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Introduction to Packaging - "BRI"ef: 101

-Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Meet your Account Coordinator BriHi! My name is Bri (pronounced Brie, like the cheese) and I’m the Account Coordinator at Packaging Options Direct. I am your go-to person for all things packaging. I'm always happy to assist customers in placing orders but my first priority is helping you understand packaging itself. So I have decided to put together a series of blog posts called “BRI”efs; which will cover all sorts of topics about your packaging needs.

Today’s “BRI”ef is a simple introduction to the world of packaging. Packaging comes in all shapes, styles, materials, finishes, colors and capacities; with just as many finishes. Over the next few articles, we will touch on all of those elements.  

Categories

Glass BottlesContainers are often placed into a category and then sub-categorized by shape and style. Categories are general terms such as drum, pail, tube, bottle, etc. They are very broad terms which do not provide much information. When helping you determine what kind of item you are looking for, I usually try to refer to the sub-category of an item.

Shapes

Shape is a good place to start when trying to determine the look you want. Containers come in all shapes, the basic shapes being: round, square, oval and oblong. Other shapes, such as beveled, add to the many options available.

Styles

The Style of a container can vary from one manufacturer to another, but often it’s more the name than the actual style that is different; as different manufacturers tend to use fancy names for their versions of any particular style of bottles.  A good example of this is Imperial Rounds, Bullets and Cosmo Rounds. All three styles look the same, but are called different names depending on the maker.

Openings

Openings have two basic types: wide mouth and narrow mouth. The term wide mouth refers to any container which as opening roughly half of the diameter of the container or larger. An example would be a one gallon jar often used in pickling. The term narrow mouth describes a container whose opening is roughly one half the diameter of the container or smaller. Beer bottles, and Boston round bottles are perfect examples of containers with a narrow mouth.

Other options…

Materials, Finishes and Colors round out the major components of packaging and each have their own specific function on your packaging.

Product attributesAs you get to know more about the packaging you are looking for, you will be able to use that knowledge to streamline your search on the Packaging Options Direct website. You can use the search feature at the top of the website to look for any of the key attributes located in the diagram on the left, or you can find Material and Style listed in our product attributes key; which you can use to filter products on our site (as shown in the diagram to the right) to find exactly what you are looking for.Product Filters

I will be touching on each of these items individually or at least in smaller and more direct groupings, in my upcoming posts. Should you have any questions regarding packaging that I might be able to address in the blogs, please email me at brianne.livas@packagingoptionsdirect.com and type BLOG TOPIC in the subject line. I’m excited to see what you want to learn about the wonderful world of packaging!

Keep coming back to our blog to get the latest news and helpful resources we’ve put together for you. Visit PackagingOptionsDirect.com/Blog

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Brewing Beer - Resource Guide, Best Practices & Great Finds

-Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Our team here at Packaging Options Direct has compiled the best beer bottling resources from across the internet. From start to finish, this is your guide on the best beer brewing tips, resources, supplies, equipment and more.

In the below video, Jeremy Frey of F.H. Steinbart Company shows you some of the ingredients that you are going to need to brew a good batch of beer. This video is great for the person getting started in home beer brewing and as a refresher for the beer brewing novice.  

 

Brewing Beer 101

A simple Google search on how to brew beer will result in 1,000’s of resources, The amount of information is overwhelming and there are many opinions on the best ingredients, equipment and best processes.

Here is a quick overview on the beer brewing process:

  1. Malted barley is soaked in hot water to release the malt sugars.

  2. The malt sugar solution is boiled with Hops for seasoning.

  3. The solution is cooled and yeast is added to begin fermentation.

  4. The yeast ferments the sugars, releasing CO2 and ethyl alcohol.

  5. When the main fermentation is complete, the beer is bottled and capped with a little bit of added sugar to provide the carbonation.

