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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
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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!

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    Happy Monday, lovelies! We’re bringing you a fun DIY from our friend Ashley Brooke at Ashley Brooke Designs. I’m a big fan of all things summer, so this embellished rattan beach tote DIY sounded like the perfect accessory to any warm-weathered wedding. These totes are easy to put together, fun to fill, and will make an adorable welcome bag for your guests or a part of a bridesmaids’ gift. I love all the fun items that Ashley fills her tote with! If you’re wondering, the stationery featured in the video is made by Ashley Brooke Designs and can be found here.

    Happy crafting! If you try this, be sure to tell us how it turns out!

    Past DIYs:
    Envelope liners
    Monogrammed mason jars
    Patterned cupcake wrappers

    nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
    3 Comments
    1. avatar {New D.I.Y. Video} ABD + Southern Weddings – Ashley Brooke Designs reply

      […] […]

    2. avatar Heather Minicucci reply

      What a cute DIY project! Thanks for sharing.

    3. avatar DIY :: Just Beachy | Elizabeth Ashleigh reply

      […] this fun DIY from Ashley Brooke Designs and featured on Southern Weddings! This beach chic tote is perfect for holding your favorite Summer essentials and would be a great […]

    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: Send Your Invitations

    by in Main on

    Picking out (and possibly making and assembling) your invitations is a hard thing to do. There are so many pretty options that are available that can speak about you and your beau as a couple. However, there’s a lot of keep in mind when actually sending them out, too. The good news is that I’m here to give you a quick rundown of what you should know before popping those beauties in the mail!

    Image credit: Yvonne Wong Photography via Southern Weddings

    Calligraphy

    If you choose to have your invitation envelopes dressed up in formal calligraphy, that’s the very next step in your invitation preparation. Make sure that you have a complete and accurate list of everyone who is receiving the invitation, including their formal names with suffixes and titles, and full addresses (think P.O. boxes, apartment numbers, zip codes, and countries or provinces if you’re inviting international guests). Most calligraphers prefer to have names sent in a Word document, and almost all require addresses to be typed out (to cut down on legibility errors!).

    When researching calligraphers, keep in mind your wedding style, your budget and your time frame. Calligraphers may request two or three weeks (sometimes more!) to complete your envelopes. If there’s no room in your budget for a professional calligrapher (and you’re like me and your handwriting isn’t so pretty), you can opt for machine calligraphy, which is more affordable.

    Image credit: Southern Weddings

    Envelopes and Addressing

    The practice of using two envelopes — an inner one with the names of the invited guests and an outer one with the address and postal information — was to ensure that the guests received a pristine envelope with their invitation. Nowadays, it’s not necessary to use both. Either way, your invitations should be properly addressed. There are many variations and nuances when it comes to addressing your invitations, but here are some guidelines:

    – Use full names.
    – Use “Mr. and Mrs.”
    – If one of them is a doctor, use “Doctor and Mrs.” or “Doctor and Mr.” Basically, the doctor comes first, whoever it is. If both of them are doctors, write “The Doctors X”
    – If they both have different professional titles, list the woman first.
    – If they are married, write “and” between their names.
    – If they are not married, but living together, write their names on separate lines without the “and.”
    – Write out all numbers below 20 and all abbreviations in the address. (For example, “Thirteen Chapel Hill Avenue”)

    Image credit: Focus Photography via Green Wedding Shoes

    Stamps and Mailing

    Your invitations are the first design element of your big day that guests will see, so feel free to dress up the envelope a bit with pretty stamps! I love seeing a bunch of vintage stamps artfully arranged on an envelope. You can find valid vintage stamps online and affix them to your invitations (just make sure that they add up to the proper postage amount!). We like The Paper Nickel, which sends you a variety of stamps in 44-cent packs so there’s less guesswork. They’ll also do custom orders, say if you want all of your stamps to be one color.

    If vintage stamps aren’t your style, you can still personalize! The United States Postal Service gives you plenty of options when customizing your stamps or choosing from a wedding collection. Zazzle has a large selection of wedding stamps, but they also let you upload a photo to make your own or you can personalize one of their already-designed stamps.

    If you would really like your invitations to arrive in pristine condition, consider having them hand-cancelled. This may be especially important to you if your invitations contain elements that could be easily damaged. Instead of running your invitations through a machine, hand-cancelling requires a person to just mark the stamp and imprint it with the name of the city or town. Since post offices are usually busy, the best bet is usually to ask (oh-so-sweetly) if they wouldn’t mind if you stood off to the side and hand-cancelled them yourself. Make sure to approach the friendliest face on duty with your request :)

    Image credit: 100 Layer Cake

    General Advice

    – Send envelopes to your calligrapher three or more weeks before you need them back to mail. (Double-check! Some calligraphers need longer.)
    – Mail out your invitations about six to eight weeks before the wedding.

    – Make sure your addresses are up-to-date, accurate, and thorough.

    – Take a stuffed and completed invitation to your local post office to be weighed. It might take more than 44 cents to mail. Keep in mind that oversize or irregularly shaped invites might be more expensive to mail, too.
    – Be careful of packaging elements that might cause your invitation not to lie flat, as it might have to be mailed differently.

    Image credit: One and Only Paris Photography via Style Me Pretty

    Check out our previous How-To: Biscuit Bar

    Have any questions or more advice to share? Leave a comment below!

    nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
    6 Comments
    1. avatar Amber reply

      This is perfect timing and great advice! We’re about to receive our invites back for assembling and calligraphy work, thank goodness my fiance is skilled in calligraphy! Thanks for the awesome post!! :)

      • avatar Nicole reply

        Hi Amber! I’m so glad you find this helpful! And what wonderful luck that your fiance is skilled in calligraphy. I wish I could say I were skilled in it, too!

    2. avatar Adrienne reply

      Thanks, I am addressing envelopes today! What a help!

    3. avatar This Week I Liked « Delighted reply

      […] SW mag tells us how to send your invitations  […]

    4. avatar Stacy {Advantage Bridal} reply

      Thanks for sharing these helpful tips for addressing, stamping and personalizing wedding invitations! They really do make the first impression for guests, whether a bride sends custom, DIY or affordable invites!

    5. avatar wedding wednesday: please mr. postman reply

      […] via […]

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