Which canning jar is best?
If you have an abundance of fruits and vegetables you want to preserve as long as possible, you’re on the right track to saving money on food in the long run. However, you’ll need a suitable container to store your goods until you’re ready to eat or use them.
Canning jars are designed to keep food fresh and can even serve as decorations. The best jars, such as the Sewanta Ball Wide-Mouth 32-Ounce Mason Canning Jars, have a stylish design, a large capacity and an airtight seal.
What to know before you buy a canning jar
Water bath canning vs. pressure canning
Using a water bath or pressure canning method, you can store your goods in a canning jar.
- Water bath canning involves sealing food in a jar and boiling it. Once it’s removed from the hot water, hot air is released, creating an airtight seal.
- Pressure canning can heat a jar higher than a water bath can. However, pressure canning requires a pot-like appliance with a ventilation rack and a pressure gauge.
Low-acid foods vs. highly acidic foods
Highly acidic foods such as pickles, jams, jellies and tomatoes can be heated using water bath canning. However, for preserving low-acid foods such as non-pickled vegetables, soups and stocks, you must use pressure canning, as they require higher temperatures to kill bacteria.
Regular-mouth vs. wide-mouth jars
You can store your food in a regular-mouth jar that tapers at the top, giving it a smaller opening than a wide-mouth jar. Some prefer the sleek design of regular-mouth jars, but wide-mouth jars are easier to fill or empty and are suitable for keeping in the freezer as there’s enough room for the liquid from the food to settle after it expands. It’s also easier to clean a wide-mouth jar.
What to look for in a quality canning jar
You can find canning jars in three sizes: 8-ounce, 16-ounce and 32-ounce.
- 8-ounce jars are suitable for small batches of jams or sauces.
- 16-ounce jars are ideal for fruits, vegetables and foods with a thicker consistency, such as relish and pie filling.
- 32-ounce jars are what you need to store large batches of salsa, jellies and small fruits and vegetables.
If you’re looking to store just a few batches of sauce, soup or a small number of vegetables and fruits, you can save money by getting a basic set with three to six jars.
If you want to do a lot of canning, look for a set with at least 10 jars. Some packs come with different-sized jars, so you can decide which one you want to use once you’ve figured out what you want to store.
A glass jar without a lid won’t do you any good, so make sure your set comes with the same number of tops as jars, if not more. Also, bands are a must for your lids, helping ensure an airtight seal.
An airtight seal is essential as it prevents air from entering, preserving your food longer and creating a leakproof fit. That way, even if the jar gets knocked over in the refrigerator, you don’t have to worry about cleaning up a mess.
How much you can expect to spend on a canning jar
You can find a cheap set of canning jars for $10-$20. For jars with a more durable build and elegant look, expect to spend $20-$40.
Canning jar FAQ
Are canning jars ready for use right out of the box?
A. Yes, but sterilize them before you use them — they may be contaminated with bacteria that can spoil your food.
Can I fill a canning jar to the top?
A. It’s not advisable, as it doesn’t allow for a tight seal. For best results, try to leave at least half an inch of space between the lid and the top of the food.
What’s the best canning jar to buy?
Top canning jar
What you need to know: They have an airtight seal and are excellent for holding low-acid foods.
What you’ll love: They have embossed measurement markings and work great for pickling, preserving or fermenting fruits and vegetables for up to 18 months. Their vintage look complements certain decor styles and they’re made with durable heat-tempered glass, so they’re microwave and dishwasher-safe.
What you should consider: Although the bands are reusable, the lids are intended for single use only, and there are a few reports of minor flaws in the glass.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top canning jar for the money
What you need to know: These are crafted with high-quality materials, giving them a durable build and stylish design.
What you’ll love: They have a diamond pattern and clear glass design that’s excellent for display, and the wide mouth makes them easy to fill and empty. The metal lids provide an airtight, leakproof fit, and they’re lined with plastisol to prevent rust.
What you should consider: They aren’t dishwasher- or microwave-safe, and the diamond pattern is crafted inside, making it difficult to scrape away food residue while cleaning them.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: These canning jars have a stylish design and make excellent wedding favors or decorations.
What you’ll love: They have corrosion-resistant lids, and they use a time-tested airtight sealing compound for an airtight seal. The glass has a non-porous surface, so residue and odors don’t linger, and they’re safe for keeping in the freezer.
What you should consider: They’re more delicate than other canning jars, and some customers complained about some lids not fully sealing.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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