Blog


Meet Bri, your Account Coordinator

-Thursday, April 24, 2014

At Packaging Options Direct, we strive to provide our customers with a personalized Customer Service experience. What better way to do that than for our customers to learn about the team on a personal level.

Brianne Livas, Account Coordinator

Bri (pronounced Brie, like the cheese) is the Account Coordinator at Packaging Options Direct. With over 10 years in the rigid packaging industry, she has a vast knowledge of the bottles, jars and closures you might need. Bri’s favorite hobby is writing short stories and poems and here is an acrostic poem she wrote just for POD.

POD Acrostic Poem 

Packers

Atomizers

Cobalt, Amber, Green and Flint

Kilner Jars

Apothecary Jars

Growlers

Imperials, Bullets, Cosmos

Natural

Gallon Jugs

 

Octagon Glass

PET Bottles

Trigger Sprayers

Incredible Promotions

Oblongs

Nail Polish Bottles

Spice Jars

 

Droppers

Impressive selection

Round, Boston

Economy Jars

Child-resistant Closures

Tapered Bottles

Choosing the Right Mason Jars for Canning

-Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Canning and preserving your own food is more than just a popular trend that is making its way through homes in the United States – it’s a wonderful way of preserving your food to protect it from spoiling, to protect yourself from rising food costs and it offers many other benefits.

Many people are afraid of tackling the efforts of canning because they have heard about how complicated and time consuming the process can be. Although it does require a time commitment, the process of canning your own jams, jellies, sauces and veggies is totally doable and easy to learn. Eating food that you preserved yourself is rewarding, delicious and healthy.

Not only do you have control over the ingredients you add to your creations but you can also experiment with flavors and get creative. Canning your own food requires tools that you can already find in your kitchen and the right mason jars for your creations.

Before we go into detail about the different glass jars and lids you need for canning your own food, let’s learn a little bit more about the benefits of canning and the history of the process.

Canning Jars

Benefits of Canning

Health Benefits – Many people are concerned about the rise of BPA in commercial canned foods. BPA (bisphenol A) is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics since the late 1950s.

Exposure to this chemical can result in negative health effects on the brain and behavior of infants and children. When you can your own food you have a choice of what container to store your food in. BPA-free food as well as healthy preservative-free food that contains no harmful additives or pesticides is the number one reason many individuals switch to canning.

Eco-Friendly – When you use glass jars to can your own food you are reducing the waste associated with pre-packaged foods and your containers are recyclable and reusable. Financial Benefits – When you buy produce that is in season it’s not only tasty but it comes out cheap and economical. You also have to buy the supplies required for canning only once!

Sentimentality – Some feel that canning is a powerful connection to culture, family, heritage and the past.

Personal Satisfaction – There is something very rewarding about producing and preserving your own food.

Quality – No commercially produced product tastes as good as a homemade preserve, that’s just a fact of life.

History of Mason Jars & Canning

Napoleon is often credited with the invention of modern canning because the French military offered a cash prize of 12,000 francs to whoever was able to develop a new method to preserve food in 1795.

In 1858 John Landis Mason invented the original Mason jar. The threaded top used to seal the jar was a revolutionary concept in food preservation.

Unfortunately for Mason, he didn’t renew the patent on his creation until after it expired in 1879 and he passed away relatively poor in the 1900s.

There have been many others who have expanded on Mason’s original idea by creating a wide range of glass jars, lids and closures to use for food preservation.

Different Types of Mason Jars Used for Canning

A Mason jar is a molded glass jar that is originally used in canning to preserve food.

Although in today’s modern world of DIY projects and Pinterest there are various other ways to repurpose glass jars, using the container to preserve food is still its number one purpose. The mouth of the jar has threads on its outer perimeter so it can accept a metal ring when it is screwed down onto it.

Other common names for the original Mason jar include Ball jars (after the Ball Corporation), fruit jars and simply glass canning jars.

All Mason jars are not created equal. They are remarkably similar to commercially used jars, but the biggest difference is that real Mason jars have a wider rim that gives them a better sealing surface.

They are also made better so they can resist cracking and breaking under the high pressure that is necessary for canning. Real Mason jars have two types of mouths – a “regular mouth” and a “wide mouth.”

The regular mouth jar is slightly smaller near the top, which helps to hold the food under the liquid level. This type of jar cannot be used for freezing because the smaller neck won’t allow for expansion of the liquids as they freeze. A wide mouth jar is great for food that may be hard to put in a regular mouth jar and they are safe for freezing.

Tips for Choosing the Right Mason Jars for Canning

In the same way that there are different types of knives for cutting different types of food, there are also a variety of sizes of canning jars made to properly preserve different kinds of foods.

Here is a run-down of the different sizes and styles of Mason jars used for canning.