Beer Brewing Supplies and Equipment 

Click here to browse our Beer Bottle selectionBrewing beer for yourself, friends, family, events or for purchase is a creative process. Choosing where to buy and what portions of barley, wheat and hops can be a fun process. The good thing is there are a ton of great websites to find and experiment with these ingredients. To jump into the conversation and learn about rare hops, specialty malts and exotic yeasts, check out The HomeBrew Forum or Home Brew Talk.

Getting started is easy with a home beer brewing kit and there are many to choose from, depending on how much money you want to spend. For those more experienced, our friends at More Beer seemed to have a wide selection of parts, supplies and equipment.

We might be biased, although, having the best bottles and caps to show off your beer is important. Check out the selection of 12, 16, and 22 ounce classic longneck round amber glass beer bottles. At Packaging Options Direct, we have a full selection of beer bottles to showcase your beer.

Steps to Get Better at Brewing Beer

Brewing beer is an iterative process and listed below are three tips to get better:

1. Buy the right equipment.

2. Use the freshest ingredients.

3. Keep your work area clean and sanitize your equipment as best as you can.

The important part is...have fun!

 

Browse Our Supply of
Beer Brewing Bottles

 

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10 Creative Uses for Tins

-Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Metal tins are extremely versatile and should not just be stacked up in your storage cabinets or tossed out with the trash.

Whether you are using tin containers to store small mints and candies or whether you are using tin cans to create beautiful shades of paint, you should know that you could use these containers for much more than their everyday purposes. There are various craft projects using tin containers that you can tackle right in the comfort of your own home.

The one thing you need to remember when working with tin containers is that you need to be careful and stay safe.

Metal containers can be extremely sharp so it is important to use special can openers and cutters that don’t leave a sharp edge on the container. Also make sure to invest a good sturdy pair of gloves so that the raw edges of the tin containers don’t cut you.

Tin Can Pencil Holders

Different Ways to Use Tin Cans

1. Wine rack

Organize your wine bottles in a tin can wine rack!

This project is easy, functional and fabulous. All you have to do is to remove both ends of the cans, paint them any color you please and then arrange and stack them before you glue them.

2. Organizing Caddy

One of the most common uses for tin cans and tin containers is to use them to organize drawers, desks and other areas.

You can use tin containers (like the ones from Altoids), to organize your desk drawers. Put away erasers, paper clips, rubber bands, beads, tape, binder rings and anything else that’s lying around your desk drawer.

You can also use tin cans to organize your arts and crafts supplies.

Group together pencils, paintbrushes, rulers, scissors and other objects in various tin cans and organize them on your desk so you know exactly where everything is located. In order to make these aesthetically pleasing you can decorate the tin containers by painting them, covering them with fabric and more.

3. Décor

DIY arts and crafts using repurposed items is all the rage nowadays and tin containers are among the most versatile objects to use. Using tin cans as part of wedding décor can significantly save money as well as add a unique and rustic touch to the special event.

Tin cans can be used as hanging lanterns, centerpieces, hanging vases and much more.

There are also other ways to use tin containers as décor – you can make custom lamp shades, make your own scented candles and create holiday décor such as Jack O’ Lanterns or door wreaths.

4. Baking

Who would have thought that you could actually use tin containers as bake ware?

Tin cans can be used as cookie cutters or baking pans for mini cakes. Tin cans are also sturdy enough to be repurposed into miniature cake stands where you can display small cakes and cupcakes. All you have to do is glue a painted can to the bottom of a matching plate with strong glue.

5. Mini First Aid / Survival Kit

It’s always important to be prepared for emergency situations and a small tin container is just big enough to hold some of the most important first aid and survival items that you might need.

A tin container can hold cash, loose change, Band-Aids, small batteries, Ibuprofen, a small box cutter, Chapstick and various other small items that are normally found in first aid and survival kits.

6. Closet Organizer

In the same way that you can use tin cans to organize your wines, pens, pencils and your desk you can also use them to organize your scarf collection in your closet.

Assemble this project in the same way you put together the wine rack by gluing a couple of tin cans together to create little cubbies for your scarves.

7. Hanging Bird Feeder

Add a cute bird feeder to the tree outside your home by cutting out both sides of a tin can, painting it and tying it to a branch with some rope.

Add some bird feed and watch your tree become one of the most popular gathering spots hungry birds.

8. Piggy Bank

Make your own piggy bank out of a tin container where you can save up all your pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.

9. Mini Grill

Who would have thought that tins could be so resourceful?

If you cut strips into the can and fold them back you can put some tin foil over the hole and add some charcoal inside. Place a cooling rack over the charcoal and you’ve got yourself an instant mini grill.

10. Plant Markers

Keep your garden organized by cutting out strips from a tin can and using them as plant markers.

Write out the names of each plant on a piece of paper and then trace the lettering onto the tin strips. Trim the edges so that you can stick the strips into the ground.

Need More Ideas?

As you can see there are numerous craft ideas to help you repurpose your tin containers.

If you are interested in these DIY projects then check out our wide range of metal tins and cans for all of your crafting needs.

Should you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact our team at Packaging Options Direct and one of our experts will be more than happy to assist you with all of your packaging needs.

Ultimate Guide to Beer Bottling with Glass Bottles

-Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Crafting your own home brew is an exciting and rewarding process. Whether you are doing it as a hobby or for business purposes you will come to find that while the brewing process is not too difficult, getting the brew in the bottle can be extremely tedious and many home brewers say that the bottling process is their least favorite part.

Although following a guide and a recipe may seem like an easy task, making sure the process is done right and that you don’t spoil your brew or introduce any bacteria into the bottle is the most important thing to take care of.

The final stage in the brewing process is bottling day, and although many professional brewers eventually switch to kegs or prefer cans over glass bottles, most start out with glass bottles because it is cheaper and a good way to distribute the beer.

Bottling your home brew will take time as there are many steps to follow and a lot to do to prepare so make sure you dedicate enough time for this process.

We know that it can be confusing bottling your home brew, especially if this is your first time so we want to help you avoid common mistakes and get you closer to finishing up the process so you can enjoy your creation.

Here is our ultimate guide to beer bottling with glass bottles.

Beer Bottles

Make Sure the Brew is Ready

Generally speaking, the best thing you can do for your home brew is to leave it in the fermenter for a few weeks before bottling. This will make the beer much tastier because it gives the yeast extra time to ferment the beer properly. During fermentation the yeast converts sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide as well as a number of other byproducts that affect the taste of the brew.

If you are using an airlock with your fermenter you will be able to observe the action by watching bubbles of air trying to escape. This is known as primary fermentation. Secondary fermentation takes place as the yeast cleans your beer thoroughly and creates a delicious brew.

In general, around two weeks from brew day should be more than enough time for your beer to be ready for bottling, but if you are creating heavier or stronger beers you will need more time.

Don’t rush the bottling process and try to be patient, because even though it may not seem like the yeast is still processing sugars (signs of bubbling) the process is still happening and if you bottle before the yeast can finish, the remaining sugars will continue fermenting inside the bottle. If there are too many sugars still fermenting this could cause your bottle to explode. You can check the fermentation progress with hydrometer readings.

Choose Your Bottles

When choosing bottles for your beer you may consider recycling already used bottles. While this is an extremely eco-friendly method, the cleaning process is extremely time consuming and tedious. Luckily buying brand new bottles is not expensive and this way you can choose the finest bottles for your brew and you will have a uniform collection as opposed to various colors, shapes and sizes of recycled bottles.

Always remember to sanitize and inspect your bottles before pouring the brew in – even if you think they are clean.

Decide whether you want a standard bottle with a screw top, a swinging top or a different type of sealing cap. When choosing your beer glass bottles keep in mind that the color will affect your brew. The hop compounds in beer tend to be negatively affected by sunlight, therefore it is important to protect your beer with dark colored glass bottles such as dark green or dark amber glass.

If you do however decide to use light or clear glass bottles, just make sure to store them in a dark place.

