02 October 2013

A jarring experience

I don't think we would qualify as hoarders or pack-rats, but we do collect and awful lot of stuff. Early on in Saint-Aignan, we saved wine bottles for several years, so that we could buy wine in bulk — en vrac in French — getting our plastic jugs filled at the winery and then bottling and corking it ourselves at home. We have a good supply of several different kinds of wine bottles that we keep and use.

A small part of the jar collection that built up over the years — some "donated" by friends

But as you can see from the photo above, we have also saved jars. Way too many jars have accumulated in the downstairs cellier (cold pantry) over the past 10 years. We saved them with the idea that we would use them for what we call "canning" in the U.S., and what the Brits call "bottling" — I'm sure somebody will correct me if I've cited the wrong term (see comments).

We had jars in boxes and jars on shelves. I think these are just the ones we are keeping.

Anyway, certain jars have labels stuck on with glue that is not water-soluble. Others you can soak for a few minutes in hot soapy water and the glue melts, and the labels slide right off. We were saving both kinds, with the idea that we'd remove the labels that required a stronger solvent with what is called "white spirit" in France, or with WD40, which works too. It was going to be a lot of trouble to do.

Finally we realized we were all jarred up. Walt pulled them all out of the cellier into the utility room and went through them. He threw out a good portion of our collection (put the jars in the recycle bins, in other words). He's a better cleaner-outer than I am — more ruthless. The job is done. I didn't really ask him which ones he saved and which ones he got rid of. Too painful for me to know...


  1. And not a Mason jar to be seen!
    And Ken, we call it "bottling"...
    "jarring" refers to a nasty experience...
    rather like discovering that you've almost run out of jars...
    because we are probably going to have to...
    wait for it...
    GO AND ACTUALLY BUY SOME!! to finish our tomato sauce experience...
    Shock, horror, probe!

    Mainly because we've done the same as you... we got rid of all the ones where we can't get replacement lids.
    We've found that the new Bricomarché at St. Maure [d-T] has the best selection of sizes.

  2. Bon Maman jars are the best for jam.
    We also have way, way too many jars, but I loathe the idea of disposing of them, because one day I hope to need them.

  3. Good job :) It's hard to discard things that you know are still useful/useable. At least you were able to recylce them :)

  4. i finally had to pitch (ie recycle) my boxes & boxes of saved jars before we moved......i also am still sorting many other things I need to give away (like way too many sheets & towels) Some days I am more ruthless than others, so when I am in a throw away mood I have to move fast.

  5. I agree with Jean. The wide neck of the Bonne Maman jars makes them easier to fill. I am in the fortunate position of being able to make a plea in our school newsletter and lots of jars come in.

  6. I have lots of the old blue mason jars from my mom. I just look at them now. I also have yogurt jars that I use around the house for odds and ends.

    It's not easy to find a place to recycle glass here-I have to take them to Birmingham if I don't toss them in the trash here.

    Those Bonne Mamans have served you well.

  7. We (actually I) hoard, er, save jars, too. Just yesterday I had to dump (recycle) some to make room for new (to me) wine glasses I found in the garage.

    One must have one's priorities straight!

  8. My jar collection probably needs to be reduced, too. Walt, do you do housecalls? I need to get my ruthless cells 'back in gear'!
    Truthfully, I enjoy making holiday gifts - like various mustards, tapenade and jams and jellies. Problem is-when? I haven't been good about completing that task for a few years but I am REALLY good at saving all those cute little jars when they come into my home!!!

  9. One does have a tendency to save things like this to the point of over-saturation.


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