Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Canning 101: Jars, Lids and Bands

Depending on how much canning you're planning on doing this year, you may need quite a few jars. I was always surprised (when I first started canning) at how many jars I actually used!I've heard folks say that they reuse jars, like the old glass mayonnaise ones but I personally have never done that. I like to stick with what works and I know that jars that are especially made for canning always work.

There are several brands of canning jars to choose from and they can be found in a number of places. For new ones, check out your local hardware store, grocery store, Wal-Mart or any other home supply type store. You can get used ones too (usually at an awesome price) from places like garage sales, thrift stores, or even your neighbors garage! One of our neighbors gave me over 3 dozen pint jars a few years ago that she wasn't using anymore.
If you're buying new jars then you probably don't need to worry about their condition but if you're buying, or inheriting, used ones then you'll want to make sure you look over every jar well. Look for nicks in the rim, small cracks in the glass or any other sign of weakness. It's so disappointing to get your fruits or vegetables packed, into the canner and then lose a jar or two due to breakage or failure to seal. It's also a good idea to look over the jars you have had in storage from last season.

Lids and bands can be purchased separately if needed. Lids are a one time use product but bands can be reused year after year. I have a cabinet in my kitchen that holds a bunch of bands that I reuse. That way, each canning season my only expense is new lids.
The Tattler company makes reusable canning lids that are constructed from BPA free plastic. Amy over at Homestead Revival is hosting a giveaway for some right now. I have never tried these but I have heard good things about them.
Now is the time to get your supplies for canning season! It's best to get your items early on so that when you are ready to can, you're not left searching the stores for items. They fly off the shelves in the peak of the season!


Unknown said...

Thanks for mentioning the give-away at Homestead Revival™!

I wish more stores would carry the 1/2 gallon size canning jars. I love this size for certain items, but I have to order them and only 6 come per package. ACE hardware use to carry them on-line and you could have them shipped to your local store for free, but I'm not sure if they still carry this item.

Mountain Home Quilts said...

No problem!
Both of our local hardware stores (one of them being Ace) carries the 1/2 gal size in the store. Azure also stocks them. You may want to check your co-op to see if they have them! :)

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

Thanks for the info..I was going to mention AMy's giveaway at Homestead Revival...but you knew about it already :) :) :) Have a great day Heather. Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

Suzi of the Stars said...

Just made pickles for my first canning experience, and I am addicted! Buying a pressure canner this weekend. Thanks for the tips!

Mountain Home Quilts said...

If I could offern advise on the pressure canner- if you're going to buy one, buy the BIG one! :)

Dianna said...

Good information here! I especially liked that you shared about reused jars such as mayonnaise jars. My 38 years of canning have helped me to understand that if they are in good condition they work fine to use in a water bath canner...but never a pressure canner. I also learned (the hard way) that canning lids do not fit all of the reused jars. As you say, when we stick to using canning jars then we know that the lids fit and that our hard work will pay off!

Bridget B said...

Never heard of reuseable lids. Do you have an address or web-site. Thanks

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