Wash 'em and Stock 'em
My biggest challenge is getting everything cleaned up, labeled and stored away. I can make batch after batch of something and those jars will sit on the counter for weeks before I get around to cleaning them up, printing and sticking on labels and placing them on the new fantastic shelves that Handsome built for me.
I always remove the rings before storing jars. I want to clean the threads around the neck of the jar. Removing the rings prevents false seals from staying false. It also keeps the rings from rusting to the jar and not being able to get the damn things off.
It doesn't matter what I make or how it was canned, I wash the jars the same way. (The scuzz on the outside of the jars is usually much worse when I've been pressure canning just due to siphoning and fat from the meat.) I lay out clean kitchen towels on the counter. 9 pints or 6 quarts fit into one side of my kitchen sink. This gives me a batch to work on without having so many they are falling onto the floor. I wet a dishrag with hot water and squirt a good amount of dish soap onto it. Then I hold a jar in my left hand, run the soapy rag all over the jar with my right hand. I focus scrubbing a few times around the threads and shoulder where there's stuck on food. Then I set the jar back into the sink and soap up the next jar and so on. I start the water running about half blast and warm. I run two jars at a time under the running water. I reach and set them onto the towels to let them dry. There's water standing on the lids so I hurry and soak that up. They dry fast and I can place the labels on them.
I have sloppy handwriting; I don't write my jar labels. I will occasionally hand write when it's something simple like water and I only need the date.
Most of my past jobs have been secretarial; those skills have stuck. These Avery labels** are my favorite to work with. I can print 2 jar labels onto each rectangle and then just cut them in half when I go to put the label on the lid. (This gives me 60 labels per page, pretty cheap.) With small item names like Chili and Salsa, I can print 3 labels on each one.
Sticky labels on jars make me pissy, I label the lids. If the jar is up high, I can tip it to read the label. If it's down low I can see the top of the jar to see what product I'm searching for.
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