Canning questions
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  1. #1
    Registered User Peaches's Avatar
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    Default Canning questions

    Canning questions


    Recipe Description
    I have a couple of questions about canning food safely, and I'd appreciate any help you guys can give me.
    Preparation Steps:
    I canned some green beans yesterday. It was the first time I'd ever canned anything, and being in the UK, I don't have access to Ball jars or a pressure canner, so it was a challenge! I decided to pickle the beans because research told me that only high acid foods can be canned in a water bath. I used recycled (cleaned and sterilized) jam jars and I put up four jars. Three of the jars sealed (i.e. the lids don't pop when I press on them) and, according to Ball's website, if a jar doesn't seal within 24 hours it can be reprocessed immediately or placed in the fridge and eaten within a couple of weeks. So, my questions are:
    Level of Difficulty:
    Easy
    Time Needed:
    not long once you know what you're doing!
    Ingredients:
    green beans
    garlic
    salt
    white vinegar
    Serves:
    4 pints
    Directions:
    1. Am I okay to use recycled jam jars? There is a brand of jar here in the UK called Kilner, which is similar to Ball or other canning type jars, but they cost a fortune which, in my opinion, defeats the object of canning in the first place. Three of the jars have sealed and they were fully sterilized, but I read somewhere about lids weakening over time. Thoughts on this?

    2. As long as I'm pickling vegetables in vinegar, the water bath is fine and I'm not going to kill my family with botulism?

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Moderator nuisance26's Avatar
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    ~The jars and rings are re-usable but the lids are not. Well, at least not for hot processing. You can reuse the lids for fridge or freezer storage. Here in the US you can get a 12 pack of small mouth(jam jar sized)lids for about $2. You can get even better prices if you buy in bulk online or hit an end of season sale in a store.~

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    Registered User Peaches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuisance26 View Post
    ~The jars and rings are re-usable but the lids are not. Well, at least not for hot processing. You can reuse the lids for fridge or freezer storage. Here in the US you can get a 12 pack of small mouth(jam jar sized)lids for about $2. You can get even better prices if you buy in bulk online or hit an end of season sale in a store.~
    These jars don't have rings - they're just jars, like jam or jelly come in. Like this:



    Canning jars are real cheap in the U.S., but not here. You can either get preserving jars, which look like this:



    Or kilner jars:



    which, having been raised in the U.S., are what I think of when I think of canning. But six - SIX - of these jars will set you back around $15. That's highway robbery, in my opinion, hence, washing out my old jam/spaghetti sauce/mayonnaise jars to try canning.

    So, back to my original question, I'm afraid. (Sorry!) Can I use a recycled screwtop jar for canning?

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    Moderator ladytoysdream's Avatar
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    Hi
    I am no expert meaning that I have no formal training / education in canning / freezing food.
    But I do have quite a few years experience and have canned quite a few jars of food and currently have 2 freezers running.

    My best year for canning was when my kids were small and I canned over 600 jars of food in one canning season.

    I have used non canning jars which back then a lot of the mayonaise jars would be able to take a regular lid.
    There was also some jars that would accept a *63* size lid which is the next size smaller than a standard mouth opening. Not sure if they make them any longer but I do happen to have some here but currently do not have jars to fit them.

    The jar in your first picture I would say NO to. I am not sure where you would get lids and bands to use on them. I would not advise reusing the current lids. You probably could experiment and reuse them, but even if you get a seal, I am not sure how long it would hold. You would have to put the jars in the refrigerator and use up in a reasonable amount of time. So you would be taking a chance and results would not be favorable.


    The jar in your second picture also I would say NO to. You can store dry foods in that kind of jar.
    I have some old jars similiar to that , that are old canning jars, and they do take the rubber gaskest. I would not use them though, unless I was out of money, no other jars to use, and did not want to lose the produce. And it was something that was better canned versus frozen. Again, taking chances.

    Your last picture is the standard canning jars that are similiar to ours but a older style.

    Let me take a few pictures so you can see what I am working with here.

    I am able to buy used canning jars for .25 each or less at garage sales. If I don't have enough , I would buy new.
    Most of my canning lids I got for $ 1.50 for the standard mouth. I did pick up some this summer at a store for $ 1.00 each for a dozen lids in the box. I think I bought like 20 pkgs of them.

    I am not 100 % positive, but I believe all canning lids here are made by the same company no matter what the lids says for the maker. I believe Bernadin was bought out by Ball.

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    Moderator nuisance26's Avatar
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    ~Is there any kind of sealing compound inside the screw on lid? If there is sealing compound an it's indented then you can try to remove the dent by boiling the lid in baking soda water.
    Did you buy the jars as a canning supply or did jelly come in them? I can't find any source that approves reusing commercial jars as they aren't tempered for breakage like canning jars are.
    Hope someone from the UK can help you out.~

  7. #6
    Moderator ladytoysdream's Avatar
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    Okay, here is the photo album. You can enlarge these pics.
    These are a few of my canning jars. Recent ones that I have bought and they do need to be cleaned up.
    http://imageevent.com/ladytoysdream/jars?n=0



    These are standard canning jars that I would use anytime


    These are called wire bail jars. Uses a rubber. I would only use in a emergency.
    These are not advised to can in any longer. Rubber gaskets are hard to find.


