Friday, 25 February 2011

The Ball Jar

 A collection of vintage French jam jars
My marmalade in an antique French jam jar with wax (available in French supermarkets)
A vintage French lightning clip jar (left), Weck jars (middle) , Kilner jar, jam jar on top (right).
Wine tastes just as good from a jar
Infuse vinegar with rose petals...
In America they call the renewed appeal of jars... the 'canvolution'... after home 'canning', which is not putting food in tin cans, but an older preservation technique, using fermentation, water baths and glass jars. Over in the states they have Mason jars and Ball jars. In France they used the 'lightning' clip, Kilner jars. Further back, wax was used to seal jars.
I find the jars themselves objects of beauty and search for antique ones. Drinking out of jam jars is very 'squat' chic, a style they have adopted in the US, manufacturing drinking Mason jars with handles. If only I could obtain some over here.
Next Friday, at The Underground Restaurant, I am hosting 'Jar Food' the meal.
Everything will be served in jars, the food, the drinks, the flowers.... finally, a chance to show off my collection.


Pickles in jars

Soup in a jar

Potted salmon rillettes using home cured salmon

Macaroni cheese with truffles

Agen prunes with Armagnac and creme fraiche

£30 and BYO Book here:


  1. Fantastic :-) We had peonies in jars on the tables at our wedding - some antique ones from ebay and also preserving jars that I have been able to reuse as well as an assortment that people collected for us. In America (and maybe here?) people make cupcakes in jars...handy as they don't get squashed when sent by post! Like these:

  2. I was once served wine in a jam jar at a friends home and I loved that and never forgot it. Your menu sounds delightful.
    The thing with bottling in this country is its makeshift nature that makes it a cack-handed job for crusty diehard allotmenteers. Every book you find on preserving will advise using folded newspaper or a tea towel on the bottom of a large pan. Once you are properly equipped the job is a whole lot easier.

  3. Michelle, yes I've heard about that, must have a go.

    Gloria: when I did canning at a French ex's with his mother, that's exactly what she used.
    I'm borrowing a huge American canner from my friend Matt Day...

  4. Kerstin - I've got some info re canning cakes and will email it to you. You have to be sure your jar is the right shape, so generally straight sided Weck jars are best and they are good and strong to bake in the oven. Makes a lovely gift when accompanied by a little jar of compote or jam.
    Of course, jars are cheap as chips in the US compared to here (though they don't seem to realise that!) and there is quite a selection to choose from. Here, if you've spent £2-£3 on your jar (our only UK brand - Kilner repro only in 1/2 ltr and 1 ltr size Victoriana stylee) it adds considerably to the cost of an idea and I find myself quantifying my friendships, as to whether I want to give a jar to someone. Not quite as generous spirited as it should be!
    I'm so glad you've got the canning bug. I don't feel so alone anymore. My plan of course, to sell all the gear burgeoning UK canners will require through my online store
    As mentioned previously, the image of bottling in the UK has a utilitarian vibe. The new approach to canning is about fantastic flavours and has a great sense of style. I feel a blog post coming on... thanks for the inspiration. x

  5. I love Weck jars, I've bought some from Lakeland. i'm going to write more later on this week....

  6. I can't bear to throw a glass jar away and regularly search out unusual ones in the local charity shops. They all get put under the stairs until I need them!

  7. Last pics are starting to look like a Morandi still life. Very nice!

  8. The last pics are starting to look like a Morandi still life. Love it!

  9. Had to look Morandi up, Pastamum, but see what you mean..what lovely work!

  10. I am a huge jar fan. Had a short lived jam business and fell in love with canning jars. Love this post!

  11. I've been sealing my jams with that same wax these many years - gave me a bit of a shock to see 'my' bag of wax on someone else's blog!! I'm also a big scrounger of jars from anyone, everyone and charity shops...

  12. Ooh I like the commenters this post is unearthing!
    Yes Liz, I snuck into your house at night ;)
    Hello Devadeva!


  13. I am getting very excited about this and it's only Monday, roll on Friday so I can see this Jar collection!

  14. I'm so glad to have come across your blog this morning, from over here in Canada where Mason jars with handles for drinking are abundant. :) I'm new to canning as of last fall, but have turned into a bit of a fanatic, and LOVE you post! If you'd like to do some kind of swap for the handled jars, I would be more than happy to! Just send me an e-mail grahamsherrie at yahoo dot ca Happy canning!

  15. Oh !! these jars are so cute!! I would love to have them in my kitchen space too!!


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