Saving jars for canning - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 13 Old 12-08-2012, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
mammal_mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Urban Midwestern USA
Posts: 6,780
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

I have no experience with canning. My husband has been growing some vegetables for a few years without much success -- but this year, I have really gotten interested in helping him and working toward greater self sufficiency and less dependence on corporations for food.

 

One thing I want to do is be ready to start canning. I don't know how soon we'll have enough of a yield from our own gardens for this -- but I also want to be prepared the next time there is a huge sale on very ripe produce, such as tomatoes or strawberries. When these sales come up, I think you really need to work quickly, and to already have the supplies you need on hand.

 

Things are very tight for us financially, so I am trying to avoid any unnecessary expense by saving the glass jars from any food products we buy.

 

So far, the only kinds of jars I've seen recommended for canning have been Mason jars with the lids in two pieces. I was wondering whether anyone has been able to safely can foods with other kinds of jars -- especially those with the lids all in one piece?


Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
mammal_mama is offline  
#2 of 13 Old 12-08-2012, 11:30 AM
 
Dianamal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I love canning! I haven't had the time or energy to do it this year but I can share some of my experiences.

I would really recommend the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0778801314
It gives you a lot of basic information, variations and ways to troubleshoot if something seems to not be going right. Canning is a very precise process and if it is not done correctly you run the risk of spoilage. There is nothing worse than opening one of those beautiful jars on your shelf only to find that something has gone bad.

I would also be very wary of reusing old glass jars that are not specifically designed for canning. Those jars and lids aren't meant to be used again and if there is any imperfection in the lid it will let air into the jar. You can reuse canning jars forever and the only thing you have to buy new are the flat lids.

If you are a novice at canning I would start with jams and preserves. Very ripe fruit works well for these and they are forgiving. If it doesn't work just dump out the jars, heat it up again and give it another try.

Good luck! It is really fun and so rewarding to look at your beautiful jars all lined up in a row.
Dianamal is offline  
#3 of 13 Old 12-08-2012, 11:35 AM
 
rnra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 584
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

I agree with the Ball Blue Book (linked above).  It's a fabulous resource!

 

I wouldn't personally be comfortable canning with glass jars left over from pasta sauces and such.  I don't think you'd be able to achieve a good seal.  The Mason jars can routinely be found on freecycle, thrift stores, craigslist, etc.  I'd keep your eyes out for some free/cheap ones.

rnra is offline  
#4 of 13 Old 12-09-2012, 12:42 PM
 
milagras's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: near Gettysburg PA
Posts: 221
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Be very careful with anything not labeled as Mason or Ball jars.  Some tomato sauce brands (Classico or Barilla maybe) use a smaller style jar that might hold up for canning.  The biggest concern isn't them not sealing.  They can explode or have the bottoms fall out when you lift them out of canner.  I've had this happen from the standard jars, and it can be scary and dangerous.  Also, always use new lids.  Rings can be used multiple times as long as they aren't rusting out.  If you do reuse lids, don't can with them.  I use glass jars to store many things and reuse the 2 part lids.  But only for storage.

 

That being said, canning can be a lot of fun and definitely rewarding.  Jams are simple to try for starters or high acid things like tomato products or pickles. 

 

"Keeping the Harvest" by Nancy Chioffi & Gretchen Mead is a good resource in addition to the Ball canning book.

 

Good luck.
 


hh2.gif

 

 

 

milagras is offline  
#5 of 13 Old 12-09-2012, 03:49 PM
 
kitchensqueen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Elk Grove Village, IL
Posts: 3,405
Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 63 Post(s)

I agree with the other posters - jars are the piece of equipment you don't want to scrimp on. Canning jars are sturdy enough to be able to withstand repeated exposure to boiling water without cracking. You can't ensure with reused jars. You also don't want to reuse the one-piece lids that come with most jars. You can often find jars for free or cheap - Craigslist, bartering websites, thrift stores and yard sales are all good places to buy jars cheaply. Those places also usually sell the other equipment you might find useful - like a jar lifter, tongs, and stockpot - for next to nothing. 

 

ETA - the initial stuff you can will be your most expensive, since you have the capital expense of buying the equipment the first time. But you can reuse everything again (except the lids) making every subsequent batch super affordable. 


Apartment Farm - the chronicles of my cooking, gardening, crafting and other such things. 

 

kitchensqueen is online now  
#6 of 13 Old 12-10-2012, 03:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
mammal_mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Urban Midwestern USA
Posts: 6,780
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

Thanks so much for all this great advice! We are definitely getting that book, and we'll be checking Craigslist and stuff for cheap or free Mason or Bell jars.


Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
mammal_mama is offline  
#7 of 13 Old 12-10-2012, 01:24 PM
 
Caneel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Small town in a rural area
Posts: 3,869
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

For reference, I recently purchased a dozen Ball pint jars for $10 at my local hardware store.

