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To save money on canning, most jars that food came in will work just as well as "canning jars." Save the ones that are the size you need and are nice thick quality. The important thing is to use canning jar lids that are in excellent condition with no evidence rust and chips, and that securely fit your jars. It's ok to re-use the metal lid twist on "band" part, as long as the sealing center part is good.
After canning, always test the seal. It should cause a "popping: sound when cooling. That let's you know it is vacuum sealed. If you have one or two that don't seal, all is not lost. Simply refrigerate and use soon.
This will salve money, since jars can be costly.
Also, I find canning jars and sometimes new boxes of lids/ and or bands at rummage sales, yard sales, and sometimes on sale at the end of canning season in the grocery store.
By Grayce from Fort Pierce
Europeans always reuse these jars for home canning and never hear of others getting sick from improper seals. People often state that the jars may not be strong enough to withstand the canning process, but they were originally processed in this manner, and I've had several brand new "canning" jars explode in a water bath. Personally, I think it's just a marketing gimmic to instill fear in us so we buy new jars. However, one must be especially careful when using a pressure canner. I've had the seal disconnect from the jar lid a few times.
Also, when making jelly, pour some melted parafin over the jelly, then put the lid on and can in a water bath. The parafin won't mix with the jelly, but float on top of it, making an extra seal.
If you're doing canning, try this. Wash your jars and check the tops of your jars. They should feel like a piece of flat glass, nice and smooth. Put them in the oven on a cookie sheet, open side up, at 200 degrees F until ready to use. This gives you more room on the top of the stove.
Source: 30 years of canning.
By love2can from Sweet Valley, PA
That is a great tip. I never have enough room on the stove top when I'm canning cause I've ony got two burners. Thanks!
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I was wondering if I can use some old mason jars I got for free to do some canning. Will the metal lids work? Should I get new lids? Some have rust on them. I really wanna be able to use some of my tomatoes from my garden this winter.
Jennifer from Illinois
First, check the rims very carefully to make sure they are smooth. This is very important to make sure the lids will seal.
Definately get new lids, some reuse the rings, but I would replace the rusty ones.
Yes, you can uses the jars as long as they don't have any crackes or chips in them. you will need to buy new lids throw the old ones away! you can uses the rings just wash , if they didn't come with rings you will need to buy some. after you put your tomatoes in the jar take a papertowel wipe any juice or pulp from the top of the jar put on a lid (straight out of boiling water) then place on the ring tighten it put and your ready to go.
You can use the ring, but you'll need to replace that little disk-thingie that has the seal. I'm not sure exactly why, but that's what my wife does.
I asked her for a reason once & she explained it, but, heh...I'm a man & I forget ;)
The jars can be used if they are in good condition. The lids however can only be used once for canning. The rings can be re-used; however if they are rusty, I'd pitch those too. You can probably get some instructions online but if you can find the "Ball Blue Book"....that will explain everything to you, step by step. Tomatoes are easy to can....we have done many times, my husband and myself. There's nothing better than your own home canned whole tomatoes. I miss them so much. I didn't have to buy tomatoes from the store for most of our 30 years of marriage. We haven't planted a garden for the last several years due to the yard getting too shady.
Tomatoes are acidic so they get canned by the "boiling bath method". Low acid produce has to be done in a pressure canner.
Anyway, I do believe that canning supplies would be available in Wal-Mart and they might even have the canning book I suggest buying. It doesn't cost much and you will then be able to teach yourself the proper way to can.
Another good way to preserve tomatoes is to freeze them. I scald, peel, dice and micro for 5 minutes in micro proof 4-qt container with handle and lid,
Put in qt zip-lock bag and freeze flat in freezer. Very space saving and fast. Sometimes I only do one qt at a time.
I also like to freeze my tomatoes. Since they are low in acid like Debbie52 said, you don't have to worry about them not sealing. I also like them frozen better because after you can them and water bath them. They loose color and flavor from all that cooking. You can also make stewed tomatoes and freeze them with the spices, celery onion etc.
you can use the same jars but make shure you boil them and please dont use your old lids get new ones you go to all the trouble of canning your food dont let it ruin on you the lids dont cost that much and you can get them anywhere
I have found lots of spaghetti jars have mouth openings that don't match the standard or wide mouth lid sizes so those jars have limited applications. i.e. jam/jelly jar with paraffin wax. There are some exceptions. My favorite commercial jar to obtain is a Sam's Choice salsa jar which is 26 oz. The glass appears to be as thick as a normal mason jar for canning and the lid fits the standard size.
