Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Canning Jars - The Saga Continues

Here are some of the basics you’ll need to know. If this piques your interest, you'll find much, more more in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Preserving Food. It's coming out July 7th and is available for preorder on Amazon. Click on the photo to the left to get to to the site. And now, on with the show!

Stocking up on canning jars is best done before the canning season starts. Once fruits and vegetables come into season, you may find that stores are selling out. So, rule number one is to lay in a supply early. For each jar of food you put up, you will also need a ring and a lid. We’ll discuss this tomorrow.

On the Jar Quest

Buy locally! The grocery store and the hardware store are reliable sources for canning jars and other food preserving equipment. You can also find them at Walmart and the other big chains. This is one item you won’t want to purchase online, as the shipping costs cancel out any savings you may find.

Yard sales or garage sales are other good sources for jars, and you can check out any thrift stores run by charitable organizations in your area.

New jars come in a box of 12 and each jar is packaged with its own ring and a lid. You can purchase additional rings and lids separately as you need them.

You can increase your supply when you purchase foods commercially processed in mason jars. Be on the lookout for the characteristic mason jar conformation and logo on the glass. Keep an eagle eye out when you’re shopping.

Different Sizes

Jars come in a variety of sizes, ranging from half-pints to gallons. For putting up fruits and vegetables, pints and quarts are what you’ll need. Fancy pickles and relishes intended as gift items do nicely in half-pint jars. Here’s a picture. I filled the jars with green food coloring to help them stand out.

You have a choice between wide mouth jars and regular mouth. Which ones you choose are simply a matter of personal preference. If your hands are dainty, regular mouth jars will work fine. My hands are big, and so I prefer working with wide mouth jars. I can get my hands in and move things around inside, if I need to.

If you’re canning fruit juices, however, regular mouth is perfect. Both regular and wide mouth jars hold the same amount of food.

Tomorrow: Learning as Adults


  1. Wow. Never realized there was so much to canning jars. Goes to show I've much to learn.

  2. Your blog posts are helping understand why I've never even thought about canning. But I so admire those of you who are good at such things.


  3. I never thought of canning jars as interesting photo subjects...can't wait to see pictures of those jars filled with colorful fruits and veggies. Nice work, Karen.


  4. Nice post. You know what I'd like to see on this blog? Some more personal stuff. Stories about canning, how you started, whether you've taught anyone, why you decided to write the book. I love the instructional side but I want more YOU.

  5. Wow. Your posts always make me hungry!!
    It's great though - you are teaching so much on your blog, can't wait to see the book!

    NA Sharpe

  6. I enjoy your wonderful advice and I agree with Alexis--I'd like to know more about how you got started, fun stories about your experiences, etc.


  7. In response to popular demand, tune in tomorrow for the sad, sad story of Tom

  8. More great info! And I think you might have redesigned your blog a little...I like the layout.



Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
~ I'm the author of Headwind: The Intrepid Adventures of OSS Agent Katrin Nissen. If you're a WWII buff, you'll like it here!