I can’t even begin to count the number of care packages that we have shipped overseas in the past few years. Between Hubs, family, and friends it seems like I am always getting a package ready every few months if not way more often than that. One of my favorite items to send is something homemade.
There are lots of ways to send homemade goodies across the world, but one that I have come to love is baked goods in a jar. They stay fresh as the day they were baked for a couple months, which really helps when a package can take 2-3 weeks to even be delivered. Plus this makes a great holiday gift, if you top the jars with some pretty fabric and make them festive.
You can put almost any baked good into a jar, and ship it, the key is baking it in the mason jar to begin with. Cakes, brownies, savory breads, sweet breads can all be made just like this! I hear you can make cookies this way as well but I have not attempted that one yet.
Banana Bread in a Jar, you will need:
Banana bread batter
Jelly size mason jars, with the wider opening and new lids
Pan for boiling lids
Preheat oven to 350
Step 1: CLEAN THE JARS! Just because they are new does not mean the jars are sanitized. Clean jars are the key to keeping the end product fresh and safe to eat once it arrives! Dishwashers are a great way to get the jars squeaky clean and hot enough to know all germs have been killed. If you do not have a dishwasher (we currently do not) I scrubbed the jars by hand and then put them in the oven for about 20 minutes to make sure they were good and safe! Once they are dry and cool you are ready to move on to the next step.
Step 2: Start by mixing up your favorite Banana Bread Recipe, I used my Super Moist Banana Bread, but any of your favorites will work. Once your done mixing your ingredients, use the cooking spray inside the jars. taking care to NOT get any oil on the opening of the mason jars. It is imporant to keep that edge squeaky clean so they seal properly. Produce wipes would be good if you spill on the edges since they are food safe.
Step 3: Fill the jars only half way, using a smaller spoon to scoop the batter in. Your bread/cake/dough is going to raise while baking and if it gets to big you will not be able to close the lid. I learned this the hard way the first time I made anything in a jar. Halfway is a safe bet that they will turn out good!
Step 4A: Bake in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean before removing them from the oven. Sending under cooked foods might not convey the proper “thinking of you” message. I like to put the jars in my muffin pan, its easier to get them all in and out of the oven without dropping them.
Step 4B: While they are baking, get the lids into a pot of water and bring them to a boil. Once they boil I turn the heat down just a bit to a strong simmer and let them cook away while my jars cook. I like to keep the lids and rings together, so it is easier to get them back out of the hot water with tongs. The rings themselves do not need to be boiled, I just do it for convenience.
Step 5: Timing is everything here. The jars need to finish cooking after the lids have boiled for 5-10 minutes at least. Mine usually sit in the hard simmer stage about 10-15 minutes. Take your jars out of the oven and make sure they are fully cooked. WHILE EVERYTHING IS VERY HOT: Remove a lid from the water using tongs, and place it on the hot jar. Always use oven mitts for this! Tighten the lids down as soon as they come together and set aside to cool.
It is very important that everything gets put together while it is hot out of the oven and water, unlike other canned items that get pressure cooked, or boiled after the lids and jars come together these baked goods do not. The heat from the baking and boiling process is all that you will use to seal them up.
|No clue why the bread looks so dark in my photos,
it came out a perfect golden brown.
As the jars cool you will hear a “Pop” where the jars lid gets sealed tight. After you hear that sound these jars are safe to send. If you are unsure you can press on the center of the lid, if it has “give” or pops back up the jar did not seal. The banana bread in those jars is still good to eat, just like any other bread you would make but it probabily will not stay fresh and safe on the journey over seas. Best just to make it a tester
Take care in wrapping these! They are glass I use packing paper from our last move for these jars, or bubble wrap works too, and dont worry about the weight. These 6 fit perfectly into a medium flat rate square box, with enough room to throw in a card or photos and couple extra socks. The 6 pictured above are already on their way to a friends husband who is currently deployed.
Have you ever made goodies in a jar? Any other tips for people who are trying this for the first time?