In the Kitchen
To safely can, you need the right jar. Over the years, and even today, you may see examples of people using different types of jars when preserving foods. Because food safety is paramount, you want to follow the National Center for Food Preservation guidelines.
Regular and wide-mouth Mason-type, threaded, home-canning jars with self-sealing lids are the best choice.
The examples in the picture are Mason-type jars. It can be tempting to reuse other glass jars but stay away. Use them for other things.
One reason for not reusing other glass jars is even if you fit them with the two-part lid you see in the picture. The seal might not be quite right because the ridge of the jar may not be exactly even (news to me 😲). Additionally, depending on the stress the jar has been under, it might not be as sturdy as it appears.
Glass jars, even Mason-type jars, can degrade over time. They may have slight cracks. Even insignificant scrapes from metal knives - think mayo jar - decreased the jar integrity and could cause the jar to crack during the process.
Additionally, as you use your canning jars, you will want to recycle or repurpose them if you notice any imperfections. I use my jars for canning, storage, and even freezing. Freezing and storing can weaken the jar over time. I try to keep my freezing and storage jars separate from my canning jars just to be safe.
The Perfect Find
Ask anyone in my family, and they will tell you I have a bottle and jar problem. I love finding unique jars at antique shops.
I also love clamp-lid jars, as you can see in the picture.
Do not use these for canning. Here's why:
Jar Integrity (as mentioned above) - you don't know how old the jar is or how it was used.
Old jars don't always fit new lids.
Clamp-lid jars require a gasket to seal the jar, and without a lot of expertise, these will not can properly.
Best to use these for storage, as you can see I do.
Cool Colored Ball Jars
If you are shopping for jars, you will come across different colored jars - green, pink, and blue. As long as they are designed for canning, you can use them. To be safe, I would only use jars produced by Ball.
Be cautious when purchasing more "designer" jars. Some may even say "Mason" on them. These typically are not made for canning and could result in disaster. Also, if you are using a jar that has a unique shape, has an effect on the canning process and could impact the safety of your food.
Last Word on Jars
Here are the best practices to follow, especially if you are new to canning.
Purchase new canning jars to use only for canning.
Avoid designer jars.
Store your canning jars so they aren't bumped around a lot.
Replace old canning jars if you have any questions.
Only use a two-part lid for canning. You can reuse the band around the outside, but you need a new flat piece every time you can. New jars will have a new flat piece. Reused jars will need a new flat piece. You can easily find these wherever you find canning jars (i.e., Target, Walmart, local hardware stores, and Amazon). You can find regular lids and wide-mouth lids.