Earlier this spring, hot on the heels of do-it-yourselfers across the land, Williams-Sonoma debuted their Agrarian line -- a twee collection of gentleman farm accouterments for appointing fine gardens with accessory heirloom hens and hives. And since you can't be properly prairie without a few jars of precious homemade cherry preserves on display, Agrarian includes a selection of home-canning equipment -- which is priced so high you can practically hear it mocking the thrifty benefits of food preservation.
So it's with some relief that Kmart has launched a complete line of quite affordable canning equipment. Say what you will about behemoth discount chain stores (I know I've said a lot) but it's hard to find fault with providing a wide audience with an affordable way to help take food production into their own hands.
The selection is comprised primarily of Ball products, and they may not be romantically marketed with dreamy shots of the country house, but, for example, a set of four 16-ounce Ball jars costs $5.99. (Alternatively you could order the Williams-Sonoma set of four 16.9-ounce jars (displayed on the reclaimed barn-wood dining table) for $19.95. You know what I mean?)
When asked about Kmart's line, real food advocate and canning expert Sherri Brooks Vinton -- author of The Real Food Revival, Put 'em Up!, and the upcoming Put ‘em Up! Fruit and The Put ‘em Up! Answer Book -- told TreeHugger, "I would say this is just another example of the growth of the real food movement. Canning is another way to enjoy locally grown foods and eaters' growing interest in the craft reflects their commitment to sustainable agriculture."
So now that summer is starting to do its magic with the fruit and vegetables, it's time to break out the Ball jars and hot water baths and do some canning. There's nothing like a blast of summery tomatoes come January...no fancy food-hipster tools required.
Prices range from $0.70 for Kosher dill pickle mix to $99.99 for an automatic jam maker. See the complete line here.
Want to get started? Check out: 9 Easy Recipes for Small-Batch Fruit and Vegetable Canning and Preserving.