As a place to take canning instruction, we are listed on the Ball website, www.freshpreserving.com under "Happenings" and "Learn to Can." As such, UPS delivered an unexpected surprise today: a free box of the latest Ball products. Like a kid in a candy store, I ripped into the box and unearthed all sorts of canning goodies that would cause my dear husband, Pete, to sigh and roll his eyes in exasperation!
Of course there was the latest Ball Blue Book, but the box also contained the newest retractable silicon funnel, jar lifters, dissolving jar labels, and the new line of pectins, pickle mixes, and salsa mix.
Didn't take me long to put everything to the test, as today I'm busy canning 100 jars of custom-labeled Strawberry Orange jam for the local United Way fundraising campaign. Here are the results.
New funnel: OK, for very liquid items. But I like hard plastic or stainless steel funnels better because I can press my spatula hard again them to whisk out the last bit of jam. The new funnel is stairstepped, which catches jam and won't release it easily.
Already had the Blue Book: as canning cookbooks go, it's always the best bang for the buck.
Dissolving jar labels: I can hundreds of jars for my family, plus over an additional 10,000 for retail and wholesale. Just too busy to put a nice label on our personal pantry item. I just write on each lid anyway, and the commercially sold jars have specially ordered labels we use. But I think other canners will appreciate these.
New mixes: Finally, Ball is making mixes that are more natural. They're going to give Mrs. Wages a run for her money this summer, guaranteed!
Jar Lifter: Saved the best for last! Wow. A new era in canning! The lifters are spring-loaded, so they're easier to operate. Also, the rubber is thick and squared. Makes it slightly easier to nudge a jar to the middle of a pressure canner so you can grab it and lift it.
Good job, Ball. We teachers are very happy today!