Here’s a fact that not many people know about me… It’s one of my ‘super powers’.
I’m really great at opening jars.
It may not seem a big deal, but trust me, it totally comes in handy.
So how did I develop my super strength?
It was something I figured out during my very first job in a winery. Now making wine is awesome fun but it’s also really physical. There’s lots of pumping, shoveling, lifting barrels and climbing.
Coming from the corporate world this was a struggle for me. Plus being the only girl in the winery. It was tough.
One day I was struggling to disconnect a hose fitting from a tank. My hands were aching. There was a lot of swearing. It wasn’t pretty. Then one of the more experienced guys came over to help.
He showed me that if I lifted the hose to take the pressure off the fitting it was easy to loosen the screw.
It changed my world.
Not long after, I was in my kitchen struggling to open a jar of tomato pasta sauce. It wouldn’t budge. There wasn’t any one around with muscles I could borrow.
Then it occurred to me… The lid was under pressure (or really a vacuum).
What if I released the pressure?
I grabbed a butter knife, jammed it under the side of the lid. When I hear that satisfying ‘pop’ of the lid being released I tried again. The lid twisted almost effortlessly.
So there you have it. My ‘secret’ to opening tricky jars.
But wait! There’s more. ;)
What about that half full jar of honey or jam where the lid is literally ‘stuck’ on?
This one I learned from my Mum…
Place some boiling water in a bowl… about an inch (2.5cm) deep. Upend the offending jar and leave it lid down in the water for a few minutes. Then remove the jar from the water and using a dry tea towel or cloth carefully twist off the lid. Done.
Although if it’s still stuck leave it a few more minutes in more boiling water.
Eggplant & Chorizo Supper
At the end of last Summer I was heavily into roasting eggplant, zucchini and capsicum (bell peppers). This simple combo of eggplant and spicy sausage was one of my favourites!
enough for: 2
takes: an hour
1 large eggplant (aubergine)
250g (1/2lb) cherry tomatoes
2 chorizo or other spicy sausage
mayo, to serve
baby spinach or salad leaves, to serve
1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F).
2. Chop eggplant into 2cm (1in) cubes. Halve tomatoes if large and thickly slice chorizo. Toss eggplant, tomato and chorizo in a large baking tray. Drizzle with a good glug of olive oil and season with salt.
3. Roast for 45 minutes. Stir and cook longer if needed. You want the eggplant to be really soft.
4. Divide between two bowls and serve with spinach / salad and mayo on the side.
vegetarian – replace chorizo with extra veg such as sliced zucchini or an extra eggplant (aubergine). Consider serving with some roast nuts or a poached egg for extra protein.
no mayo / egg-free – replace Mayo with a dollop of soft cheese like labneh or goats cheese. Hummus will also be lovely as will natural yoghurt.
other veg – feel free to add diced onion, sliced zucchini, chopped capsicum (bell peppers) and / or whole cloves of garlic.
not hot / small person-friendly – use mild chorizo or non-spicy sausages. You can bake the sausages whole if it’s easier than slicing (or crumble the meat out of the casings).
carb-lovers – toss in cooked pasta before serving or serve on a bed of cooked quinoa or brown rice. Also great with crusty bread for mopping up the juices!
herby – toss in torn basil or parsley before serving.
ps. I should mention there’s a ‘catch’…
I know. The problem with the ‘butter knife’ technique is that it bends the lid so it won’t seal again completely. So don’t use it if you’re planning on reusing your jars for anywhere you need an air tight seal like preserves or jam.