Reusing Mason Jars for Canning

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

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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.

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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.

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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 ;)

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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.

Good luck,


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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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?

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In This Article
A Woman Canning
Reusing Canning Jars
Food and Recipes CanningAugust 31, 2006
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