These two practices are so incredibly helpful, and depending on where you are in your preserving journey, can really have an impact on how you perceive the value of your preserving labors.
Organize your shelves in groups. Keep jam with jam and pickles with pickles – it makes things easier to find. If you do multiple styles of preserving you can use different types of jars for each style. We use vintage jars for dehydrated goods, patterned mason jars for most of our waterbath and plain jars for our pressure canning. Don’t be afraid to write on the lids – it’s an easy fix. We are big fans of the Sharpie paint pen for labeling jars (we just write on the side, it washes off later).I use a giant ‘hole punch’ to cut out lid-sized discs to label jars with. The discs are re-usable and easily replaceable. When storing dried goods (such as flour or sugar) I’ll cut a piece of the package out and place it between the lid and the ring to know what’s inside. Have a shelf reserved for one-off jars or jars you want to use soon so help prioritize what preserves you’ll work with first and to make them easy to find. If you’re storing items inside boxes label the contents on a sheet of paper and stick it to on the outside where you can read it. Writing on paper makes the box re-usable!
4. Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars, offers these 3 organizational tips.
1.Create dedicated space for your gear. Pots, jars, tools, and accessories all have assigned spots in my apartment, so that I always know where to find what I need.
2. Spreadsheets. Late last year, I inventoried every single jar in my apartment and entered everything into a spreadsheet. Now I know (down to the location and year made) where every jar of jam, pickles, and tomato sauce lives. It is a serious upgrade to my previously haphazard system.
3. Limit extra gear. There was a period there where I felt compelled to have back-ups of everything. Now I have two sets of gear (one that lives in my kitchen, and another that’s travels with me for classes). More than that is just too much.
Setting your Preserving Goals: