Can I reuse jars from other products as canning jars?
I get this question quite often. Now for the debate.... many canners want to know if you can reuse jars
from store bought products. You know the ones from jelly, pickle, or mayonnaise. There are differing opinions on this. Some say absolutely not. Some say it is ok
for a water bath only.
Here are my cautions with this.
My opinion is.... If you have standard preserving jars available they should always your first choice. Kerr, Mason, Jarden or Ball are some brands available. Golden Harvest is another brand available and are usually a good price. If they are labeled one of these they should work.
One brand I'd suggest you stay away from is the Mainstay brand. I don't have any personal experience with them but I've seen many many comments about them being poor quality. A lot of breakage happens with these jars.
Classico Jars they are nice and thick, they seem just as heavy if not heavier than mason jars... but the company says, No, do not reuse these for home canning. Bummer... but this is what they say on their website. Just saying....
Can I reuse the Classico® jar for home canning?
No. A coating is applied at the glass plant to reduce scratching and scuffing. If scratched, the jar becomes weaker at this point and can more easily break. This would increase the risk of the jar breaking when used for canning. Also, the lighter weight of our current jar could make it unsafe for home canning. Classico FAQ
Be careful of the very old vintage or antique canning jars. You know the ones with the bubbles in the glass, tinted a lovely blue or purple. These might be better off used as decorations or storing dry items.
Old jars are fine, in fact are often sturdier than the newest ones you can buy now. But the really old ones use caution. Personally I don't trust the very old pretty ones in my pressure canner.
There are several variety of jars. First let's talk about the opening. There are two common sizes: wide and narrow mouth.
Wide mouth jars have openings about 3 inches in diameter. Regular mouth or standard mouth are about 2 3/8 inch diameter.
Quart, pint and half pints are the sizes available and used most commonly for canning.
Half gallon jars can only be used for canning high acid fruit juices. There are no safe recommendations for other foods.
There are gallon jars sold, but I don't know of anything that can be safely canned in them. They make great storage jars!
Pretty decorative jelly jars are available if you are making jellies or jams. These are nice especially if you are giving them as gifts.
Here is an image of some of my orange marmelade. It is hard to see in the image but there are pretty embossed flowers and fruits on these. The problem with these... you have to find them used. I don't know of any company making these anymore. They are my favorite! So pretty. Check e-bay.
Currently the jam and jelly jars being made are usually a quilted pattern... which is very nice too but not nearly as pretty as the embossed variety. :)
Question: I bought brand new Mason quart jars for canning cherries. Some of them have semi circle hair line looking cracks at the bottom of the jar. Are they low quality? I already canned several quarts of cherries with these jars. I hoped to be able to reuse these jars for many years.
As long as your jars are 'mason' jars they should be good to use for many years with normal use. I am sure that some jars are better quality that others.
I think I know what you mean when you see a "hairline crack". Unless the jar is leaking (this would obviously mean that it is indeed a crack) these lines are most likely a seam or something from when the jar was made.
Personally I don't have a preference. I buy most of my jars used so they are a mix of different brand names. I do notice that older jars tend to be stronger and have a thicker glass. At least that is my impression.