FAQs | Mason Jars & Canning Best Practices

Our FAQs about Mason jars and Canning best practices are gathered here on this page. We have answered many canning questions over the years and all of the most common answers are documented here.

Mason Jars

Yes! Canning jars are freezer safe and ideal for food storage. However, it would help if you took precautions to avoid breakage. Make sure you have the correct glass jar for the job!

Mason jars are available in different varieties. Basic glass jars are not safe to microwave. Newer jars have a microwave-safe symbol on them, which makes them ideal. It’s advisable to check for the symbol before buying.

Glass is susceptible to breakage when exposed to radical temperature changes. Do not place a frozen jar in the microwave. Do not use the microwave to thaw.

Microwave canning jars only for a couple of minutes. Use it for pre-cooked meals like soups, pre-cooked pasta, etc., which require only a few minutes to heat.

You can find canning jars in most grocery stores. For the convenience of those who prefer not to carry a heavy load, you may order online and have it delivered directly to their doorstep with premier packaging that provides protection for glass jars. To order, go to www.allamericancanningjars.com

Our range of mason jars includes branded mason jars such as Ball , Kerr, and Golden Harvest. Canning lids are available in a variety of mouth sizes, as well as high-quality rings and bands. In addition, we accept bulk orders for your storage needs. 

The most effective way to sterilize jars before they’re used for food preservation is to use hot water.

Things you’ll need:

  • A large pot or a canner
  • Canning tongs
  • Canning rack or a cake cooling rack

Steps:

  1. Position the canning rack into the large pot and place all your jars on the rack. Add water to the pot, ensuring that the water is an inch or two above the jars.
  2. Set the flame on high and bring the water to a rolling boil. After that, start timing. If you’re at sea level, boil the jars for 10 mins. For every 1000 ft. elevation, add a minute to the boiling time.
  3. Remove the jars with canning tongs.
  4. You can use this process right before you want to use your mason jars to preserve food.
     

It is essential to anticipate the amount of storage space you’ll require before deciding what to buy for your mason jar storage needs.

The best way to store mason jars is to get a cardboard box or a wooden box with dividers. The divider will ensure that your canning jars don’t rattle with each other.

Ensure that you clean and dry your jars, lids, and rings thoroughly before storing them.
Place the cardboard box near the ground. The cardboard might not be able to bear the weight and might be damaged in the process of being picked up.

You can also invest in a canning shelf or a storage cabinet for better storage solutions.

Mason glass jars are ideal for food storage because they come with lids and rings that make them airtight during canning. Mason jar lids are constructed with a rubber gasket that fits perfectly over the rim of the jar and is held in place with the ring.

However, it is crucial to follow the proper process of Canning. If you are canning at home, ensure that the lid is in place and pressed down. Make sure there is no leakage.

Food storage in Mason jars is done by processing the jar and sealing it with high-quality lids and bands. It can be difficult to break the vacuum seal with your bare hands.

So, how to open a Mason jar that is stuck? 

Opening a stuck jar can be tricky. There are a few ways you can do it. First, ensure that the glass jar is at room temperature. It’s recommended that you do not use these methods on frozen jars. 

a. Use Rubber Gloves - Rubber gloves will give you a better grip on the lid. Try this method before you attempt any other. Most people can open their canning jars easily using rubberized gloves. If you don’t have rubber gloves, you can use rubber bands too. 

b. Use Hot Water - Run hot water to heat the center of the lid. It will help the lid expand, and will make it easier for you to open it.

c. Heat the Canning Jar Ring with a Hairdryer - You can also use a hairdryer to heat the Ball jar ring. A minute of hot air will be enough. Direct the hot air toward the ring and not the glass. The heat will loosen the grip of the ring on the jar.

d. Place it in a warm water bath - Place the jar upside down in a warm water bath for 10 minutes. It will help the lid expand and remove any sticky matter preventing it from opening.

Modern-day Canning jars are dishwasher safe since they are abrasion resistant and can resist high temperatures.

Ensure that the Ball jars are at room temperature before you place them in the dishwasher, or the chances of breakage increase due to thermal shock.

