Finding Jars for Desserts
Recently I did a shoot for an online magazine and I fell in love with a Martha Stewart recipe that was presented in jars. Now I know that serving treats, drinks, sauces and vinaigrette’s is not something new, but I really love being able to reuse things around the house, especially when you get that gorgeous shaped glass that seems such a waste to send it to the recycling.
Since Matt and I make a lot of sauces and preserves ourselves, we have a bunch of preserving jars, which I do use from time to time. I do love them, and they are the classic Ball preserving jar, which has writing and texture on the glass. This did not lend itself to showcasing the food in the way I wanted to present it. I also wanted to incorporate different heights and shapes to really simulate that you can use any jars that you have in the pantry or fridge to add that authentic touch of ‘homemadeness’, (if that is even a word).
I wasn’t planning on doing a post about these jars, but as I started cleaning them and sat them on the window sill to dry, the pictures just spoke to me.
Since I have so many preserving jars, I have not been saving any other jars that might make their way into our kitchen. Studying the contents of our fridge and pantry only confirmed that. In a bit of a flap, ( as I need to get this shoot under wraps and I was not as prepared as I would have liked), Matt and I headed to the local supermarket to find the perfect collection of jars. We were not concerned as to what the contents were, we would find a use for them. It was quite amusing, or strange, to others – watching us move product on the shelves so we could sit our chosen jars on the shelve to assess height and shape as it would appear in the camera, (I was planning on a shooting front on or 3/4 angle).
I was looking for heights that complimented one another. So I chose a small one and a tall one, then picked jars of various heights which fit in between those two. I also looked for shapes that would compliment one another. Each jar had its own unique shape, some tall and slim, others a little rounder, and a few that had a conservative pattern on the glass. The trick is to not pick a jar which shape is so different the eye would only want to settle on it, and not check out the other shapes around the frame. In the shots I have included in this post, you can see the different shapes, heights, lips, opening sizes and patterns; and how they compliment one another – they all stand out equally, but there is room to pick a favourite.
I needed quite a collection of jars to play with the heights and shapes, so we found 8 jars we liked and $32 later, we headed home. Of course, as they were from the supermarket, each jar had a label on it. I needed to get that label off and make sure it left no trace on the glass. Some were harder than others, mustard was particularly bad. I guess it is the type of glue they use to stick the label on. To do this I soaked off the label then made them shine.
Firstly I ran a sink full of very hot soapy water. I rubbed some dish-washing liquid on the label of each jar, and let soak for an hour. By this time, most of the labels had come off or started to peel. I used a dish brush to scrap off the remainder of the labels. Some were seriously stubborn. Those I soak in some boiling water for 10 minutes then used a brush again, scrubbing the labels off. I rinsed them all in cold water then dried them with a clean tea towel.
Most of the glasses were a little misty still form the glue. I placed the jars one by one in a measuring jug. I poured boiling water in the glass, and vinegar in the jug. This was so that the vinegar was working to get off the last of the glue and give the jars the crisp shine I was looking for. I soaked each jar for 5-10 minutes depending on how bad the mistiness was. I then rubbed the glass with a tea towel before I rinsed off the vinegar and let them dry on the window sill. You can also use a clean tea towel to get off any finger prints before you plan to shot.
I can’t wait to share the recipe and images with you when the magazine comes out sometime later in July!