Prepare for Bottling

Once the bottles and the rest of your equipment have been thoroughly and vigorously inspected, scrubbed and sanitized it’s time to prepare for bottling your brew. The first task is to prepare the priming solution. As mentioned earlier, the yeast gives off gas as it converts the sugars into alcohol and this gas is released through the airlock so don’t be surprised if your brew is flat at this point in the process.

To perk up the bubbles you need to add more sugar for the yeast to ferment in the bottles, and because this time they will be completely sealed the gas will not be able to escape and it becomes a part of the beer. The amount of priming sugar you add to the brew depends on how much carbonation you want and it’s a matter of personal preference.

There are various variables involved in how much sugar to add so just follow your preferred recipe.

For optimal clarity and to reduce the sediment you may want to use fining agents. It is important to add these in well before bottling. Adding agents such as gelatin should be done after fermentation has been completed, but about five to seven days before bottling to allow time for the proteins and yeast to settle.

Again, make sure that your bottles, caps and the rest of the equipment you will be using has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. You wouldn’t want any bacteria that were left behind to completely ruin your brew.

Siphoning the Beer

Make sure that you don’t begin the bottling process directly from a fermenter. For optimal results you will want to transfer, or siphon, the beer from the fermenter into a priming bucket or carboy. Make sure to minimize excessive splashing to avoid oxidizing your beer. Add your cooled mix of priming sugar into your sanitized bottling bucket and set up your racking cane to a hose.

The racking cane basically helps to keep sediment, or dead yeast, out of your beer. After you attach the racking cane to a hose you will want to sterilize it and check for air pockets. As soon as you’re done sanitizing it’s time to siphon the beer into the bottling bucket. Make sure the siphon hose is at the bottom of the bucket so the siphoning action can evenly mix the sugar water (priming sugar) with the beer for uniform carbonation.

Bottling the Beer

It’s finally time to fill your bottles with your brew. Attach the racking cane into the carboy or bottling bucket and then attach a bottle filler to the other end of your hose. Fill the bottles to about one inch from the top and lift the bottle filler to stop the flow. Fill the rest of the bottles the same way. As the bottling bucket empties you will have to move around the racking cane to avoid sucking up the yeast and the rest of the debris at the bottom of the bucket.

When you’ve transferred the majority of the beer into bottles you can collect any remaining beer into a glass for an early tasting. Don’t worry if you lose a couple splashes of beer during this process.

Capping & Cleaning

As usual begin by sanitizing your bottle caps by either boiling them for five minutes or submersing them in sanitizer for ten minutes. Invest money in a decent bottle capper. Even though the cheap ones work well, spending a little extra on a well-made capper will save you a lot of pain and suffering on bottling day. To cap your bottles just put the sanitized cap on top of the bottles and cover it with the capper.

Hit the capper with a hammer until you are sure that it is sealed well – be generous and strong with your hitting, but be careful not to shatter the bottle. You will know that it is property sealed because the capper will grip tightly to the bottle neck, otherwise the capper will easily flop around while you are trying to hammer it on.

Some may wonder if investing in popular oxygen absorbing bottle caps is worth it or if they are necessary to protect the brew. Unless you plan to store your beer for an extended period of time, such as a year or longer, then you do not need oxygen absorbing bottle caps.

As long as the caps are tight and properly sealed your beer should be fine.

Once you’ve bottled all of your beer, you’re pretty much done! All you need to do is to store the bottles in a cool dark place for at least two weeks and leave them alone as the yeast continues to ferment the priming sugar and conditions the beer.

Make sure to store the bottles in a safe area, because there is still a small chance of the bottles exploding if you added an excessive amount of sugar.

Before you relax, make sure to scrub, sanitize and rinse all of the equipment you used during the bottling process.

Enjoy Your Brew - or Sell It!

After all the hard work of sanitizing, preparing, siphoning, bottling, capping and cleaning it’s time to enjoy your brew – you’ve worked hard and you deserve it! Brewing and bottling beer is a long process, but in the end it is worth all of the hard work.

