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.
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