 

Another good resource is the Chickens in the Road blog and forum.  She has a canning section and the canning thread on her forum is pretty active. 

 

OP - check for a local ag co-op extension in your area.  Those tend to be a great resource for info.


Mom to DS, born fall 05 after ,,, wife/best friend to DH We have
Caneel is offline  
#8 of 13 Old 12-13-2012, 06:07 PM
 
savithny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,820
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

also check the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.   They are funded by the USDA to disseminate accurate, comprehensible information about canning, freezing, and other food preservation methods.

 

http://nchfp.uga.edu/

 

THey've got a LOT of good information, instructions, and tested recipes.   

 

Don't just use recipes that you search online.   There are a LOT of really unsafe things recommended by random people on websites talking about "grandma just water-bath-canned her green beans for THREE HOURS so it was totally safe" and things like that.   The BAll book is really good, and the NCHFP site is great, and many university extension departments have websites that are geared to local crops and food, and often have people who can answer questions or even do free/low cost classes.

 

Please don't re-use commercial jars, though -- they're not made for home canning and are likely to either break or just not seal right, spoiling the food.    

 

YOu also will amost certainly want a jar lifter.    You don't 100% need a canning kettle -- you can work with a cake rack in the bottom of a stock pot.  Funnels are nice but not necessary.  But getting hot jars full of hot-packed food into a ginormous pot of boiling water without anything tipping?   Jar lifter.


savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).

savithny is offline  
#9 of 13 Old 12-13-2012, 06:26 PM
 
fruitfulmomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Between the Rockies and a Flat Place
Posts: 4,243
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)

If you can't afford good jars now, maybe consider freezing instead.

fruitfulmomma is online now  
#10 of 13 Old 12-15-2012, 04:01 PM
 
Caneel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Small town in a rural area
Posts: 3,869
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by savithny View Post

also check the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.   They are funded by the USDA to disseminate accurate, comprehensible information about canning, freezing, and other food preservation methods.

 

http://nchfp.uga.edu/

 

THey've got a LOT of good information, instructions, and tested recipes.   

 

Don't just use recipes that you search online.   There are a LOT of really unsafe things recommended by random people on websites talking about "grandma just water-bath-canned her green beans for THREE HOURS so it was totally safe" and things like that.   The BAll book is really good, and the NCHFP site is great, and many university extension departments have websites that are geared to local crops and food, and often have people who can answer questions or even do free/low cost classes.

 

 

Absolutely.  I am shocked by some of the stuff I have read.  My family has canned for generations and are very careful to do things just so.  Errors can be deadly.  Stick with proven sources for instruction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fruitfulmomma View Post

If you can't afford good jars now, maybe consider freezing instead.

 

We freeze because I don't have the time to can.  We do corn, broccoli and beans by a quick dip in boiling water, a shock in cold water and then freeze. I spread them out on a cookie sheet to freeze and then put them in freezer bags.  You can put them right into the bags but I like my results better.  Peppers and onions I just slice and freeze.  If you freeze things flat in the bags, you can really store a lot in a small space.   My aunt does tomatoes in freezer bags for sauce later on.  I haven't tried tomatoes but she says it is easier and as tasty as canned them.


Mom to DS, born fall 05 after ,,, wife/best friend to DH We have
Caneel is offline  
#11 of 13 Old 12-17-2012, 03:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
mammal_mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Urban Midwestern USA
Posts: 6,780
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

This is all such helpful information! I am just taking it all in now, and I also think freezing is a good idea in some cases. Dh has started two basil plants that he had to prune the other day, and he read that it's a good idea to freeze the leaves in a little water in ice cube trays, and then they can just be added into any sauces or things we are cooking. Has anyone done this before?


Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
mammal_mama is offline  
#12 of 13 Old 12-17-2012, 08:59 AM
 
Caneel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Small town in a rural area
Posts: 3,869
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Yes, I have used that method for herbs.  It proved to be too much of a hassle for me, I couldn't manage all my little cubes.  Also, I could eat basil like lettuce so when I use it, I use a lot of basil.  The thawed portions just didn't satisfy me.


Mom to DS, born fall 05 after ,,, wife/best friend to DH We have
Caneel is offline  
#13 of 13 Old 02-01-2013, 10:39 AM
g&a
 
g&a's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: .ab.ca
Posts: 1,565
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

This is all such helpful information! I am just taking it all in now, and I also think freezing is a good idea in some cases. Dh has started two basil plants that he had to prune the other day, and he read that it's a good idea to freeze the leaves in a little water in ice cube trays, and then they can just be added into any sauces or things we are cooking. Has anyone done this before?

I've never frozen them in water but wanted to suggest making pesto and freezing that.  Pesto freezes really well.


Canadian mama to A (C/S May 2004) and R (induced VBAC Dec 2007) expecting #3 in July.  Currently obsessing over permaculture, photography and beekeeping.

g&a is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off