I was low on canning jars. And I mean really low. I was actually reduced to buying new jars (unheard of!), but I have been doing lots of canning lately and, well, I was low on jars.
I've scoured every thrift store I could find, but Fall is not the best time to search thrift stores for canning jars -- they're usually sold out.
I tried searching Craig's List and the Nickel's Worth and similar sources, but I found more people looking for jars than were selling them. Besides, our region is so widespread and far-flung that any available jars were likely to be a two or three hour drive (one way) distant.
New jars range anywhere from $9 to $14/dozen, so buying new jars is impractical for someone who cans on the scale I do. But what else could I do? I needed jars.
My youngest brother, bless his heart, sent me $50 for my 50th birthday. I kept the money in the card and earmarked it for canning jars, figuring I could buy about five dozen pint jars (with a bit of change left over) for this amount.
But then I had an idea. Putting a "wanted" ad in any regional ad source was counterproductive. But what about putting an ad in our local once-a-week newspaper? Duh, why didn't I think of that sooner?
So I did.
My hope is I'd find an older woman who was past her canning years who might be willing to give up her jars for an affordable price.
Well, it worked. BIG TIME.
I got a call from a woman named Barbara who lives in the next town over, who said she had "lots" of jars in her basement. I tentatively asked how much she was willing to sell them for, figuring my top price would be $6/dozen (any higher, and I might as well buy them new). But when she hesitantly said, "$2 a dozen?" (as if that was too much to ask!), it was all I could do from gasping. SCORE!!
Barbara said she was glad to get rid of them, and she would pull all the jars out of her basement and stack them on the front porch for me. I combined a trip into town with Older Daughter's evening Venture Scouts meeting. It was a little hard to find Barbara's place on a dark rainy evening, but I finally did. And look what I saw!
Barbara showed me her tally: twenty dozen jars. For $2/dozen. SCORE!!
I even got change for my $50 bill. Hmmm, what shall I do with this money?
I loaded the car to groaning and rattled my way home. I brought them into the house the next morning and spread everything out to see what I had (and let me tell you, I felt like a kid at Christmas). From the bits of old newspapers used to line some of the boxes, I gather these jars haven't been used since about 1998. No wonder she was anxious to get rid of them.
It took me a couple of hours to re-box everything into old empty canning-jar boxes I had stored away, which also gave me a chance to more accurately inventory and/or label everything.
Final tally: eight dozen quarts, nine dozen pints...
...and three dozen miscellaneous smaller (i.e. jelly) jars. SCORE!!
Rather miraculously, I managed to squeeze ALL the boxes of empty jars into my canning closet.
Twenty dozen new jars. That should last me awhile, don'cha think? I have to thank the Barbara's of the world for passing on their treasures to a younger generation. Maybe someday, when I'm a lot older, I'll do the same.
Altogether now: SCORE!!!!!!!