This post will share how to can favors for a bridal shower, wedding, baby shower, or other party where you want to put love into jars and give the gift of something delicious.
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Canning for a party can be a cost effective, fun, impressive way of thanking guests for coming to your event. Before you think, “I don’t have time to make 40 jars of jam” hear me out.
Canning favors for a party is genius for several reasons.
You can preserve jam, hot sauce, salsa, or some other preserve that fits with your color or party theme which doubles as an element of decor and label it with a sentiment that fits the host or event perfectly.
Imagine: Pear butter preserved and the line, “A Perfect Pear | Allie & Taylor” … adorable, right?
Thanking your housewarming party guests with teeny-but-terrific jars of hot salsa; “From one warm heart to another!” …so cute!
If you have a smaller guest list (and don’t mind canning a bit more preserve), using these wide mouth half pint jars makes stacking a tower easy- the 4 ounce jars don’t stack as well atop one another.
I recently made jam for my good friend’s bridal shower and it took me a few afternoons and it was so fun to contribute something that people could enjoy and consume rather than stick on a shelf and never use. The jam was easy too because I stuck it in my trunk and headed down the road- no ice chest needed on the way to the out- of-town party. Another super talented bridesmaid created the labels so when I got to the host’s home, I tied them on and ta-da!
And, of course, I was able to share with my good friend (the beauty in the pink top!) that I love her and I’m happy to be included in her wedding!
How to Can Favors for a Party
Firm up the Guest List
The first step to canning for a party is to firm up the guest list. Get a head count and plan to make a few jars over that. You might consider making a bit extra for people who help with shower. In my experience, this usually means doubling a canning recipe OR simply making a batch 2 or 3 times. Canning a triple batch (all in one fell swoop, in one pot, all at once) can be somewhat overwhelming. It can take a long time, and the preserve may not cook evenly and I would consider this to a be a more advanced activity. OR, the worst case scenario is you get it all in the pot and it boils over. I’ve tried to cook more than I should in one pot and not been happy with my results the way I am with a regular sized batch, done over an afternoon or so. One problem can be that the bottom can burn and burned jam isn’t delicious.
I’d advise 1. Determining the number of jars you need
2. Deciding if this means 2 or 3 or more batches and then
3. Cooking no more than a double batch at once.
Next think about a preserve that you’d possibly like to gift. This is probably not the project for a preserve that takes a really long cook or prep time- unless of course you desire a more lengthy project. Fast Raspberry Jam is one I’ve done several times for showers with great success. You can get frozen grocery store raspberries pretty readily and they are fairly inexpensive when they are in season or from a U-Pick. They are bright pink, which often times is a win thematically. Other recipe suggestions are strawberry jam or syrup, pickled pearl onions (these pearly beauties would be rad to give for a less-traditional shower as they are great cocktail garnishes), plum jam (dark purple), or tomato jam (a savory ‘jam’ that’s amazing on top of pasta with goat cheese or on a meat sandwich **insert all the heart eyes here**).
Then, you’ll select your recipe and do the math. Determine how many jars (4 or 8 ounce jars) you’d yield from your selected recipe and decide how many batches you’d need to preserve. For example, if you know you are expecting 35 guests, and want to make 5 extra jars, you need 40 jars total. If I’m making the Fast Raspberry Jam, it yields 16, 4 ounce jars. That would mean I’d plan to make 3 batches, over 3 different afternoons, way before the shower. Weeks before. No one needs the stress of canning the night before- that’s not fun, Wildflowers. 3 batches would yield 48 tiny jars so I’d have plenty in case a guest asked to take an extra jar home (that will probably happen!).
Pro Tools for Canning for Party Favors:
Large preserving pan
Potato masher for raspberry jam
Food Mill (so helpful for making a smooth jam or puree!):
4 ounce jars:
8 ounce jars (several cute options here!):
Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to buy frozen fruit. You can can frozen fruit- don’t feel limited by the seasonality of produce to give the gift of love in jars
Steam canning is a great choice for canning for party favors because you’ll be getting preserving 2- 3 or more batches and steam canning is a huge time saver. You can read my post here about steam canners, or download this fact sheet all about them! I love them and rarely use my regular water bath pot now that I have a steam canner.
Decorating the lids: You could go crazy with decorating the lids. I’m not a decor-crazy girl, and paper crafts are not my specialty, so I’ll first remind you to let the preserve shine. The jars are clear, the preserve will be beautiful, and your effort and labor of love will be stunning. You don’t have to go overboard. That said, here’s a few ideas for decorating and display.
My Love Into Jars labels can be printed at home on an Avery label template or printed on plain paper and cut out and are neutral but really cute.
This batch of fast raspberry jam canned in 4 ounce jars and was arranged on a cupcake tower – the advantage here was the tags could be BIG (the jars are little, Wildflowers!) and it created quite a centerpiece. A cupcake tower or cake stand is a great way to display your jars. These are some cute options!
That one’s not a cupcake tower exactly, but so cute with jars stacked on top!
You can totally do it! Even if you’ve never canned, I can teach you how! Sign up for my FREE Canning Basics course and you’ll be putting Love Into Jars in no time!