a couple of spoons.  ALWAYS ready a couple more jars and a few more lids than you're expecting to use.  Doo-doo happens sometimes and you want to be prepared for it.

You also need a kettle for boiling water to sterilize those lids, and a clean, sterilized cloth for wiping the jar rims.  I just bleach the cloth I use first in a light bleach solution (water and bleach), then wring it out, fold it and set it on the hot stove to the kettle for the water.  Of course you need a very large saucepan or preserving kettle for your preserves.

Tips:  You don't want to waste energy or cook your jars overlong, on the other hand, you don't want to have to wait for the jars to finish sterilizing once your preserves are ready.  I usually turn on my oven when my preserve ingredients are almost prepared... but before I'm ready to cook them.  Also, turn on your kettle of water before you turn on the burner under the preserves.  It's ok if it comes to a boil before you're ready for it.  Just turn it off; it will be hot and ready to bring back to the boil when you're ready for it.  The lids need to soak for about 5 mins. in the boiling water before being placed on the hot jars of preserves.  I find though, that this usually works out fine if I pour the boiling water over the lids just before I take the jars out of the oven.  The funnel and ladle don't need to soak; they can be taken immediately out of the boiling water and used to jar up your preserves while the lids soak.   Fill the jars to 1/4 inch below rim, wipe rims with sterile cloth and place lids onto jars.  Tighten finger-tip tight and place on level surface to seal.  The pop and a downward curved lid will indicate that your preserves have sealed successfully.

Water bath?  Most recipes and gov't agencies recommend this and by all means, if you want to do this step, go for it.  I don't bother because I keep a sterile process the way my nanna and mom did.  After pouring boiling preserves into boiling hot jars and placing boiling hot lids on them, I'm done.  No problems so far. 


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