Ta-da, it’s a Pail!

By Rainy

I am super excited because it is quickly moving into berry picking season. This means jam canning is just around the corner! I checked the salmonberries and they are just about ripe. Soon strawberries will follow.

I have been thinking a lot about foraging and realized that I don’t have a proper foraging bucket. My grandfather always had several coffee cans with wire handles available for picking fruit or vegetables in the garden. This coffee can pail is one of the many remnant habits of my grandparents growing up in the great depression. This kind of thrift can be easily translated to the current economic “great recession” (as my landlord calls it). It is really simple to make your own pail and most of the materials you should already have on hand.

I found some other opinions online that recommended alternatives to the single-handed pail. Tom from Tall Clover Farm designed a handle that is long and loops around your neck, freeing up your hands. And Bayou Bill of All Outdoors has a nifty hook on his pail to put on his pants belt to pick hands-free.

This kind of cheap pail also has unlimited alternative uses. You can use it when on the beach collecting shells or rocks. You can use it in the garden to put weeds in to later transfer to the compost. Kids can put frogs, insects and salamanders in it for a pet. It’s great for storing a loose change. I could go on and on.

Items needed:

1 coffee can/ plastic container

Hammer / or drill

Large nail

Piece of scrap wood for hammering surface

1 – 2 feet of wire, depending on handle type

Colored permanent markers (optional)

First clean out the coffee can and remove any wrapping or product stickers.

Mark with a pen on the top inside of the can two Xs about ½ inch apart. It is important to place the holes low enough from the rim for the lid to be placed on top.

Repeat on the opposite side. Set up a piece of scrap wood under the Xs. Hammer a nail through the container to make a hole in each X mark. Use the hammer to flatten any sharp edges.

My friend has a drill so I was able to use that instead.

Thread the wire from the outside of the can and out the neighboring hole then twist the wire to secure in place.

My friend had some electrical wire that he stripped and twisted the ends together.  Measure out length of handle and cut the wire if it is too long.

Repeat securing the wire on opposite side holes.

Use permanent markers to doodle on the can so everyone knows it is yours. Finally, frolic through the berry bushes.


7 thoughts on “Ta-da, it’s a Pail!

    1. I haven’t made it before. I just made a small batch today and the pre-canned jam is yummy. Its sweet and tangy. It helps that I added a lot of sugar.

  1. Could you write a blog about making salmon berry jam? I haven’t heard of that jam before? Salmon berries are one of the wild edible foods that I learned about in Camp Fire Girls many years ago. I can still ID them in the woods!

  2. Homemade berry pails – what a great idea for a blog! I think we still have some of your Grandpa’s pails that he made from large vegetable cans. One time when our family went huckleberry picking, he had a full bucket of berries he and swung it around in a complete circle without loosing a berry!

  3. One time when we were at Discovery Park in Seattle, I saw a man collecting wild blackberries in a plastic milk jug that hung around his neck. The top had been cut off the gallon jug and a string was attached to the jug. The pail was deep enough to collect a lot of berries without spilling any.

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