If you have any questions about what size bottle or what color bottle would be best for your brew don’t hesitate to give us a call. We would be more than happy to answer all of your questions and assist you in making informed decisions about all your glass bottle needs.

Connect with us today!

Will Cans Replace Glass Bottles?

-Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The debate between cans and glass bottles has been strongly raging on for a couple of years, especially in the beer industry. There are pros and cons of each material when it comes to generic use and both easily trump plastic.

Each container is also more suitable for certain products than the other, but the question remains – will cans replace glass bottles?

Some brewers swear that their beer tastes better in glass bottles, while other’s will argue that cans are better at preserving the flavor and richness of a quality brew. Besides aesthetics and financial concerns, brewers are most concerned over the taste and quality of their brew so naturally they prefer a packaging option that will preserve the flavor and enhance the experience of beer drinking.

Various experiments and studies have been done by prominent brewers on the difference between beer in a can and beer in a glass bottle, but it seems that the results are unsatisfying. Some studies show that beer is better in a can, while others favor glass bottles.

The final decision mainly depends on the ingredients used in the brew, the shape of the packaging, the marketing and branding of the brewer and personal preference.

Effects on Quality

The most important thing in a beer, or anything really, is the quality.

If a form of packaging compromises the quality and taste of the product then it should immediately be eliminated. For example, many scientists will tell you that plastic containers do affect the quality and flavor of food.

When it comes to beer the most important thing is to make sure ultraviolet light does not penetrate the can or bottle to affect the beer.

Light is destructive to the organic compounds that make the beer flavor that so many people enjoy therefore it is extremely important for the packaging to efficiently block light. Another enemy to good quality beer is air that slips in and compromises the taste of the brew.

Pros & Cons: Glass Bottles vs Cans

Everything in this world has a good and a bad side – nothing is perfect. Cans and glass bottles also each have their pros and cons and their good and bad qualities.

Let’s take a look at what each packaging option has to offer.

Cans

Pros of Cans

  • Cans don’t shatter so they are safer when it comes to transporting, stacking and overall handling
  • You don’t need a bottle opener to open a can
  • Cans weigh less and less packaging means that you can move the same amount of product in fewer trips, which reduces expenses and the company’s overall carbon footprint
  • Cans fit easily into a cooler
  • Cans have very little environmental impact and are easily recyclable
  • Draft beer is stored in kegs, which is essentially a very large can
  • Cans don’t let any light in so they tend to be really good at blocking UV light from affecting the beer, which should mean a better-tasting beer
  • Cans are really good at preventing air from leaking in and compromising the brew
  • Canned beer chills better than bottled beer

Cons of Cans:

  • The smell of aluminum as you drink out of a can tends to be unpleasant, but this is easily solved by pouring the beer into a glass
  • Cans are reported to contain the hazardous BPA chemical, which has been linked to various health issues including heart disease and behavioral issues

Glass Bottles

Pros of Bottles:

  • Amber bottles are very good at protecting the brew from flavor-busting UV light
  • Bottles are very good at keeping the brew tightly contained so the flavor is fresh and the quality of the beer is not compromised
  • Carbonation in a bottle is controlled, which helps keep the flavor in check
  • Bottles tend to be cleaner than cans and brewers can control the sanitizing process
  • Glass bottles are among the easiest materials to recycle and 80% of glass finds it way back on the market
  • Bottles don’t transfer any chemicals or flavors to the product

Cons of Bottles:

  • Bottling costs more than canning
  • Bottles shatter easily
  • Certain colors of glass bottles can’t block UV light and can compromise the brew

The Final Verdict

At the end of the day there are multiple factors that will play into picking a material for packaging. Whether cans or glass bottles are better is a decision that is made by a brand and it can be something as easy as a marketing and branding decision and as complicated as taste and experience.

While cans may be easier to produce and maintain, bottles are not going anywhere anytime soon. Regardless of what you pick as a brewer or as a beer enthusiast it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

If you are interested in learning more about the debates over cans vs. glass bottles don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Packaging Options Direct.

