Saturday, March 18, 2017

Beyond the Pantry Shelves

How often have you given or received a gift in a jar?
There's just something special about it no matter which end you're on.
Here and here are a couple of examples.
As wonderful as that all is, imagine something that's even better.
Here, let me show you.
You see as a home-canner, we seldom think much past the immediate:
wash the jars, heat the water, how long, what pressure, how much produce?
Of course, we know we are nourishing our family, 
securing food for winter, and usually saving money.
We tend to get stuck in those niches without giving it much more thought.
But there's more~
something deeper that we can't see.

Recently, my mother-in-law asked if I wanted some canning supplies.
They aren't doing that any more.
Of course, I said, "Sure."
They live in a small town not too far off, and Mr. LB and I work in two different towns each of the three about an hour's drive from the other. (Crazy I know.)
My M-I-L called one evening and asked 
if Mr. LB could drive the pick up the next day. 
They would be in town and would bring the canning things.
She didn't think it would fit in the car.
I laughed and asked if she was sure - note: never laugh at M-I-L.
She said, "Well, I think there are 16 boxes, 1 tote and a water canner."
I think I was still laughing not thinking she was serious -
note: quit laughing at M-I-L - she's serious!
It gets better. . .
Mr. LB drove the pickup to work and brought home the bounty.
When I saw it all and remarked that I couldn't believe how much was there, not even blinking, he said that they had already give 21 boxes to a grand daughter!
He is the youngest of five.
I can't imagine how much food was prepared for each meal.
His response to my shock was a casual, "Yea, Mom used to can a lot."
It was the weekend before I was ready to tackle the pile of boxes.
Within one of the boxes were these beautiful old blue jars~
the good ones with air bubbles in the glass.
Even some of the clear glass jars were old and had bubbles.
I think it was during the second load in the dish-washer 
that I called to thank her.
That's when she asked, "I think there were some blue jars in one of the boxes."
"Yeeeesss," I answered slowly as I looked at them drying on the counter.
They were the first ones washed.
She continued, "Could I have just one of them back?"
They were actually her grandma's (Mr. LB's great-grandma's.)
She didn't need it, and I would get it back some day, but she would like one.
(Actually, I think I laughingly said I would think about it just 'cause I'm ornery."
But THAT'S what it is - whatever 'that' is.
That invisible thread that ties generations together
just by being and doing, by feeding the family, 
and by sharing the "pay" of your labor.
There's something so special in that.

Since then, I've rearranged, moved, and reevaluated things in the pantry.
I've decided the blue jars will be for herbs.
The herbs will be protected from the light, and
 it will be a "gentle" use of the jars.
And there is still one sitting on the counter - waiting:)

Below is a recipe for a meal in a jar~
a special gift,   from me . . . to you.
(In this one, I put the pasta in a plastic bag and then in the jar.) 

Chicken Noodle Soup (in a jar)
1/3 c. dried carrots
1/3 c. dried celery
1/4 c. dried onion
1/4 tsp. ground thyme
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. celery seeds
1/8 garlic powder
1 bay leaf
2/3 c. pasta
1 pint jar 
Layer ingredients in jar.  If you lay the bay leaf on the top of the dried items, the pasta will stay on top better - depending on what pasta you use.
In crock pot add jar ingredients to: 
8 c chicken broth or water
 and 3 c. chopped chicken.
Cook all day on low.
PS~ Sometimes I'll add dried peas or peppers or rice instead of pasta.
If you've been around a while, you know I have recipe issues.
If you're new to the site, 
you should know I consider a recipe as a general guideline.



  1. your pantry is bursting allready with bottles full of deliciousness and now you have all these to fill too, what a great collection MIL has given you happy canning

    1. Last year's harvest so quite a few empties among them. I'm getting antsy to get out and play in the dirt again.

  2. What a dandy! And you wouldn't believe it, I just inherited jars this month also and redid my herb area. Post is on the way too! I would have got the chills when I opened the box to see those beautiful blue jars! And thank you for the mix gift recipe. You know I love those and will be adding to my pantry once I get the rest of those veggies in dried!

    1. Can hardly wait to see ~ your pantry is beautiful!

  3. How wonderful. A friend of mine gave me a bunch of old jars when he moved and I treasure them. Thank you for the recipe. I believe there is nothing better then home canned food.

    1. I couldn't agree more! A few things we do have to buy, like olives!!! And somehow I always run short on tomato sauce.

  4. What a wonderful gift! The stocked pantry is quite impressive.

  5. Oh my gosh! I love your pantry. I pinned the photo to be sure I remember to come back to it for ideas. The dresser with the mixer stored on top is a wonderful idea. And the old jars - love them. What a gift! I love jars.

  6. This post brings back memories of when I used to can. I absolutely loved the smell of pickles and relish as they cooked. Alas apartment life (and no storage space) means my pickles now come from the store.

    1. I know of someone else in a similar state - we were laughing, picturing her little place sagging or tilting due to canning stuffs. :)

  7. I so loved this post! So enjoyed seeing your pantry and those jars! Be still my heart! lol... Your recipe is awesome too and must ask if you dry your veggies as well... So glad to find you through JES... God bless.. ox

    1. I sure do:) I have a little ol' free-to-me dehydrator that works over time for a good part of the year. I will say, with celery, maybe de-string it before dehydrating. It rehydrates nicer.

  8. My husband loves old canning jars...he knows all of the "history" behind them.
    He has a collection of quite a few, I use them for dried goods, etc.

  9. What a wonderful gift! I love the blue jars. I have several that I have gathered at garage sales and farm auctions, but I would love to have one that belonged to my great-grandmother. She was a farmer's wife and canner extraordinaire!

  10. I am planting my garden this year with the sole purpose of canning. I can't wait! Maybe I should call my MIL real quick to see if she has any canning goodies stashed first though ;) Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Hop!

  11. This fantastic post is a GARDEN feature on the April You're the STAR blog hop: http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/2017/04/youre-star-week1-garden-april-2017.html

  12. How very wonderful jars are, and how they do connect generations! I am fairly new to canning...mostly jams, applesauce and pickles. This year I was also gifted with a bunch of jars and a pressure canner!!! I am going to need to learn to use it. Your post is a great inspiration!