Monday, 21 September 2015

Labeling Your Canning

September means canning season is well under way! I usually do my first batch of canned goods in early July when the strawberries are in season, and then throughout the summer I can whatever fruits inspire me to make a jelly, a syrup or something of that sort. Then when the summer months turn to fall, that's when I really get excited to start preserving. The veggies are finally at their best and we normally do huge batches of salsa, tomato sauce and pickles. But this year is different. We don't have a fixed address, and the back of a jeep isn't really the best pantry. When we packed up our Toronto apartment and squeezed all of our belongings into a storage locker, I told myself I wouldn't be doing much canning this year, and I brought only my small canner and six or seven jars. 

Well, I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this... That of course turned out to be a ridiculous decision. From the moment we arrived on this island I've been continuously inspired by abundance of fresh foods (both wild and farmed) and I've been canning and preserving just as much as ever! I loaded up on mason jars at Value Village and Canadian Tire (I can always use a few more, right?) and I haven't looked back since!

So with a cupboard full of preserves, (and preserves that I'll probably be gifting) I started finding fun ways to label all my goods. And today I thought I'd share some of my labeling ideas with you; so whether you're storing up the flavours of summer to give as Christmas gifts, or you just need to keep your pantry organized, here are a few cute ideas that I hope you'll try!

Cute Craft Sticks This is my favourite idea! The little wooden labels are super simple, super sweet and super functional. To make them, purchase wooden craft sticks at a dollar store or craft store (you want the ones that are like popsicle sticks, just slightly wider). Cut the rounded ends off each stick, then cut the length of wood into two or three pieces. I found that a sharp pair of scissors cut the sticks easily, but you could also use a small hand saw. Use a drill to make a small hole in the centre of one end (I used a 3/32 drill bit) and then tie each label to the jar using twine or string. In this photo I used paper string, it's just what it sounds like, it's string made of paper(!), and I love the way it looks. It's a bit stiffer than twine and it's sooo pretty. Look for it at art and stationary stores.

Kraft Paper + Stamps  I love this labeling solution for any preserves that you plan to use as gifts. Cut a circle of brown kraft paper (packing paper) 12 cm or five inches in diameter. Use an ultra fine point sharpie (or similar art pen) to write the name of the preserve and the date on the lower part of the centre circle and then add a stamp just above. I carved my own stamps, but you can pick up an ink pad and small stamp at any craft store. You could experiment with coloured inks or just go with the classic black like I did. Place the kraft paper over the mason jar lid and secure with a pretty piece of butchers twine, string or ribbon.

Tapes + Tags One of the easiest ways to make your preserves look professional is to buy some cool tags at an art or craft store. Chris gave me this wood-look tape for Christmas, and I found a great use for it with canning labels. I just cut off a length of the decorative tape, stick it on the jar, and add the info. I think it looks fab! And another easy labeling solution that I go back to time and time again, are the classic office labels (find them on amazon). I love the packing tags, you know the cream coloured ones with the little reddish brown reinforcement around the hole? Or in this photo I've used the classic round key tag as a label for our chive flowers. Order yourself some classic labeling tags from amazon, or just go to a craft supply like Michael's and fall in love with all the many options that they have in store!

Happy Canning!

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