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Use old canning jars for decoration

By on November 14, 2010

canning jars


I need help with old glass-top canning jars. I was given two boxes of glass-top canning jars. They have the orange rubber seal and the metal that is around and on top of the jar. How do you use these? I wanted to make a small batch of spaghetti sauce. My sister-in-law got them for me from a tag sale. — Amy, Connecticut


I wouldn’t use them for canning. Those glass lid, rubber seal/gasket and wire/bale jars aren’t endorsed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture anymore (not since late 1980s) and are considered unsafe. The USDA recommends Kerr/Ball/Mason jars with rings and lids. You can find replacement rubber seals at places such as and, but I’d use your jars for decoration, crafts or short-term food storage. The lid/ring method makes it easy to see whether a jar is properly sealed. Also, your old jars might not hold up to canning. Many have cracks on the rims from use, and even if it looks OK before canning, it can break during canning. If the rim cracks while processing, air can get in, and you don’t have any definitive way to know whether the jars have a good seal. Although some people will argue that you can grab the jar by the lid and know that it’s sealed well, it’s not worth the risk of jar breakage (think: exploding jars of tomato sauce) and compromising food safety.


I am having some problems with mold and mildew in my shower. We are a “green” household, and I am looking for a solution minus the toxic chemicals. Can you give me some help with this? Thanks so much. — Melva, Indiana


Use tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract. Combine 2 teaspoons tea tree oil and 2 cups water in a spray bottle, and spray your shower. Or combine 20 drops grapefruit seed extract and 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Do not rinse. Some of my readers use MoldZyme Mold & Mildew Stain Remover, Molderizer Organic Mold and Mildew Remover and H2Orange2. I haven’t used any of these products, but readers have reported they have used them with good results.


I got your recipe for homemade ketchup out of my newspaper. What is the shelf life of homemade ketchup? I made it, and it tasted just like store-bought ketchup. Thanks for your help. I enjoy your column. — Connie C., e-mail


The shelf life is two weeks (refrigerated). If you don’t use it all, freeze it.


I’ve been using the oxygen-type cleaners as an additive to my laundry, but I am wondering if there is anything else I could use that might work well but with less cost. One friend says she uses table salt, and another said he uses baking soda. Any suggestions? Thank you. — Martha A., e-mail


In addition to using salt or baking soda, try vinegar, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, Fels Naptha, Zote or 20 Mule Team Borax. All are good laundry boosters. You might consider using Charlie’s Soap ( for your laundry instead of your regular laundry detergent, too

photo by goldberg

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