#31- Jarring stuff

Posted by Megan on December 7th, 2011

I have a twin sister. We grew up in the exact same house and had virtually identical upbringings, yet somehow my sister, Erin, has a lot more useful skills than me. Sure, I can fit my entire fist in my mouth, and I know how to play “Ode to Joy” on the recorder, but Erin knows how to sew, decorate cakes, make Green Fluff without a recipe and about a million other useful domestic tasks. I think Brad was pretty shocked to discover upon marrying me that I bring absolutely no wifely duties to the table.

This is my sister Erin and her beautiful family. I have a theory that twins have to split all the good genes and Erin stole them ALL!

Erin has taught me much over the years. Just last year she taught me how to make boxed brownies. I couldn’t even make those right! I often call Erin from the grocery store for questions like “Where do you find tapioca pearls” and “What do I need to make a pot roast.” She’s like my mini-mom. (and Isaac’s macro-mom).

I was running short on ideas for new things to do, so I called up my sis to see what she could teach me. As it turns out; she was planning to jar some apple butter that day – so I drove on over to get my lesson in jarring.

Pretty soon, skills like canning and making homemade bread will be a lost art. We have no idea how the Egyptians built the pyramids. In 2200, the skills our grandmothers used daily and perfected will be extinct memories. I’ve never considered canning my own food or preserves. I guess that science class on Botulism took a toll on me. It’s the granddaddy of all food born illness and can cause paralysis and death. As you learned in my last blog, I try to stay as far away as possible from potential death vehicles. I love pickles, but I’m not willing to play Russian Rolette for a fermented cucumber.

Erin explained that unless you’re a total idiot, you’re safe. All you have to do is follow some simple steps, then ensure the jars are sealed.  Easy!

We were jarring apple butter. Erin had already prepared the concoction in her crockpot overnight. The first step after dissembling the jars was to boil the glass containers for about 10 minutes. I got to use a really cool clammy tool thing to gently set the jars into their bubbling hot tub. Meanwhile we sterilized the lids and rings as well.

I’ve got some mad dropping skills.

I loved this claw thing. I’m sure there any many other practical applications for this tool, like handling my sweaty gym clothes.

Take THAT germs!


After the jars were adequately sterile, I got to use my super cool clammy tool thing to remove the jars. I carefully placed them on a wire rack. Erin filled them with the apple butter, leaving about .5 inch on the top.

Now came the hard(ish) part. We had to maneuver the lids on top of the jars without touching them. Erin used this magnetic stick thing-a-ma-jig to carefully situate the lids into place. We screwed on the lids loosely, then back into the warming chamber they went.

Another cool tool! I could totally use this to get all the magnetic junk I've dropped in odd places!

We repurposed this tool as the “General Jabber.” Not to be confused with the “General Jabberer” that is my mom Joanie.


Another 10 or so minutes and I helped the jars escape the water torture for good.Erinscrewed on the tops and after a few minutes we heard the pop-pop-pop. This ensures the jars are safe from botulism.

The whole ordeal took about 30 minutes. It was exceedingly easy and I even got to play with some fun tools. This relic from the past was much simpler than I imagined and we ended with a pretty sweetly. Pun intended.

Now our toast will still be yummy even if there is nuclear war.

  • © 2011 Megan Steil