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Thursday, February 17, 2011

How to can for fair competition

I won
Yes, I did it! This was in 2009, my  first ever and only attempt at entering anything at the fair. I was soooo nervous. I believe I entered 4 jars of canned food and won blue ribbons on 3 jars: tomatoes, cherry juice, and fig jam.

Other wins
I have a drawer full of ribbons and one trophy and two engraved wall plaques that I have won through the years, since I was eight-years-old. However, I have never entered any food or woodwork anywhere, not even in the fair....back to canning.

Improve your chance of winning
After the fact I read a publication about  how to can for fair competition. I know it may seem like it is too early to think about the fair, but foods will be ready for canning soon in many places. Just keep the points in the article in mind. If the judges cannot decide between two jars of canned food for the blue ribbon, the one that has a Ball lid on a Ball jar may be their choice over the Kerr jar with the Ball lid.

I had none the first year. I just picked from all the jars I had canned. Then, someone told me that some people pack one jar especially for the competition. That is fair. Maybe if I do that, my chances of winning will be greater. 

Your state
This information was from the Alabama County Extension Service. Surely, it is similar to rules for your state. But, check to be sure. Alabama guidelines cannot hurt your chances of winning.

Cash prizes
I was not in the least motivated to win a prize. But, I did not turn it down.

Your turn
Have you ever entered canned goods in the fair? Have you won a prize?


  1. Wow! That bird house is the cutest! If you don't already have a store on etsy, you should!

    Your blog is looking great by the way.

    My big tip for canning competitions--make sure that the jars and rings aren't sticky. Wipe off everything with soapy water and a lint-free towel before submitting. No dusty jars tops from sitting on the shelf either.

    Also, I don't use a lot of sugars in my jams. I don't like super sweet. However, I've learned the hard way that judges tend to have a sweeter tooth than I do.

  2. The bird house is one I made from boards from my house (beaded board tongue and groove) that is 109 years old. Everything there is recycled material and ancient. Yes, I keep saying I am going to open the store I have set up. I do have some of those for sale. Oh, I made all of them. The only thing I had anyone do for me was use tin snips to cut the tin. I marked the tin with a edge of a sliver of a bar of soap. New nails are in the house. Old keys and old hooks from another old house are on the sides and make up the front perch.

    Thanks.There is something wrong with the blog. It's in the codes, so things that are on the blog don't show up.

    Yes, I never put up a sticky jar. I did have to dust them a bit on top.

    Less sweet is the way I like jam also. It's appalling how sweet some are. Since they don't taste jelly at our fair, no one cares about sweetness or taste.

    Thanks for stopping by and the comments. The pamphlet did not include clean jars, important hint.

  3. wow, so impressed with you! and love that birdhouse...such thoughtful and adorable repurposing!

  4. Dmarie, thanks.I am impressed I did not cut off my hand. That was my first time to use a table saw. I made the pattern for the birdhouse, too.


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