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How-To with Nicole: Preserving

by in Main on

I love me some mason jars. Useful, versatile and cute, these glass jars often show up in the most unexpected places but seem to fit in everywhere. However, let’s not forget why we started using mason jars in the first place. As summer winds down and we start bunkering down for winter (I’ll be the first to admit, even an inch of snow means I’ll be hibernating), we begin the process of canning little pieces of summer to get us through the cold months.

In today’s How-To, I’ll be covering the basics of preserving fruits. So grab your apron, pick your peaches, and let’s get started! By the end of this post, you’ll be ready to make your own canned goods. And if you feel so compelled, you can even offer them to weddings guests as a favor!

You will need:

-Your choice of fruit
-Mason jars, sterilized
-1 pot to boil fruit and liquid
-1 large pot for water bath
-Wire rack for the bottom of the water bath
-Jar rack or jar lifter
-Ingredients to preserve (This changes based on your recipe or if you choose to make jams or jellies)

Image Credit: Steep Street via Green Wedding Shoes

What you do:

1. Pick the right mason jar. They should be made for canning, so buying Mason or Ball jar is ideal. Make sure there are no cracks or knicks in the jars. This can cause them to break or seal improperly.

2. Wash your mason jars well. Sticking them in the dishwasher is a good idea, since the heat and water pressure ensure that contaminates are removed. You don’t want that in your food! When they’re washed, try not to touch the inside of the can or the inside of the lid. You can also boil the jars. Make sure they stay hot so they don’t break when you pour your preserves inside.

3. Grab your fruit! Hardier fruits like apples and peaches can be preserved really well, as opposed to soft fruits like plums and figs. Although, any fruit can be preserved if you’re up for the challenge! Peel the fruit and remove the core and stem. Then, cut it the way you prefer — whether into chunks or wedges.

4. Follow your recipe here. Most of them call for you to boil the fruit in water and sugar so that it forms a syrup. You can adjust the amount of sugars and other spices you use based on your taste.

5. When you’re done making your syrup, pour the mixture carefully into your mason jars. Leave about a quarter of an inch of space on top, so the jars will seal correctly. Keep in mind that some recipes might call for a different amount of space.

Image credit: Josh Goodman via Style Me Pretty

6. Place the lid and band on top of your jar and tighten it (but not too tight!).

7. Place the jars in the water bath. Make sure they’re sitting on top of a wire rack so they don’t break while processing. There should be an inch or two of water about the mason jars.

8. Process your jars for the length of time recommended by your recipe.

9. After the processing time is up, carefully remove your mason jars from the water bath with a jar lifter. Let them sit and cool down, then wipe them down with a towel so the lids don’t rust. As the jars cool, the lids should seal with a “pop.” If you don’t hear a pop, then your fruit isn’t preserved correctly and needs to be refrigerated and used soon.

10. Label your jars and store them in a cool, dry place. Your preserves will last up to a year if preserved and stored properly. Just enough time to enjoy them until summer comes again!

Next time, learn how to pickle your veggies!

Anything you’d like to know how to do? Leave a comment or email me!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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How To: Tie a Bow Tie

by in Main on

I’m really excited about today’s How-To! I’ve been fixin’ to do a feature on bow ties for awhile, and since we’re giving away a couple of snazzy Forage bow ties this week, I thought this was perfect timing!

Illustration by Katie Rodgers via Pinterest.

Belles and beaus, I’m here to teach you how to tie a bow tie. There are some of you who have known how to do this since you donned your first seersucker bow in your cousin’s wedding when you were six. Others of you, like me, never had a pressing need to learn. That’s right ladies, it’s good for you to know, too!

Image credit: Upper French via Green Wedding Shoes

The period between your engagement and your wedding day is the perfect time to hone your bow tying skills, lest you end up like these guys.

Image Credit: Bobbi + Mike

I’ll admit, I was one of those guys just a few weeks ago. Though I wasn’t a groomsman preparing for my friend’s wedding, I was sitting at my desk in the Southern Weddings office with my laptop in front of me trying to learn. Whitney and Sierra will tell you this is a true story, since they laughed at me while I did it. The happy news is that I can now tie a bow like no one’s business! I enlisted Sierra’s brilliant design skills to bring you a step-by-step of the process. But before we get to that, let’s do a quick rundown of the different types of bow ties that you have to choose from.

The Butterfly Bow Tie. This bow has a wing span of 3 inches to 3.5 inches. It can look too big for you, but if you’ve got a wider neck span or a larger face and chin, this might be your guy!

Image Credit: Ashley McCormick

The Classic Bow Tie (A.K.A. the thistle or semi-butterfly bow tie). This is the bow you envision when you think of bow ties! With a wing span around 2.5 inches, it’s perfect for any event and suits any face shape and neck size.

Image credit: Bella Grace

The Batwing Bow Tie (A.K.A narrow bow tie). Elegant-looking and thin, there’s a bit of debate over whether this style is more formal or less formal than the classic bow. It has a wing span of 1.5 inches to 2 inches and, although it may look like a one long piece of fabric, it’s tied the same way as the classic bow.

Image credit: Pierrepont Hicks

The Pointed End Bow Tie. It’s exactly as it sounds! For a spin on the usual shape, the pointed end bow is also appropriate for formal occasions.

Image Credit: The Cordial Churchman and Forage

Now that we know what’s what, pick out your favorite bow and let’s tie it!

Need to remember this for later? We’ve got you covered! Sierra made us a fab downloadable PDF with illustrations that walk you through the steps. Print it out and with some practice, you could look as dandy as this guy.

Image credit: Paul Johnson (See more of this wedding here!)

Want more tips and tricks? Check out our past How-To’s.
Biscuit Bar
Send Your Invitations

Tell us about your bow tying experience in the comments below!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
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Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to: