Getting a grip

One of the joys of Mr Snail being in a big city is that I can send him off on a quest during the week.

No more boiled fingers!

No more boiled fingers!

Having failed to be able to find any in Aberystwyth (well, what did I expect?), I set Mr Snail the task of buying me some jar tongs last week. First of all, I had to explain to him what jar tongs are and then I had to send him a picture because my verbal description was clearly woeful (either that or he just doesn’t have the capacity to visualise such things). Anyway, a picture was sent, a comment was received about it looking like some sort of surgical appliance and off he set to seek out what I wanted. In fact it only took him three shops, one stock search and one helpful assistant before he was able to splash out Β£4 on what he thought, and indeed was, just the thing.

Jar tongs, in case you have never encountered them, are designed to remove preserving jars from pans of hot water. For some years now I have, however, been struggling without a set and thus getting boiled fingers. But no more… my preserving activities are going to be safe and scald-free from now on.

Two sorts of grippy-thing

Two sorts of grippy-thing (complete with spots of stewed apple to prove I’ve been hard at work!)

Of course, we went to Lampeter on Saturday and found jar tongs in our favourite hardware/housewares shop for 40p less! Mr Snail was not impressed, but did buy me another useful jar-gripping gadget – a little non-slip silicone mitt that is waterproof, so can be used to hold wet jars, spoons and lids without hot water seeping through. I was delighted even if he was still grumbling a bit.

So now I’m making further progress with apple processing. Other things do keep getting in the way (paid work, for example) but so far I have bottled up 7.5 litres (about 13 Imperial pints or 15 US pints) of stewed apple, which should keep me going for a while. There are still plenty more apples awaiting attention, so the jar tongs are going to get a really good work out over the next week or so… don’t you just love having the right tools for the job?

Leave a comment


  1. I couldn’t imagine trying to preserve things without jar tongs, you are one tough cookie for going without them for so long! I’m glad you finally got some, hopefully things will be much easier for you now.

  2. I spent almost twenty years preserving everything I could lay my hands on back in the 70’s and 80’s. These helpful little silicone thingies hadn’t been invented yet and I never had any jar tongs either. I now realise I did it very hard!! πŸ™‚ I never thought I’d live long enough to call myself a pioneer…… I didn’t live in a cardboard box on the side of the road and walk ten miles in my bare feet though, so maybe not πŸ™‚

  3. Lovely apple futures πŸ™‚ Sounds like Ms Pauline comes from Yorkshire doesn’t it? did you also live in a shoebox in the middle “T” road Ms Pauline and have to eat cold coal for breakfast? “Tell that to the youth of today and they WON’T believe you!” πŸ˜‰

  4. I have a pair of the jar tongs, and they do indeed make a huge difference. Not just cooler for the fingers, but also quicker and safer. One thing I’m considering adding to my preserving kit is a silicone mat to put the hot jars on, it saves on soggy teatowels, but perhaps it’s a bit luxurious and insufficiently hardcore of me….

    • Yes, I have had lots of soggy teatowels, but I have a rather good circular try that, once covered with a teatowel is just the right size to hold six or eight jars, which is as much as I can carry in one go.

  5. So industrious! I’ve never canned one single thing so I am very impressed! You deserve those fancy new tongs.

  6. Hooray for having the right tool for the job! My jar-lifters date back to my grad-school days. They look just like yours except for the avocado green coating on the handles (smile).

  7. beckyhelps

     /  October 2, 2014

    Sad to see that the hardware store next to Peacocks in Carmarthen has shut, so had to go to Range instead yesterday, to buy some muslin for rosehips. Made a lovely batch of syrup already. πŸ™‚

    • I hate it when the small independent shops close… we always try to support the little shops locally and the hardware store in Lampeter is amazing… two floors of the most interesting and useful stuff. I have managed to avoid The Range so far!

      • beckyhelps

         /  October 2, 2014

        I’m just glad that the muslin had a Kilner label, as that makes me smile to know that Jeremy Clarkson isn’t getting a bean from the sale. πŸ™‚


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