I’m on the way to launching a jam business, sure, but in the meantime, I’m not going to be quitting my day job. And by day job, I mean my online Etsy shop and web store.
I’m a graphic designer and what I design are mostly personalized paper items. Stuff like stationery, bookplates, business cards – that kind of thing.
But I also design labels – which is where the yen to start jam-making took hold in the first place. For the last six years or so I’ve been adding more and more canning, preserving, DIY home food making labels and tags to my shop.
So, what does this have to do with bottles and cans?
Well, you guessed it – everything.
When I first started it never occurred to me to actually design labels to a size that would fit standard bottles. And to be honest, I still don’t have it down pat. For one thing, there’s a lot of shapes and sizes out there.
On one hand, people who are really canning are mostly using Ball or Kerr Mason jars. That’s easy. Except they now come in a more and more sizes. Luckily, there’s just two jar top sizes (that I know of, I’m still relatively new to the food in jars genre). And those are regular and wide-mouth. So, if I’m doing circle labels, that’s easy to figure out.
It’s all the other jars and bottles out there. And if the label is sitting on the side, does the jar have ‘quilting’ or an embossed logo that would keep the label from lying flat? These are just a few of the puzzling questions the label maker must ask herself.
But all that aside, there are some pretty cute bottling solutions to be had nowadays. And they’re almost all available at the touch of your fingertips.
The reason I went into the whole thing about labeling, is just in way of explaining why I have so many bottles and jars sitting around my house. I like to try them out, use them for photo props, samples, and sometimes I buy them because I get carried away when I’m shopping (online).
Other times, a customer will send me a photo of product she’s placed in a bottle with one of my labels or tags.
Honey Jars and Bottles
This was the case with the honey bottle above. When I saw her photo, I knew I had to have that bottle for myself. As it turns out, it’s a replica of a vintage 19th-century honey glass jar by Charles Muth, thus it is known as a Muth Bottle or jar. Available on Amazon for a very reasonable price.
Other times I’ve found bottles I love on the site SpecialtyBottle.com or various other kitchen or restaurant supply shops. The apothecary bottles and tins (last photo) all came from there.
The vintage Kilner line is another one of my favorites. Kilner is much better known in the UK than here. These ribbed ones don’t allow for a label to lay flat on the front, but there’s always the lid. I’m keeping herbals in the above, and label with card stock and double-sided tape. This design can also be used for water-bath canning, as it has the two-piece lid and durable enough to take 10-minute processing.
Canning vs Favor Jars or Gift Jars
There are many bottles and so on that are great as small favor jars vs. actual canning. For example, the little hex jars (top photo and in honey photo) could be filled with honey or jam, but unless you want to try and go the old ‘paraffin wax’ method, you can’t really vacuum seal them.
These decorative bottles can be used for homemade edibles etc. that don’t need to be canned. For example, if you were making your own loose tea, dry rub, flower essence, lip balm etc. They’re not for canning, but I still find them interesting, and they’re terrific for wedding favor gifts, hostess gifts etc.
Don’t even get me started on tins – for lips salves, travel candles, mint containers, and a hundred other things. Not bottles or jars, but a fun, alternative container.
So, this is a cursory look at some bottles that are out there – in the next week, I’ll put up a size chart for standard canning jars…something practical, and something that’s as much for myself as you.
Canning Jar and Bottling Resources:
Amazon.com (Honey Bottles, Mason Jars,Caldron Jars etc)
SpecialtyBottle.com (Apothecary Bottles, Jars, Tins, Vials)
EverythingKitchens.com (Kilner Jars)
NancyNikko.com (All labels and tags)