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The Agee Story

Teh Agee Story - original Agee Queen brand

The First Agee Jars

The first Agee jars were made in the 1920s to 1940s. Produced by the Australian Glass Company (operating in Sydney, Australia and Penrose, Auckland), they were called “Queen” jars and featured a branded collar neck.

Around the neck was a wire band with two clamp-type handles on either side of the bottle. You would set a rubber ring (gasket) and a glass lid on top of the jar and use the handles to clamp the lid down during processing. After processing, you would release the clamps to check the seal.

Today these Queen jars are typically used for dry or refrigerated storage of food items.

The Agee Story original Agee Queen brand
The Agee Story jam preserving

“There is something very rewarding about making your own preserved foods. Seeing them all stacked up in the pantry is incredibly satisfying.”

The Lockdown Revival

During the unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic, a trend that has re-emerged is the appreciation of a slower-paced lifestyle.

With people having more time to spend in their gardens and kitchens and the lack of takeaway options, home-cooked meals and baking have become more common; including the art of preserving food.

Preserving food enables people to avoid going to the supermarket as often, minimises fruit and vegetable waste and makes the most of seasonal fruit and vegetable bounty. Storing fruit and vegetables has become a lockdown hobby for foodies and novices alike.

Agee Tip

By preserving your own jams and foods you have the option of altering the taste to suit your tastes or diet.  If you find store-bought jams too sweet, make your own the way you like it!

100 Years of Preserving

In the 1920s, it was common for New Zealand households to grow their own vegetables and fruit, due to commercially processed foods being very expensive.

This involved keeping the pantry stocked with the excess produce from the autumn harvest. The fruit was ‘bottled’ into jars, whereas vegetables were pickled, bottled and preserved in ceramic crocks.

During this period, there were two brands of home preserving products available in New Zealand: Agee and Perfit. The first Agee jars were made in the 1920s to 1940s, they were called “Queen” jars and had a banded collar neck.

Although canned fruit and vegetables were becoming more readily available in the 1930s households were still preserving their own produce. Sugar became rationed during the Second World War, however extra sugar was made available during the fruit harvest for bottling.

By the 1940s and 50s, the switch began to screw band lids instead of the original Queen jars, and Agee released the Utility and Agee Special jars.

Preserving food has seen a revival…

Over the last few years, the art of preserving has seen a hobby revival with re-trending of vintage Kiwiana and home cooking. Nowadays vintage-style preserving jars are sought after for more than jam. They are frequently used as candle holders, kitchen storage, collectables storage, and so much more!

Where to Buy

Agee products can be found at many of your favourite specialty kitchen & homeware stores.