Can I sterilize empty canning jars in my oven? My dishwasher is out of service for a while. So instead of water boiling all my clean empty jars to sterilize them, can I sterilize my canning jars in the oven before filling the jars to can in my pressure canner? If so, what temperature and for how long? If not, why not?
By G A
Water boils at 210 degrees F. I bake my jars at 250 for about 10 minutes, but I do boil the lids. I have not had any problems using this method and think it may be better because of the higher temperature.
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It seems I read somewhere that you could sterilize canning jars in the oven. Does any one know about this? At what temperature and for how long?
Thanks for any help!
Shona from Ocoee, TN
I've heard that you can sterilize your canning jars in the dishwasher if you turn your water heater up to it's highest setting and wait about an hour until the water is super-hot. This is how I've always sterilized my canning jars when making jam and also my baby bottles... I'm sure it depends on how hot your water heater actually gets. I'd like to hear if others have used the same technique when canning veggies.
f course a really hot dishwasher is always nice for removing germs from dishes when someone in the house is sick with something contagious (like mono). But always remember to turn the hot water heater back down (especially if you have small children) so you won't scald yourself or waste energy.
* And as for your original question. I'd say about 350 degrees F for an hour would be MORE than enough time and temp to kill any lingering germs, but REMEMBER to NOT preheat the oven (as you normally do) because you don't want to "shock" the glass and have it break. Just put the jars in, THEN let the oven heat up and cool down with them in it. I've heard that it's best to but about an inch of water in and around the jars (while they sit in a baking pan) but I don't know why this is done. If it were me, I'd go on to a forum-based website that specializes in cooking and canning and ask this question. (09/05/2008)
I have sterilized canning jars in the oven. I wash and rinse them, then put them in the oven wet before I start preparing whatever food I'm going to process. I lay them on their sides on the rack. I set the oven for 275 - 300 degrees F and leave them in until I need to use them. I have also sterilized jars by running them through a dishwasher cycle and by putting them upside down in the canner rack over the hot water that I will be processing the jars in. (09/05/2008)
The oven method seems so much work. First, boiling water is 212 degrees F or 100 degrees C. So you would not need to bring it to 350 degrees.
I put a dutch kettle on the stove when I am canning, bring it to a boil with what ever pints are needed. I can in smaller amounts so a canner full can be easily cleaned to germ free. Boil water 10 minutes gets you sterilized jars. They must be immersed totally. You can do the same with a larger kettle/canner for quarts. You don't have to worry about burned fingers, exploding glass. Been there, done that.
I can pints for quantity needed now.
I usually have run the jars through the dishwasher in the first place, and use the added kettle water addition if they sat and cooled a few hours. A hot jar will process faster when you put hot items into it to pressure cooker or water bath. My dishwasher has a heat water cycle built right in so the temp is disinfecting to start with.
I do this all the time, and find it the most convenient for me. I wash the jars in hot soapy water, rinse, and place in a large pan. Put in 250 degree F oven for 20-30 minutes. I noticed on a canning site that the purists do not believe this method or the dishwasher method actually sterilizes the jars and are against it. But it has always worked for me without any problems.
I sterilize my canning jars in the dishwasher. After years of doing this, we have never had a problem. I just wash them in a regular cycle because I store them in an old box. BUT, you can just use the drying cycle if your machine gets hot enough. Thanks! (09/06/2008)
My husband taught me to use the oven for sterilizing jars about 27 years ago. We have not had any problems such as jars coming unsealed or food poisoning. I use 200 degrees for at least 20 minutes or until I am ready for the jars, and take them out of the oven one at a time as I fill and cap them. (09/06/2008)
I've been preserving for years using clean empty ordinary jam jars and their lids. Easiest method I've found is to fill them with boiling water including the lids, drain and put them in a low oven upside down to dry. Turn the oven off and leave them in there till you need to fill them. I've just put waxed paper rounds and put the original lids on and have always had a tight seal. EASY AND SIMPLE. I have NEVER had a problem with contamination. Some jars I have opened a year or so after filling and they have always been perfect. (09/06/2008)
I have always turned them upside down in a shallow roaster with about 1 inch of water allowing the steam to sterilize them.
Another note you can reuse baby jars that have the pop off lids for jellies. They will reseal at least one more time. (09/06/2008)
I found a book on canning that you can read online. The title is Complete Guide to Home Canning and Preserving and was published by USDA in 1999. (09/07/2008)