Do not place metal Mason jar lids in the dishwasher. Metal is susceptible to rusting and should be washed with care and dried quickly.

You can wash plastic Mason jar lids in the dishwasher, but they are not ideal for canning. If your glass jar is old and cracked, do not use it for canning and avoid placing it in the dishwasher. You can always reuse Mason jars for home decor and other purposes.

Yes, you can recycle Mason glass jars at the local recycling depot! However, ensure that you separate the glass jars from other recyclable materials. You should also remove the mason jar accessories and recycle them separately.

If your old Ball Mason jar is safe for reuse, we recommend you to use these for DIY projects! You can easily get rid of the smell and contribute to a sustainable environment by reusing your jars.

Canning jars aren’t just for preserving food. If you love mason jars, they are brilliant for Home Decor and other craft projects!

Food preserved with Home Canning methods, if properly processed, will last for about 12-18 months. It is recommended that you consume it within a year. However, take care of the following things:

a) Ensure that the food stored in the canning jars is processed properly before being sealed. Follow the guidelines given by the National Center for Home Food Preservation for proper safety practices while canning food at home.

b) Check the seal before consuming the food stored in a Mason jar. In the event that the seal is broken, do not use the content. 

If you’re storing fresh produce or fruit jars for breakfast, these will last you for about 6-7 days.

High-acid foods like pickles or food that uses sugar as a preservative will last longer. Ensure that you choose a cool and dry place where the temperature is stable while using glass jars for food storage.

Pro Tip: Mark your jars with the date you’ve sealed them. Keep rotating your frozen jars so that you don’t forget about the food you’ve stored for later use.

Yes, it is safe to boil Mason jars. It is a common method to sterilize glass jars. There are a few things that you need to take care of:

  1. Do not boil frozen canning jars. Thermal shock can cause breakage.
  2. Do not use vintage Mason jars.
  3. Do not pour boiling water into Mason jars if the jar is cold.
  4. It is safer to place your glass jar in a boiling water Canner and allow it to boil along with the water. The gradual temperature change will ensure the safety of your glass jar.
  5. Do not boil Mason jar seals and metal rings. Boiling it will ruin the rubber gasket on the inside of the lid, which will prevent you from vacuum-sealing the jars.

Mason jar sizes differ, ranging from 2 oz to 128 oz.

  • Smallest Canning Jar - 2 oz
  • Quarter-Pint Jar - 4 oz
  • Half-Pint Jar - 8 oz
  • Three-Quarters Pint Jar -12 oz
  • Pint Jar -16 oz
  • Pint and a Half Jars - 24 oz
  • Quart Jar - 32 oz
  • Half-Gallon Jar - 64 oz
  • Gallon Jar - 128 oz

For an in-depth understanding of the types of jars used for different purposes, visit Mason Jar Sizes - The Ultimate Guide

Whether your jar is a regular mouth jar or a wide-mouth Mason jar, the number of measuring cups it can hold will differ. 

 

Regular Mouth Mason Jar

Size Ounces (Cups)

Quarter Pint Jar - 4 oz - (0.5)

Half Pint Jar - 8 oz - (1)

Three-Quarters Pint Jar - 12 oz - (1.5)

Pint Jar - 16 oz - (2)

Quart Jar - 32 oz - (4)

 

_____________________________

 

Wide Mouth Mason Jar

Size Ounces (Cups)

Half Pint Jar - 8 oz - (1)

Pint Jar - 16 oz - (2)

Pint and a Half Jar - 24 oz - (2.5) 

Quart Jar - 32 oz - (4) 

Half Gallon Jar - 64 oz - (8) 

Visit Mason Jar Sizes - The Ultimate Guide for an in-depth look at the types of jars used for different purposes.

There are a lot of reasons Canning jars crack. The most common ones are:

  1. Temperature Shock: Placing hot food in cold jars, placing a hot jar directly in the freezer, or placing a cold jar in hot water can break your jars.
  2. Old Jars: Using old jars can make them more susceptible to breakage. You can use Old Jars for DIY home decor projects.
  3. Overstuffing: Filling glass jars with food up to the brim, not leaving space for it to expand when it freezes, can lead to breakage.
  4. Overtightening jar lids: Jar lids should always be fingertip tight. Overtightening them can break your Mason jar.
  5. High Pressure: High pressure or keeping the jars too close can cause them to crack.
  6. Commercial jars: Using commercial food jars instead of Mason jars designed specifically for canning. Commercial jars are not made of high-quality glass suitable for canning.