If you are having a hard time deciding on a packaging option for your brew we would be more than happy to answer any questions and assist you through the process.

Give us a call today so we can discuss your packaging options and pick the best for your product!

Creative Uses for Glass Jars

-Monday, May 19, 2014

What’s better than investing in a product that is multi-functional and can serve many purposes?

The answer is not much. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that a product you spent money on can be repurposed, used and abused for many years to come. It’s also fun trying out new things and being creative.

Glass jars are the ultimate multi-functional product. They can be used for absolutely anything.

Did you know the tops of standard size glass mason jars are usually the same size as the bottom of a blender?

You can use a mason jar to grind coffee or make single servings of smoothies and juices by screwing the base of a blender pitcher onto the mouth of standard mason jar. This is one of many examples that prove how versatile glass jars can be.

You really get your money’s worth when you invest in glass jars and the best part is that these containers are reusable and recyclable – the ultimate in eco-friendliness. More than 80% of recycled glass is repurposed and makes its way back to the market. It is also way easier to recycle glass than it is to recycle plastic or paper.

If you have various glass jars lying around your house or if your are interested in some fun DIY projects with glass jars check out some of the fun and creative uses for glass jars listed below.  

Glass Jars for Drinks

Different Ways to Use Glass Jars

Storage

People always have extra stuff lying around and a shortage of containers for storage and space to store them. Instead of buying multiple plastic boxes and stuffing everything together in a pantry or a closet why not play around with glass jars and use them as storage containers?

Food Storage: When you buy pasta sauce, pickles or peanut butter at the market it is usually stored in a glass jar right? Well why not store the rest of your food that is lying around the kitchen in glass jars as well and neatly organize your pantry? Canning is an extremely popular trend, which involves buying fresh seasonal produce and safely canning it in sanitized glass jars. This process guarantees that you will save money on produce and always have tasty food around the house such as fruit preserves, homemade sauces and canned veggies. You can also safely store spices, coffee, rice, cereal, jams and many other food products in clean glass jars.

Crafts: If you enjoy DIY projects you probably have a lot of small particles and craft supplies lying around that need storage. Beads, sequins and other small bits and pieces will be perfectly and neatly stored in glass jars.

Medicinal Supplies: Do you have cotton balls popping out of your medicine cabinet? Band-Aids strewn all over and Q-Tips spilled in your medicine drawer? Don’t fret, you can easily separate and organize your medicine cabinet with glass jars.

Art Supplies: Pencils, brushes, erasers, paper clips and other art supplies look neat and tidy when stored in glass jars.

Nails, Screws & Buttons: Have you ever looked under your couch? If you have then you know that you will find various knick-knacks that have fallen out of pockets and made their way around your house. Use glass jars to collect loose change, buttons, nails, screws and any other small particles that you find scattered around your home.

Piggy Bank: Collect your extra change in a glass jar and use it as a piggy bank. Fill it up all the way to the top and then use your extra savings for a nice treat!

Decorating

DIY enthusiasts can go on and on about how to use glass jars as a decorative element. You can use glass jars as vases for fresh flowers, store colorful marbles or stones, use them as candle holders as well as find creative ways to decorate a wedding or a special event.

You can also decorate glass jars and use them as gift containers for friends and loved ones on holidays, birthdays and special occasions.

Using it for Serving

You now know that you can use glass jars as storage and as decorative elements, but did you know that they could also act as mugs, drinking glasses and other types of serving products. Glass jars make wonderful drinking cups especially during hot summer months when you can creatively serve chilled lemonade, cocktails and other types of refreshing beverages.

You can also prepare and serve food in glass jars. Prepare your morning oatmeal in a glass jar and take it to go and also prepare a fresh salad in a glass jar to save for lunch. You can also store leftovers in glass jars and tightly secure the lid to keep the meal fresh and delicious for your lunch break.

The Best Glass Jars

As you can see, glass jars are one of the most versatile objects to have around. They are also economical and eco-friendly – what more could you ask for?

If you are interested in learning more about glass jars and their many creative uses connect with the team at Packaging Options Direct.