Wide-Mouth Half-Gallon Jar – The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends using half-gallon jars only for canning apple juice and grape juice. Due to the large size, these jars are hard to heat all the way through and it’s impossible to ensure that the food in the center of the jar has been heated and cooked properly.

Regular-Mouth Quart Jar – This is probably the most versatile canning jar. You can store pickles, fruits, vegetables, beans, tomatoes, juices and more.

Wide-Mouth Quart-Jar – This jar is perfect for large chunks of fruits and vegetables and you can freeze them too.

Regular-Mouth Pint Jar – This jar is the most widely used jar in kitchens around the world. Perfect for sweet pickles and fruit preserves.

12-Ounce Jelly Jar – This jar is smaller than a pint and it’s perfect for giving away your delicious creations as gifts.

Half-Pint Jelly Jar – This size is preferred by many canning experts for jams, jellies, preserves and butters.

Wide-Mouth Half-Pint Jar – These jars have a nice shape and are also commonly used as packaging for gifting homemade goods.

The Commercial Jar – This jar is not a real canning jar in spite of its Mason jar label.

Getting Started with Canning

Although the idea of reusing commercial tomato sauce jars as canning jars may be tempting and seem economical, they are not appropriate for canning homemade goods. These jars have a greater possibility of sealing problems and breaking. They also have smaller necks, which makes them hard to fill. These jars are perfect for storing dry goods such as rice, flour or pasta but never use them for canning.

These tips may seem odd, because a jar is just a jar right? Wrong.

The difference between packaging your preserves in the right jar can make a huge difference between delicious jellies and dangerous spoiled goods.

If you are interested in learning and mastering the craft of canning, or if you need to replenish your inventory of good quality glass Mason jars, then contact the experts at Packaging Options Direct.

We offer the finest quality of classic Mason jars of all shapes and sizes that will perfectly fit all of your canning needs.

Contact us today to learn more about our inventory or to place an order!

Decorating your Wedding with Glass Bottles and Jars

-Thursday, April 10, 2014

Weddings are expensive. Between paying for flowers, catering, linens, silverware, plate ware, a DJ or live band, the venue, the dress and many other little details – the average wedding can easily cost more $15,000. This cost can widely vary depending on how many guests are invited and other factors.

Do-it-yourself trends are thus becoming more popular. Not only can you save a lot of money, but it also puts a unique and memorable touch to your special day. Not to mention that you will have a great time bonding with your bridesmaids while you hold DIY parties to put together unique creations for your big day. Glass bottles and jars are the perfect solution for a bride who is sticking to a budget and is also conscious of the environment and her carbon footprint.

Glass bottles and jars are recyclable and full of creative potential. The beauty of glass bottles and jars is that you can reuse and abuse them for multiple occasions. Weddings are wonderful celebrations that demand multiple events leading up to the actual wedding. Bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, bachelor and bachelorette parties and many other exciting parties build up the anticipation leading up the big day. If you were to order enough glass bottles or jars, or both, you could use them for each individual event, which would ultimately save you a lot of money.

If you are interested in decorating your wedding with glass bottles and jars and you are looking for innovative and unique ideas then you have come to the right place. Apart from supplying you with the perfect packaging options for all of your needs, our experts at Packaging Options Direct are here to offer you a diverse collection of ideas for decorating your wedding with glass bottles and jars for you to choose from.

Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.

Wedding Jars

Decoration Options with Glass Bottles and Jars

Drinking Glasses

Whether you are using these for a shower, a bachelorette party or your actual wedding day, glass jars and bottles are perfect for serving refreshments. Perfect for iced tea, lemonade or cocktails you can label the jars with chalkboard stickers so each guess can write their name on his or her respective glass. You can even dress up the jars and bottles with ribbons, bows, flowers or other elements to add some personal flair. You can even offer these personalized glass containers as wedding favors for your guests!

Candle Holders

You can use glass jars as votive candleholders. The soft flames of delicate tea lights flickering against the curved glass will add a romantic and beautiful touch to your special day. You can paint the jars in different colors, dress them up in lace, tie pretty ribbons in your wedding colors or group a couple of jars together for a collective and dreamy feel. Whether you use these on the tables or line them up down the aisle to accentuate your big entrance, these simple glass jars as candleholders will add a magical touch to your special day at a very low cost.

Lanterns

In the same way that you can use glass jars as candleholders you can also use glass bottles or jars as lanterns that hang around your reception. These would be a beautiful addition to an outdoor wedding and a perfect touch for a rustic inspired reception. You can loop some garden wire around the top of the jar or bottle to make a handle and hang them around the area. Flickering glass lanterns will add a soft and romantic accent to any outdoor wedding.

