Q. What is a fair price for canning jars? I'm going to try dry-pack canning, and I want to buy brand new jars, seals and lids. Online, I see 8-ounce and quart jars, and some have wide mouths. I've got a chance to buy 5 pounds of King Arthur Bread Flour for $2.50. Their unbleached flour is also available at that sale price. So, if I want to dry can 10 or 15 pounds of flour, what would you suggest I buy a case/cases of: 8 ounces, 16 ounces, wide mouth or regular? And how much should each case cost, approximately?
-- Ramona, Massachusetts
A. I would get the larger, wide-mouthed jars. You can buy larger than 16-ounce size, too. You can check secondhand sources (garage sales, auctions, thrift stores, estate sales, Craigslist, Freecycle, family, etc.) for cheap jars (check for chips and cracks) and simply buy lids and bands. You'll find new jars cheapest in the off season. But often times, you'll find sales even during peak months. Check places such as Ace Hardware, Walmart or Big Lots. As for the cost of jars, the Ball website lists a case of 12 16-ounce wide-mouthed canning jars at $10.49 plus $6.95 shipping.
Because you will need containers soon, perhaps you can store your flour in a food-grade bucket with lid instead of jars. You can go to a restaurant-supply store for the best containers for flour storage, or call a local bakery, pizzeria or doughnut shop and ask if they have any flour buckets you can have.
Q. I had a lot of chicken tenders, so I dipped them all and breaded them and would like to use them for dinner one night next week. Would it be better to bake them now and reheat them later, or should I freeze them breaded but uncooked, and bake them when I am ready to use them?
-- S.C., Ohio
A. You can do either. If they're uncooked, I would freeze them flat on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet so they don't stick together. Once frozen, transfer to freezer storage bags. At my home, I'd cook them first and reheat later. Then I can reheat them quick and easy.
Q. Can you tell me how to properly store quilts to preserve their current state? My mother has made quilts for my young children to have when they become adults. I am concerned that if I store them in a linen closet they will discolor. It would be great if these quilts could become family heirlooms. -- Denise, email
A. Avoid cardboard boxes, dresser drawers or reusing plastic comforter bags. These can cause discoloration and can make your quilts smell over time. Plastic containers build up moisture, too.
Buy an acid-free storage box and paper. Don't place the box in your basement or attic or in direct sunlight. But do store it in a dark place. Your quilts can be folded with acid-free paper, but I suggest unfolding them occasionally so the quilts don't develop permanent crease marks. After unfolding, refold them a different way.
ou can roll your quilts on acid-free cardboard tubes (or a tube wrapped with acid-free paper). You can then wrap the rolled tube in 100 percent cotton or cotton muslin.
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