According to Michigan State University Extension and NCHFP, canning jars can be used for about 10 years if handled properly.

According to NCHFP, there are several ways that you can make sure your jar is sealed properly:

  • At eye level, notice the lid. If there’s a depression or if it is concave, your jar is sealed properly. If the glass jar lid appears flat or bulging, you’ll have to reseal the jar.

  • Put your finger in the center of the Mason jar lid. If the lid springs up when you let go, the jar isn't sealed properly.

  • With a teaspoon, tap the lid. The sound of a ringing canning jar indicates an airtight container. If the jar isn’t sealed, it will result in a dull sound.

Note: Please check the seal only after 12-24 hours of processing.

In the case of failure to seal a jar, remove the lid and check it for nicks. If needed, replace the jar. Take a brand-new lid, wash it, prepare it for canning, and reprocess the food to be canned.

Allow the glass jar to cool and check for the seal before refrigerating.

Note: Reprocess food within 24 hours. If you don’t wish to reprocess it, you can freeze food and consume it within 2-3 days.

Mason Jar Lids and Rings

Canning Jar Lids come either as a single piece or in two pieces. Major Mason jar brands recommend using the two-piece lids for home canning. It allows air to escape during the pressure canning or boiling water process.

Also, it allows you to reuse the Mason jar bands while only changing the lids every time you process food for home canning.

Glass jar lids have a gasket lining their rim that ensures a proper seal. The rubber gasket is ideal for single use, and hence, you should use a canning lid only once.

If you fail to seal your Mason jar properly, you need to replace the canning lid before reprocessing food.

People who opt for frequent food storage in jars often buy canning lids in bulk. Unused Ball Mason jar lids and bands have a shelf life of at least five years.

However, storing them in a cool and dry place is crucial.

A few years ago, it was recommended to wash metal lids in hot water to sterilize them before home canning. 

However, Jarden Home Brands, the company that manufactures Ball Canning lids and jars, mentioned that it is unnecessary to boil the lids. 

Wash it with soapy water before using them and ensure that the lids and rings are at room temperature.

Mason jar lids and rings often rust if they aren’t stored in a dry environment. If your jar with metal lids is rusted, it is recommended that you don’t use them for canning. 

However, you can always use it for your DIY mason jar lid crafts or freeze jams and jellies.  

If your canning jar rings or bands are rusted from the outside, you can reuse them after cleaning.

Take a soft cloth and soak it in white vinegar. Rub the cloth vigorously to remove the rust from the lids and rings. 

Alternatively, you can soak the lids and rings in white vinegar for a few hours. Then, take a cloth and clean the Mason jar lids and rings.

When using two-piece lids like Ball or Kerr Mason jar lids, ensure that your ring is not overtightened. Instead, it should just be fingertip tight.  

Do not use jar tighteners or use excessive force. If overtightened, it can cause the lids to buckle or deform when canning.

During canning, air trapped inside the Mason jar (between the top of the food and the bottom of the lid) is forced out of the jar. 

Canning lids buckle if the jar ring is overtightened. The air gets trapped and cannot escape from the jar due to the tight ring. It will then force its way out, deforming or buckling the lid. 

You will have to change the lid and reprocess the food to can it again.

Yes, Mason jar rings are used only during the process of canning and while the jar is cooling. They are used to keep the lid in place.

Once the glass jar has cooled off and the seal is properly in place, you can remove the ring and store it.

Yes, Ball Mason jar lids are dishwasher safe. However, glass jars with metal lids often rust due to extensive exposure to humidity in the dishwasher.

You should wash the lids and rings with soapy water at room temperature and dry them quickly with a clean cloth.

Our goal is to document as many FAQs as possible, and we keep in constant contact with our customers. If you ever have a question, please contact us info@allamericancanningjars.com