Centerpieces

Why spend a ridiculous amount of money on professional centerpieces when you can easily do it yourself? You should definitely work with a florist for your flower needs, but you can save some money if you provide the professional with your own glass bottles and jars to act as vases. If you prefer to have professional centerpieces on the tables at your wedding, you can also add to the arrangement with separate arrangements, candles or other decorative elements stored in the glass containers.

Bridesmaids Thank You Gifts

Your bridesmaids have been there for you long before your big day and they have been there to assist you through every step of the wedding planning process. What better way to thank them for participating in your wedding and for being your best girl friends than with a goodie bag stocked in a pretty glass bottle or jar that they can ultimately reuse? As with all DIY glass container crafts, you can completely customize each gift with items you know your bridesmaid(s) will enjoy. You can include luxury spa items such as foot soak to soothe feet that have been dancing all night long, an eye-cooling mask to soothe tired facial muscles, a luxurious scrub and lotion or any other items you think your girls will enjoy.

Party Favors

Give your guests a token of appreciation and a memento of the event to take home with them. Use a pretty glass jar or bottle to add in the ingredients to your favorite hot cocoa recipe or cookie mix. You could literally fill the glass container with all kinds of goodies and decorate it with various elements that fit the theme of your wedding.

Place Cards

Remember the tip about using glass jars as personalized drinking cups? Why not use those same cups as place cards that will tell your guests where they will be sitting during the reception? You can ultimately create a personalized glass jar or bottle as a drink cup, a place card and a party favor all in one for each of your guests.

Dessert Bar or Desert in a Jar

If you are serving desert as a buffet style bar, then glass jars and bottles are the perfect option for storing these goodies. Sweet and sour candies, chocolates and various other bite sized sweets will look adorable and tempting in shiny glass bottles or jars. If you prefer to serve actual deserts, then you can also store individual desserts to be served to your guests for after dinner or they can take them home to enjoy after the reception. Blueberry pie, no-bake strawberry cheesecake and s’mores in a jar are all delicious options that look wonderful served in a pretty glass jar.

Save & Create with Glass Bottles & Jars!

The biggest benefit of using glass jars and bottles to decorate with on your special day is that you can completely personalize them – they are essentially a blank canvas for you to do with as you wish. Apart from the super savings that you will accumulate by working with recyclable and reusable materials, the unique touch will make your big day even more special. Packaging Options Direct can help you find the perfect glass bottles and jars for your special day.

Contact us today to speak with one of our experts and to learn more about our services and products.

How to Save Big on Shipping when Buying Bottles

-Tuesday, April 8, 2014

At Packaging Options Direct, we understand that one of the major factors in placing an order is the answer to the million-dollar question: “How much is the shipping going to cost me?” Just like you, we often shop online ourselves and have the same concerns. The common assumption is that freight should cost less than the items you are ordering. This is because of the misconception that freight costs are based on the total purchase price of your order.

We offer great product prices to our customers. Unfortunately, the cost of shipping doesn’t have anything to do with the cost of your order; it’s determined by several other factors, the primary being the weight of the shipment. We are happy to explain why the shipping costs sometimes seem high in comparison to the cost of your product.

Shipping carriers charge a flat fee per shipment and then add fees based on the weight of the total order, the number of packages it takes to ship the product as well as the distance from our warehouse in St. Louis, Missouri to you. They also add an additional fee for any extra services, like signature requirements, change of address once an order is in transit or shipping to a residential address (better known as a residential surcharge). Determining what a residential address is can be kind of tricky, but it is roughly defined as any address where someone can sleep or live. Farms and home businesses are considered residential addresses.

Save on shipping

Expert tip: Order more, reduce the shipping cost per unit…

Sometimes you will find you can order twice as much product and not have the shipping costs vary too drastically. It’s always a great idea to play around with order volumes to ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck. Our shopping cart has a great Shipping Estimator to give you an idea of what you’ll end up paying for shipping. In a test we ran, we found that one order was $9.22 in shipping costs; doubling the quantity increased the shipping to only $10.28.

But we took it step further, just for giggles. When tripling the order, the freight only slightly increased to $12.78. Most of the time it is better to order in larger quantities, as it brings your overall cost per unit down. And that’s where the big portion of your savings in shipping can be found. 

Also, take advantage of Less-than-truck load (LTL) shipments. You’ll often find, when ordering in larger quantities, that shipping can be less if the order is shipped on a pallet via motor freight carrier. An added bonus to shipping large orders LTL is you don’t have to deal with boxes and boxes of packing peanuts, which makes LTL a greener alternative. And to save even more, sign up to receive our discounts and promotions and we’ll keep you updated with any shipping discounts we may offer.

If you have any questions or need help reducing your shipping costs, our experienced customer service team is always happy to help; so don’t be afraid to contact us should you need assistance.