Canning Jar Junkie

How many canning jars is enough?  Don’t answer that.  I know the answer.  There are never enough!  At least not for me.

I don’t know if it’s an obsession or a compulsion but call me crazy because I am always on the lookout for deals on canning jars.  Everyday, at least twice a day I go on Craig’s List and search for anything related to canning.  Most of the time the site is full of ads from people that WANT canning jars.  Every once in a while though I do come upon an ad offering canning jars for sale.

How some people come up with pricing for the jars they are selling, I’ll never know.  It’s as if they think their jars are worth more than brand new ones, and these are not the collector-type, they are just the run-of-the-mill standard canning jars.  I just love it when they ask $1.00 each and have say six or nine jars.  Don’t they know that brand new, with bands and lids, a dozen jars goes for $11.98 — tops.  Jelly jars go for less, pints go for less, but quarts run about $12 a dozen at Walmart, K-Mart, or Meijer’s.  Of course if you are bargain saavy, like I try to be, you wait until there is a special for 15% off or even a coupon.  Then the price comes down.

I have calculated I won’t pay more than $0.33 a jar for quarts and $0.25 a jar for pints and jelly jars.  The reason for this is that lids, which will have to be bought for sure, cost around $1.78 for regular mouth jars and $2.98 for wide mouth.  Of course if you  need lids AND bands, then you are looking at $3.50 for regular mouth and $4.98 for wide mouth.  Typically I have enough bands, but it’s the principle.

The other day I found an ad for an estate sale about 30 minutes from home offering canning jars among the list of items for sale.  The ad had been up for less than three hours and there was a phone number.  I called immediately to find out how many they had for sale, what price they were asking for them, if they’d do a bulk discount if I took them all, and if they’d be interested in doing a pre-sale.  I left a message.  Within 30 minutes I got a call back.

About 50 jars, all different sizes, $0.25 each, and yes she would do a pre-sale.  She told me she would call me back when she was going to be at the house, as it was her Aunt’s house.  I hung up elated.

The euphoria died as quickly as it came when the day passed without a call.  The next morning I decided to send her an email with my cell phone number because I was going to be out.  Actually I just needed an excuse to contact her again.  I didn’t want her to forget me.  No call.  By this time I was getting very nervous.  Had she gotten another call?  Had they offered her more money?  Had she lost my number?  All these thoughts filled my mind and meant a restless sleep.

Day three, the day the sale was to start, I wasn’t sure if I should go to the sale and see if the jars were there or forget it.  While I debated, I happened to check my email and in my inbox was a response to my email.  It had come at 10:45 the night before.  The woman told me she was going to set all the jars aside for me and I could come by anytime to pick them up.  I called her right away.

Forty-five minutes later I was at the sale, 30 minutes after it had opened.  Traffic was slow at the sale.  There were only a few people there.  I found the woman in the basement pulling the jars from a crawl space.  We spent the next 35 minutes boxing and pulling the jars from shelves in the farthest corner of the crawl space.  In the end there were more than 130 jars, three huge boxes of plastic freezer containers, and a large box full of bands.  There were also several boxes of unopened lids.  Before checking out I went through the house and found a Vitro Food Mill in the box (I already have one but could not pass this one up) for $10, a Mirro pressure canner in the box for pint jars for $15, and a strange looking metal strainer thingy that no one knew what it was for so I had to have it for $5.

The total for my haul was $57.50.  I’m not sure how she came up with that amount because she wanted $5 for all the plastic freezer containers and $0.25 a jar, but I wasn’t going to argue.  I loaded up my car and headed home.

This morning I could hardly wait to start sorting through my jars.  I haven’t finished going through them, but so far I have put three dozen pints through the dishwasher and separated out three dozen wide mouth quarts and three dozen regular quarts and I haven’t even opened two of the boxes.  What a find!

It’s a good thing I don’t find deals like this every week.  I didn’t need more regular mouth quarts, as I found a guy selling 11 dozen on Craig’s List about a month ago for $40 and picked those up without hestitation, but it is so hard to pass up a great deal.  I never know how often these deals are going to come along.  I hadn’t found any deals like these since last September when I got more than 100 jars for $20.  They were fill with ants (still alive), filthy, and every shape and size, but I was glad to have them.

So if you ask me, “Don’t you think you have enough canning jars already?”

I’ll have to say, “It’s never enough.”

And for Craig’s List and all the seller’s that offer their jars for a reasonable rate or better, I am Simply Grateful.

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