As I’ve been working through my harvest this year, I noticed the great variety of canning jars I posses. I’ve always been more of a practical canner than a specialty canner, though I have a few standbys to wow people with. Looking back this doesn’t come as a surprise to me since my vision was always resource efficiency.
It’s taken me years of scrounging and collecting, but I have probably over a thousand canning jars now. Of course, after all my effort collecting, my house has begun to empty, as houses do, and now I only need a fraction of those jars to keep my family fed throughout the winter.
I know that there are some people who are picky about what brand of canning jar they use, but in my experience there is no difference between the brands as long as you are choosing one of the standards. Most of us know the names, even those who are brand new to canning -Ball, Kerr, and Mason.
They all make such beautiful, quality jars. And they come in all different sizes and shapes too. There are half pints, which make wonderful gift sized portions. Pints, which are great for relishes, jelly, jams, and 2-3 people sized portions of vegetables and broths. I always used pints for canning vegetables that go a little further, like swiss chard and string beans. Then there are the quart sized jars which are good for most everything else, and also everything-just in larger portions.
There is also one more thing that is important to consider when choosing a jar, what kind of mouth it has. There are two main kinds of mouths on standard canning jars, wide and regular. Regular works well for most vegetables, but pickles and larger or more delicate items are best done in a wide mouth jar.
Finally, even if your jars are brand new, check the rims to make sure that they are not chipped and examine the entire jar to ensure that it is not damaged before you fill it with your special recipe or harvest.
I love the variety of jars available to preserve in today, it is so much fun to see vintage shapes emerging from the past to hold todays jams and jellies as gifts. It is a sign to me that some of the arts of our collective pasts have yet to die.