    The jelly jar is not advised to reuse either.
    I would but only because I would water bath the jam and give to my sons as a gift. Jam would be kept in refrigerator untill I gave it to them. I would use the current lid as I don't have anything else to fit it. It is advised not to do this.


    A different view of the mouths of the jars.


    The standard and wide mouth lids that we use here.
    Not reuseable unless using for freezing or dry storage.
    The smallest 63 lid is hard to find.

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    Registered User Peaches's Avatar
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    I appreciate everyone's help. Now I'm confused. Clearly people have been making jams, jellies, pickles and chutneys in this country for a very long time. What kind of jars do they use? I'm clueless now. I really am. If the jars I have (recycled commercial jars) aren't safe to use, and proper canning jars are so exorbitant, what do these people can in? I've lived in this country for 15 years, and every day there is still something that makes me go "hmmmm...?"

    Can any members who live in the UK help me out? What do I can all my garden fruits and veggies in?!

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    Registered User Peaches's Avatar
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    I just googled "canning jars+UK" and a link through a gardening forum took me to this site. I can't believe the cost! £17.99 (that's $27) for 12 small jars. I'm really disappointed. It looks like I'm just going to have to throw everything in the freezer. So much for making chutneys, jams and pickles for Christmas this year.

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    Registered User Juju's Avatar
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    Peaches the glass jar you used can be use to can the for. We here in america normally don't used them because they are poorly made here and break very easy when heated. But the lids will have to go that you used they are not safe. If you don't have proper lid where you live then you need to contact some one here in america and send some money and let them but the lids for you. I hope this has helped you some.

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    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    I know grainlady will come on here and have a fit but when I saw that first jar I just had to post.........I KNOW they are not rec. for canning!! BUT.......

    I know three people that use these all the time. They save ANY jar that has that 'funny little lip' on it........can in it, water bath them, and if they seal (they ping just like a reg. canning jar).........they go in the pantry....if not, they go in the refer. and are eaten quickly. They are still alive.......haven't been sick......and maybe I had best say YET....but I have eaten at their house and lived. (don't know if I ate anything out of the jars.)

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    I would agree that you could find someone in the US and Have them ship the jars to you. They would be a little on the expensive side with shipping but a whole lot cheaper than the ones there in the UK. You could also have a bunch of lids sent to you from your friend also and those are alot cheaper. same with a pressure cooker. It may be more expensive in the beginning but the end results would alot cheaper since the only things you have to rebuy are the sealing lids.

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    Registered User Josephhgoins's Avatar
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    Frugal I am right there with you. I use them as well, but I usually put things in them that are pretty tolerant (i.e. saurkraut) or I put jams and jellys in them and seal with parafin or beeswax.

    I have a great Aunt who is in her upper 90's and only, yes only used reclaimed jars with the original lids. She is still heatly as a horse.

    With that said, no where can you read anything by the people with nice degrees and testing labs that says reusing one time use jars is ok.

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    Registered User Incognito's Avatar
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    Peaches, I've been canning food for 40 years, for in-home use and at the Farmer's Market.
    I've used the glass canning jars in various sizes, with the ring and glass lid and rubber ring. I've used the metal rings and snap metal lids.

    I've also used jam jars (Canada) and their own lids. What I do is:
    - wash the jars well in soapy water, rinse in hot water, sterilize with boiling water.
    - further sterilize the jars in the oven on a cookie sheet at 250 degrees for about 10 minutes, including a cream jug for pouring the jam into jars.
    - I scrub the lids well, then place in a pot with a fork, spoons and tongs, add hot water to cover, boil for 5 minutes. This softens the rubber layer in the lid so it fits perfectly onto the glass rim of the jar.

    While this is all happening, I've got the jam cooking up in the big pot, pectin added, sugar added for the 1 minute boil.
    Then I remove the jars from the oven, use tongs to remove them and fill them with jam with the cream jug (I use a little square of $ store rubber matting as a pot holder to keep my fingers from getting burnt).
    Then I wet a paper towel, and wring it out, and wipe off the glass jar rim. After that, I remove the lids from the heat, remove them one by one, wet my finger in the water and rub my finger around the rubber seal inside the lid, rub the rim of the jar, and screw them down on each jar. I tighten them just till they're tight, not overtight. Then I process them all in the hot-water canning bath for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the jars. Remove, and let sit on a tea towel, spaced a few inches apart to cool; listen for the pings.

    I've used this method for jams, jellies, syrups, juices, dill pickles, other pickles. I've never had a jar that didn't seal. I've never had a jar that spoiled. Not one of them has ever cracked or broken in the canner. The colour and flavour stayed good. The canneries used them to can their products, so they were good enough then. Now of course there is a debate that glass deteriorates over time, but I take a good look at the jars, and rims before I use them. No chips, no cracks. And the lid has to be perfect, not rusty or scratched or dented.

    On the other hand, I've had occasional problems with the purchased snap lids because some types can't be tightened too much or they will buckle in the canner. Other times, some of them are defective because the rubber sealant wasn't applied properly. Once in a while, the jar rings have defects, dents or warps, due to storage and handling bumps. And these rings and lids are getting more expensive all the time.

    One thing that really needs to be taken into consideration is the kind of food you are canning. And the recipe you are using.
    Canning beans is always a risky venture, due to low acid, possibly botulism. Same thing with chicken or fish. I've canned chicken and fish, with the 7 hour hot-water bath process; no problems. But I wouldn't risk green beans.

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