We would love to chat with you and help you pick out the best glass jars for your needs and projects. Contact us today to get started.

How Glass Jars Can Improve Your Health

-Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Did you know that glass jars and containers could help to improve your health?

Many people don’t even realize that glass jars and containers can be used for a wide range of purposes. For most people, the only reason they even have glass jars in their homes is because they bought pasta sauce or pickles from the grocery store or other items that are already pre-packaged.

There are so many ways you can repurpose glass jars and take advantage of the storage benefits, the health benefits and so much more.

How Glass Jars Can Improve Your Health

How Glass Jars are Better than Plastic

Widespread concern over exposure to harmful chemicals that can be found in plastic is growing and many individuals are choosing to stay away from plastic entirely.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical that is widely used in plastic products such as baby bottles, children’s toys, the lining of most food and beverage cans, water bottles and more. Many studies on BPA have found that there is a link between BPA exposure and serious health problems including heart disease, diabetes, liver problems and developmental problems in the brain and hormonal systems of children.

BPA is so prevalent in many of the products we encounter on a daily basis so it is nearly impossible to completely eliminate exposure to the harmful chemical, but there are ways to limit exposure to BPA by making a few habit changes and taking simple precautions.

One major way to eliminate your exposure to BPA and the risks associated with the chemical is to take advantage of glass jars for food storage, canning your own foods and preparing your meals in glass jars and containers.

Interested in learning more about how glass jars can improve your health?

Read on for more tips and tricks that show how you can improve your health and your overall lifestyle by using glass jars.

Health Benefits from Using Glass Jars

Food Safety

One of the main benefits of using glass jars also happens to be one of the main uses of the product. When you go to the grocery store you will find that many food items are already either canned or stored in glass jars. Things like pasta sauce, pickles, fruit jams and jellies, peanut butter and other spreads, juices, honey, coffee and many other items are sold in glass jars. Buying these products in glass jars as opposed to plastic is one way to help improve your health and reduce your exposure to plastic.

Canning food in glass jars also has serious health benefits and canning is a growing trend that is quickly gaining popularity. Individuals who can their own food always have seasonal produce and food that is fresh, tasty and is ultimately cheaper.

Glass jars also won’t absorb food colors or smells and they won’t allow any chemicals to leak into the food. Plastic is a porous material and when food is stored in plastic the container will absorb the color and the odor of the food. Plastic also leaks chemicals when it is heated that are then absorbed by your food.

Food Storage & Food Prep

Using glass jars for food storage is another great way to reduce exposure to plastic as well as to help keep your pantry organized. You can store anything in glass jars.

Cereal, rice, coffee, sugar, juice, baking soda, dried fruits and vegetables, jams, salt and anything else you can think of. You can also prepare food in your glass jars to make speedy meals. Salads, oatmeal and other dishes are perfectly prepared in glass jars and you can even serve them in the jar!

Eco-Friendly & Economical

Glass jars can improve your personal health, but they can also positively affect the health of the environment.

Glass is one of the easiest materials to recycle (way easier than plastic) and the best way to practice eco-friendliness. More than 80% of recycled glass makes it back to the market in some way and recycled glass uses less energy than manufacturing new glass.

Recycled glass is in no way lower quality than a new glass product and no toxins are produced during the recycling process.

Using glassware can also save you money over time. Sure the initial cost of investing in good quality glass jars may be higher than plastic, but glass lasts longer and can be reused many times so you end up saving money in the long run. If you are also canning your own food then you will also be saving money on produce and on food costs since you will be buying food that is in season and cheaper.

Ready to Replace that Plastic with Glass?

Replacing your plastic food and storage containers with glass jars will not only improve your overall health but you will also save money on containers, on produce and you will be more environmentally friendly.

If you are interested in learning more about glass jars and their multi-purpose functions make sure to connect with the experts at Packaging Options Direct.

We would love to share the many benefits of glass jars and help you find the perfect containers for your needs. Contact us today!

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

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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.