Jars and Lids for Canning

Generally speaking, it is recommended to use only jars and lids that are designed and produced for canning. However, food may also be canned in metal containers. These metal containers may be used only once. Cans do require specialized sealing equipment some of which may be available in food processing centers.

These recommended canning jars are regular or wide-mouthed Mason-type.  They canningare threaded, home-canning jars with self-sealing lids. Sizes include ½ pint, pint, 1½ pint, quart, and ½ gallon. The usual jar mouth opening is about 2-3/8 inches, while wide-mouth jars have openings of about 3 inches.

Canning Lids

Specalized lids are necessary for canning. Canning lids are prepared with a rubber seal. Prior to cooking the jar, the seal should be softened in hot water. After cooking, the ring should only be finger tightened to prevent breaking the seal.

The USDA says that half-gallon jars may be used for canning juices with a high acid content. Jelly jars are available in 8 and 12 ounce sizes and are decorative. Mason jars may be reused several times with care of handling.  They do require new lids each time. When used properly, jar lid seals and vacuums are excellent and then jar breakage is rare.

It is not recommended to use commercial pint-size and quart-size mayonnaise or salad dressing jars even with new two-piece lids for canning acid foods. If you do, you should expect seal failures and jar breakage. These jars have a narrow sealing surfaces and are not tempered like Mason jars.

Even small scratches in these glass jars can cause cracking and breakage while processing jars in a canner. These mayonnaise-type jars are especially not recommended for use with foods that require pressure canner processing. Other types of commercial jars with mouths that cannot be sealed even with two-piece canning lids are not recommended for the use of canning any sort of food at home.