If you do a lot of canning you will want to reuse the jars next season. This is a guide about reusing canning jars.
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After I get done with my spaghetti sauce jars, I clean them and use them for canning. It saves money on buying mason jars. These are the spaghetti sauce jars that are the heavy canning jar type.
Make sure to test any jars you plan to reuse by sterilizing them in a canner and then inspect them carefully for cracks or chips. If they can withstand the heat, they will probably work fine for canning. Make sure you always use new lids. The rings that hold down the lids can be reused also.
Containers that are great to save and reuse are olive oil bottles. Just remove the labels and clean thoroughly. They work great for salad dressing or any liquid that you don't want to pour quickly. Be sure to save the the little plastic piece that impedes the flow of olive oil.
Quart sized jars make nice storage containers for many items, packs of Kool Aid, tea bags, spice packets, sweeteners, any little packets that get lost in the cupboard. Any clear plastic containers and jars can be useful to use for food items you buy in bulk (peanut butter, oil, honey, syrup, beans, or dried peas). The bulk bottles can be quite heavy. Just keep refilling the smaller containers as needed.
If your blender cap, gasket, and blades will fit onto a standard canning jar, you have your very own Magic Bullet, coffee grinder, and baby food grinder in one. I already had drinking glasses that have handles on them that look like canning jars, and regular canning jars can be used for drinking glasses too.
I have found that the pint size canning jars were the most useful for me, like for grinding and keeping fresh ground coffee beans (ask online how many seconds to grind beans for what type of coffee you want). I have used other sizes too. I have some of the small 1/2 cup ones that works well for my grandson's homemade baby food too. I also bought a box of 12 canning lids that twist, not expensive, and not the usual two part canning jar lids, and they are great for covering anything left over put into the refrigerator.
My Oster blenders have always been able to use canning jars for me. I don't know about the other types of blenders, so just check and see if they will fit. I'm pretty sure there are others that will fit too.
Be careful with using boiling water in blending in the canning jars. I didn't have any problems with it ever, but I thought it was best to put a towel over it before blending, just in case.
By kas2 from Grand Rapids, MI
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
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
For my lunches, I use wax paper to wrap my sandwiches in, but I often take soup, salad, jello, or puddings. For these I have several different sizes of mason jars. You can store these in the freezer, fridge, and they can be microwaved. After use, wash and return for tomorrow's lunch.
Also, all my baking supplies are in mason jars. You can go to garage sales or second hand shops. I have even been given them free from people who don't can anymore.
By Marymargaret from Scotland, Ontario
Take your favorite recipe, Zucchini bread, applesauce raisins, carrot, spice cake, friendship breads, and carrot cake. You can even use box mixes. All you need to do is make your recipe.
Oil and flour your wide mouth pint Mason jars and fill the jar 2/3 full with your recipe. Baking time is according to the recipe, the trick here is the second you take it out of the oven put on the dome and band, let cool completely (on occasion I have had to trim a tasty sliver of the top to get the dome on)
They are equal to 2 cupcakes. Figure out how many jars you will need to use for a cup cake with the recipe.
I have had them last almost a year in the cupboard. If I need frosting, I have the individual packages of cream cheese, powdered sugar and a couple drops of lemon juice.
By Babbie from Lemon Grove, CA
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Here are questions related to Reusing Canning Jars.
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
By KathyHanford (Guest Post)08/16/2008
I have always reused my canning jars providing they are in good shape. I also do that so called no-no of using just about any jar that the ring and seal will fit on. I figure if the company that originally filled and processed them didn't break them, I should be able to use them.
Rings I reuse until they get pretty rusty. As long as they are capable of holding the lid down, why spend the money to replace them?
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
By Sheilah Link10/14/2013
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
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 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. (09/05/2008)
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)