A little Ball jar…

I grew up in Muncie, Indiana. Home of the Ball canning jar. You might be asking yourself, is she really going to blog about the Ball jar? Yes, I am. Keep reading, I have a method to my madness. I grew up in a town where everything was Ball. Ball Brothers, Ball Memorial Hospital, Ball State University, Ball Corp (maker of Ball jars). The Ball Family had their stake on my hometown.

Yet, there is a pride I feel when I see a Ball jar. These days with canning making a resurgence, and organic being the way of the world it feels like all I ever see are Ball and Kerr mason jars. I have quite a few in my house. We use them as glasses, I measure my water intake from the wide mouth version. I take it to my work meetings ensuring I will drink my daily allotment of water throughout the day. I use the smaller ones for concoctions for my hair (most recently cornstarch as my dry shampoo for my “no poo” adventures).

Wherever I go I encounter Ball or Kerr jars. If I ever have a choice, I go with Ball. Call me nostalgic, but there is something about supporting a family that kept your little town afloat for so many years. These days just take some time to explore Pinterest and you will see weddings, family affairs, dinner parties, all with use of the Ball jars in the way of food, flowers, candles, and party favor containers. It brings vintage to 2014. I love it.

Funny how something that used to live right in your backyard (now manufacturing happens in Broomfield, CO) to being a common, everyday item in households for more than just canning. Wikipedia states:

“Company headquarters moved from Muncie to Broomfield, Colorado in 1998. Ball no longer produces the glass fruit jar; the license to produce the jar now is owned by Jarden Home Brands. Jarden produces all lids for all brands of fruit jars at its Muncie plant. Jars are made by a variety of glass producers.”

Heck we have a mini version holding our toothbrushes in the bathroom. Vintage really has spanned all avenues. What was commonplace is now “in.”

Ball jars: the new wine glass.

A hot, sticky mess

We awoke to many loud popping sounds, almost like gunshots going off. It was the middle of the night. I sat up in bed, my heart pounding. What happened?

My parents, sister, brother, and I ran out of our bedrooms, down the hall, and into the kitchen to find out what had happened. We were shocked. The paneled walls in our dining room, the flowered border wallpaper, the olive green refrigerator, and the painted walls were covered in grape jelly.

A few days prior, we had visited my grandma’s house, and spent an afternoon picking grapes off the grapevines in her backyard. We did it every year. Our fingers purple hued with grape juice. I rarely popped one in my mouth as the tart taste was not my favorite. What I loved is what we would do when we brought our bounty home. Our kitchen turned into grape central. Massive pots brewing and stewing grapes and the counter lined with Ball jars ready for the final product. My mom mostly made grape jelly. Maybe there were other concoctions of grape canning or cooking, but I only remember the jelly. I loved and hated it all at once. It was a lot of work, but the result? Yummy grape jelly (my favorite) for breakfast!

So the grape covered walls? My mom had been canning the grape jelly and had not waited long enough for the grape jelly to cool before sealing the lids on top of the jars. In the middle of the night, the heat inside the jars had made them explode, leaving our kitchen and dining room splattered with grape jelly. It was a bit of a shock and funny all at the same time. The bummer part? My sister, brother, and I had to clean up the hot, sticky mess.

I think of it every time I smear grape jelly on my toast.