Monday, July 8, 2013

Score at the Bargersville Flea Market- Drey, Presto and Other Canning Jars...

Part of my canning jar score at the market this past weekend.
Sweets and I had a rare opportunity yesterday that we decided to take full advantage of.  It was one of those "oops" moments where he thought I set the alarm and I thought that he set his.  Seeing sunlight when first waking up on Sunday mornings startles me.

So what do you do when you the plans are shot to hell in a hand basket?  Make new ones.

We decided to visit Bargersville Flea Market as shoppers.  Something we rarely get to do.  There are a few things that are on our "need to buy at some point" list.  New or used doesn't matter to us for 99.9% of the things we buy with the exception of gas cans.  Never buy a used gas can because you really do not know what the person before you has used it for.

The things on our list right now are:

  • Canning jars (ALWAYS on the list because you can never have too many)
  • A hatchet
  • Chainsaw
  • Axe
  • Riding lawnmower (I know, I'm caving on this one)
  • A 24' ladder
  • Iron cookware (ALWAYS on the list)
We've seen a few things here and there that were on our list but have passed because there's a difference between an item that is used and an item that is abused.  I don't know how many axes we have picked up that have been so unbelievably nicked up to the point where sharpening would be darn near impossible.

Anyway, I'm getting off track here...

Old food jars can be used for waterbath canning ONLY.
We were walking around and something caught my eye.  Sitting in the front of one of the vendors areas was an old bushel basket full of canning quart jars.  Now, when you are buying canning jars to actually use for canning like I do, there are a few things that you need to look at with used jars.
  • Check the rims of the jars for any chips, they won't seal properly if they are chipped.
  • Check to see if they are actual canning jars or if they are old food jars like mayo jars.  Years ago people used to reuse their old mayo, spaghetti sauce, jelly jars for canning.  These are still OK for waterbath canning but NOT a good idea for pressure canning.
  • Know how much new canning jars cost so you don't end up paying too much.  New jars where I live cost anywhere from 75 cents each for 1/2 pints to around $1.00 each for wide mouth quarts.  Collectible jars are always priced higher so I don't usually buy them because I'm not a collector, I actually use the jars for canning.  My price rule is no more than 25 cents for a 1/2 pint and 50 cents per jar for pints or quarts.
As I was going through the jars in the bushel basket, Sweets called it to my attention that there was also a tote filled with jars behind it.  I get tunnel vision when I see something like this and stop looking around me so I didn't see them.  I pulled all of the jars out of the bushel basket that I knew I could use.  There were also some really odd shaped tall jars in the basket that I have never seen before and I originally wasn't going to buy them.

An old Presto brand pint jar that was in the lot!
After looking into the tote, we asked the vendor how much the jars were.  He said we could have both batches along with the bushel basket and tote (important to know if you don't shop flea markets on a regular basis) for $8.00.  It was an excellent price so I asked Sweets to pay the man & we started back to the truck to drop off the jars and continue looking around.

We got home and I started taking a closer look at the jars.  There are a total of 40 jars.  21 that could technically be used in the pressure canner and 19 that are old food jars that can be used for pickles, jelly, kraut or anything else that I can this year that doesn't require the use of the pressure canner.  I started to notice that a lot of the jars are quite old.  One in particular caught my attention.

Drey was a new name that I had never seen before & the shoulders of the jar were the old style so I decided to Google this jar to find out what the story is on it.  Ball bought the Drey jar company in 1925 and continued to make these jars for a few years afterward.  According to what I read, this particular jar was made before the sale of the company.  The way to tell is the alignment of the words "Perfect Mason" underneath the name Drey.  Since it is off center, it's a jar that was made by Drey.  It isn't worth much but I doubt I'll be trusting a darn near 100 year old glass jar in my pressure canner!

The REALLY old Drey jar from the lot.
Now just because I'm not a collector doesn't mean I don't know anything about the value of old, collectible canning jars.  They can sell for unbelievable amounts of money if you have the right jar.  You can always tell a collector vs someone who is actually going to use them for their intended purpose.  A collector will always look at the number on the bottom of the jar.  If you have a Ball jar with the number 13 on the bottom, you may have something valuable because people were so superstitious that the majority of them weren't used and were destroyed simply because of the number 13 on the bottom.  Blue jars are collectible but not worth a whole lot of money.  Yellow or green?  Worth more, especially the green.  I picked up a green quart jar once, the first one I have ever seen and the vendor was asking $75 for that one jar.

I'm just happy to have my "new to me" 40 jars, even though I know it's just the tip of the iceberg to what we will need to get this year.  The beans have bloomed so they will be ready to start picking the end of this week.  The cucumbers are growing like weeds and have started blooming along with the mounds of tomatoes that we will be getting off of the renegade plants in addition to the new ones that I put in this year.  It's getting so close to pay time that I can't help but be excited. 

It's a great feeling being able to reap the benefits of all that hard work.  This year's garden is fantastic.  This year will be filled with fresh, local food but as always, I'm planning for next year to be even better.

So... if you have any canning jars laying around that you aren't going to use... well... I can take those off your hands for you.  :)

We have a lot of projects on the plate for this week.  Now that Sweets is home for good he can get to some of the larger, manly things around here that I've been putting on the back burner for the last year.  

I'll "see" you in a day or two.




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