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Preserving Food in Recycled Glass Bottles and Jars
Several years ago I started my own recycling project collecting glass bottles and jars. There was nowhere to recycle glass in our area and it bothered me every time I went to a dumpster and saw how many glass jars were just being thrown away.
During those years I was involved in local food banks where I observed how unhealthy the poor people of our area were eating.
Our area is so blessed with wild fruits, berries and plenty of water and places to grow food. It seemed so sad to me that people were surrounded by food from nature and yet all that they were eating were things such as instant dehydrated potatoes, food canned in aluminum cans and junk food. So few young people today are taught how to cook from scratch, how to garden or can their own food and take care of themselves and their family without going into debt just to survive.
I believe that a great deal of lack in this world is not caused from shortages of stuff, but is the result of lack of education and training.
I have lived on a shoestring for decades, raising a large family on very little. Many people say to me that they can’t afford to eat healthy. I wonder how they can afford not to. Eating healthy saves money in the long run and there are ways to do it on a small budget.
One way to save money and eat healthy is to learn to can your own food. Instead of spending money on junk food, save the money and buy a canner. I see cheap ones at yard sales and thrift stores. First learn to use a water pack canner for fruits, tomatoes, jams and jellies. Get a good book with recipes. Later learn how to use a pressure canner for meats, stews, chili, beans and veggies. When you are able to afford it you may want to buy a steam juicer. From eight grape vines we canned almost 100 quarts of juice.
One of the projects that I put together to increase the amount of jars and bottles that I had to preserve food in was to put a box in the entry of several stores with a big sign that stood up from it saying “Wanted Clean, Non-broken Glass Jars, Must Include original Metal Lid. No beer bottles please or jars with plastic lids.” I posted a picture of all the jars I was looking for. I collected many cases of bottles over just a few months. We brought them home, washed them, disinfected them in a boiling water bath and have been using the very same jars to can in every fall for ten years.
If we stopped throwing away all kinds of reusable glass jars and we started teaching people how to grow and can their own food, wouldn’t the world be a happier healthier place.
These are jars of bone broth canned in various bottles in a pressure canner. Notice that some of these jars are recycled jars with metal lids. Check each jar for chips, cracks and make sure the lids have rubber seals. These jars have been re-used for about 8 seasons. As long as the lid keeps sealing, the food remains preserved. If a lid stops sealing, I use the jar to store dry herbs in.
Bones are readily available from butchers and from people who hunt or raise their own animals. Try to locate bones from animals that were raised ethically and organically. Bone broth is loaded with marrow and cartilage, something most people need more of to help with arthritis and degeneration of bones, joints, teeth, etc. We simmer the bones for several days on our wood stove with some vinegar to help pull out the minerals and nutrients from the bones. We add lots of fresh herbs, garlic, onions and seasonings so that the broth is ready to be used in soups, stews, gravies or chili. A few bones can make a lot of broth.