As you would imagine, at this time of year we are busy harvesting and preserving the bulk of our food for the next twelve months. It takes a bit of time to build a jar collection and along with it comes a lot of accessories. In order to streamline the bottling process it is a good idea to put some thought into your storage as this can streamline the whole process and save you time and frustration.
Over the years I have collected many sizes so that I can bottle food into jar sizes that are practicle for their purpose. It can sound a bit mystifying when you hear bottlers talk about jar sizes and lid sizes.
The Fowlers & Vacola system is quite old and from the time before Australia converted to metric. The jar number relates to the ounces a jar holds and the lid/clip/ring numbers relate to the inches across the mouth of the jar. Therefore a #31 bottle takes a #4 lid. Once you understand this it all becomes a lot easier.
So here is how I have devised a storage solution for all those rings, lids and clips. I have a kitchen cupboard with stacked plastic tubs that fit the space beautifully and I have clearly labelled them. One of the other boxes holds assorted lids from saved and recycled commercial jars. The #1 box contains the seals for the old fashioned pint/juice bottles and has spare clip seals and labels as there is spare room.
And this is typical of what each box contains. I use stainless steel lids and though they cost extra in the beginning, they are far more cost effective than the tin being more resistant to corrosion from acidity. I ALWAYS have a few packets of rubber rings at all times as there is nothing worse than having a glut of food to deal with and the shops being sold out during bottling time which happens EVERY year. I have found the most reliable supplier for me has been the smaller retailers like my local IGA here in Campbell Town and The Log Cabin Nursery in Youngtown are more than happy to order in quickly and more especially they get me the rare #2 and #1 seals.
Keep everything clean and dry and remember to always store your thermometer upright, that's what the handy hole in the top is good for.
So what's your system? Have you got a clever idea for storage?