I have a problem. Well, I have more than one but this one plagues me on a continual basis. In my house we have 16 feet. 160 toes and a TON of socks. So many socks that I’ve given up on sorting and mating them. Instead they just get tossed into the sock bin. If someone needs socks, they must go to ‘the bin’.
So how did my sock bin end up helping me protect my canning jars? Here’s the whole story.
It’s not a pleasant thing to go to the bin in search of a pair of matching socks because it means several minutes of searching for two that match. The bin is the bane of my existence. It stares at me whenever I walk past taunting me. “SORT ME” it says. Being the stubborn soul that I am, it gets ‘dissed’ by me nearly every time.
…Until this last time. Not sure why it won this time around, but it was particularly persuasive. It could have been that my 9 year old daughter was sucked in by it’s tendrils or just that it was time. So I sat down and started sorting.
Now this is not just a little bin. Seriously, my 11 year old could get in this bin with the lid closed, and often we’d see a cat or two perched on top of the sea of socks. I dug in and was determined to tackle this monster.
You might be wondering why you’ve had to sit through my sock tale. Well for one, I want the world to know that “I SORTED THE SOCK BIN” (taking a bow). This is a huge accomplishment, and secondly, the ones that didn’t find a mate still have a food storage related purpose, a useful life left in them.
Protecting your canning jar investment with socks, of all things!
We are going to recycle those socks into something that can help protect our investment. We put a lot of time, energy and money into our food storage when we bottle something. This can all be for naught if these jars get knocked around at all. Glass likes to break if bumped too hard.
TIP: Have you ever thought of canning, or bottling, meat?
I live in earthquake country and at some point, the ground on which I stand is going to start shaking. If my bottles aren’t ready for that shaking, I’m going to have a big mess and HUGE loss on my hands.
Here is the simple process I used to transform those mismatched socks into something I could use.
Step #1: Cut sock into four parts as shown.
Step #2: Toss out the toe and heel portions of the cut-apart sock and save the other two sections for use.
Step #3: Use the sock parts as illustrated to help protect your canning jars.
Other techniques I’ve discovered for protecting jars
Now there are some great commercial products on the market but I don’t have a ton of money to spend on those, If you do, great! but I’d rather spend that money on more food for my family. So here are some easy and cheap ways.
Bottle box: Save the boxes that the jars came in, The cardboard dividers will provide some protection from breakage.
Rubberbands: Remember this post? Well here’s another use for rubberbands. Stretch the wide ones around the top and bottom of the jar to keep them from bumping around in the box.
Socks: store your jars in socks, one long tube sock and protect 2 quart jars, or cut them up in to tubes of various sizes to put on the jars. They can even be rolled up to create even more buffer space or to secure them more snugly into a box.
Old towels: Put the jars in a box with space in between and stuff the spaces with old towels or rag strips.
Bubble wrap: Wrap your jars in bubble wrap or the packaging that comes in your mail order boxes.
Apple boxes: Go to the grocery store and talk to your produce guy. Apples sometimes come packed with puffy paper sheets in between them, These are GREAT to wrap around the bottles…and the boxes themselves are a perfect size to fit at least 15 jars.
Sweaters: Wouldn’t that be cute for our jars to wear sweaters? There are some on Pinterest if you are into that type of thing. I’m not going to the trouble to ‘dress’ my jars like those… but one thing my mom did was to take some left-over fleece from another project and sew it into a tube. Then she cut the tube into about 6 inch sections. Each of these were slipped over a jar to prevent that jar-to-jar contact in the box.
So get creative with your jars…or just stuff socks but do something to protect that investment. Do you so something different with yours? I’d love to hear other great ideas.
New to canning? You must own a copy of Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving!
If you want to check out products you can buy, rather than make, that will protect your canning jars, take a look at these: