Ball jars in the freezer

sooey(7MA)September 9, 2008

Is it safe to use Ball wide mouth, quart jars in the freezer? I called their their 1-800 # and was told that the jars that work best in the freezer are the ones with the straight jelly jars. I am trying to use up my overflow of tomatoes by making both sun dried tomatoes and pasta sauce. I plan to get into the whole canning process next season. But, for now, as far as the sauce goes, I hope to freeze what I have. Have any of you had problems with breakage when using Ball jars in the freezer? Thank you


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There is no problem using the wide mouth jars in the freezer. If the contents expands it will spill over the top of the jar. I leave 1-1/2 inch head-space for expansion. If you were to use standard mouth the contents would not make it over the shoulder and the jar may break. I like to use plastic wrap and a rubber band at least until it is frozen solid. Then replace with a regular top. Walmart sells the replaceable plastic top which work great.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 3:13PM
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Hi Shirley, thank you for responding to my question. The wide mouth quart jars that I have do have a slight shoulder to them. Do you think it would help to avoid the expansion/breaking issue by freezing them on a slight slant? I hope to freeze each jar with about 3 1/2 cups of sauce. That will allow enough head room and be well below the shoulders of the jar. I had not thought of using plastic wrap with a rubber band trick...very good idea, thanks. I'll also look for the plastic tops at Walmart.

Thanks again.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 3:36PM
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I was thinking of the wide mouth pint jars. They are totally straight sided, maybe even a slight outward slant. The wide mouth quarts do have the shoulder. Try the 3/4ths full. I'm sure it will work. The sauce will be solid but not as solid as plain water would be if you were to freeze it. If you do the rubber-band thing, you won't have to place a lid on top. I freeze things in plastic tubs that have no lids and do the rubber-band thing. It works.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 4:01PM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

Sooey, I have used a quart size narrow mouth to freeze orange juice (I have a couple of juice orange trees). I only used one since I want them out for canning, and I was using recycled Gatorade bottles for the orange juice. So from and experiment of one, it worked great.

For tomatoes I freeze directly without peeling and using zip lock bags. I have also made tomato sauce using the seasonings I wanted (italian style, mexican salsa, indian tomato curry) and putting the sauce in zip lock bags (both quarts and gallon0 after waiting for the sauce to cool down.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 4:15PM
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I've also used the ball wide mouth jars and occasionally a regular sized quart jar to freeze home pressed apple cider. I had one break last year, but I've been doing it for years. Most of the old boxes of jars say "canning and freezing" right on them.

I do leave a couple of inches of headspace, incidentally.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 5:35PM
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What I do with pasta sauce is freeze it in plastic containers and when frozen remove and put in freezer bags. Much easier to store and you do not have to worry about spillage or breakage.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 5:57PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)


Last year I froze a bunch of chicken soup in 12-ounce standard-mouth jars. Even though they had a definite shoulder and the soup was fairly thick, there was no problem with breakage because of expansion at the neck.

But I DID lose a couple of jars to thermal shock---the bottoms freezing faster than the tops. They were in my deep freeze, sitting on one of the shelves that has cooling tubes in it, and two of them had their bottoms + about an inch shorn off quite neatly when I took 'em out.

So I've gone back to plastic containers for the deep freeze.

Have occasionally frozen a jar or two of stuff in the ordinary fridge freezer and not had a problem.

Hope this helps!


    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 7:34PM
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Thanks, All! I'll give it a try. I'm trying to get back into using glass over plastic as much as I am able. Not an easy task but I am trying. Thank you all for responding.


    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 2:08PM
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melva02(z7 VA)

I broke some jars of Shirley's veg cocktail in the freezer. I had already bought stuff to make it when I realized I had never bought the weights to convert my dial gauge canner, so I decided to freeze it for a week. Sad lesson.

Do you guys think it would be safe to keep the juice from the broken jars? They seem to have clean cracks, they're not shattered, but since the juice is a little pulpy I don't want to filter it. What would you do?

If you'd keep it, would it be safer/easier to get it out of the glass before or after thawing? I think I could remove the glass from the outside while they're still frozen, if it's cracked enough.

I was wondering how it would have room to expand once it had already started hardening under the shoulders, but I just assumed you could freeze in any container with the right headspace. Duh.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 11:29PM
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zeuspaul(9b SoCal)

I freeze only in glass. The wide mouth quarts have given me trouble even when I leave quite a bit of head space. I have given up on the wide mouth quarts.

The wide mouth pints are not a problem.

For larger quantities I use the Pyrex 6 and 11 cup rectangular glass storage containers. They are space efficient in the freezer because of their shape.


Here is a link that might be useful: Pyrex 11 cup freezer safe glass

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 2:59AM
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I like the Ball plastic containers for freezing. They have a screw on top. They come in 8 oz, 16 oz and 32 oz. Not too costly either.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 7:19AM
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melva02(z7 VA)

Yeah, I will not be freezing in quart jars again.

But would you try to save the juice from the broken jars? I think it's only the two regular-mouth but it might be more of them, I haven't looked through all 8.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 1:09PM
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I wouldn't try to save it. just a teeny tiny sliver of glass could lodge in your or your family's mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, intestines, or rectum & cause all kinds of problems. To me it wouldn't be worth taking the chance.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 9:31PM
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pattypan(z6b CT)

i have a freezer full of ball pint and quart jars. , both wide and regular mouth. always leave plenty of headroom. the regular pint jars are for milk, filled to the top of the gripper lines. semi-solids like roasted tomatoes aren't a problem. for tomato juice i freeze in wide mouth qts.,half full, then add more cold juice. i also freeze everything cold from the fridge, then to the fridge freezer, which is not as cold as the chest freezer. then i thaw stepwise in reverse. all this may help reduce breakage. sometimes i'll thaw jars in a container of water filled to equal the jar's contents, in the fridge, or at room temp if i need it that day. what are disappointing are the new wide mouth 24 oz. jars, which the ball website does not label as freezer safe !

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 7:59AM
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CA Kate

Patty: this is good to know since I'm like you and use jars to freeze many things.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 5:13PM
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Patty the box for the pint and a half (24 ounce) jars is labeled as freezer safe. I've been freezing soup in them and so far no troubles.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:16PM
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pattypan(z6b CT)

thanks jackie, i'll try them out. they are the perfect size for us.

westell, i also freeze solid stuff like soup greens and partly dried tomatoes in classico sauce jars. i've never had one break.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 10:00PM
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CA Kate

:-) Me too!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 5:08PM
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Have to agree with prior post: we like the Ball plastic jars for freezing.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 7:03AM
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pattypan(z6b CT)

dear canology, interesting moniker, since this reply is about the study of plastics, and it doesn't look good !

first,excuse me for injecting some heaviness into a fairly lighthearted post.

i'll agree that plastic containers are more convenient. but that is not the whole picture. there are several or more studies that point in a frightening direction. i won't be surprised if it's learned that the obesity epidemic is caused not just by diet and lack of exercise, but by what our parents and grandparents used in daily life. there's no hiding from all the "un-natural" thousands of compounds made, but i choose not to put my food in them, or microwave or cook with them . of course, how glass is made is probably not the same as 100 years ago. but that's digging too deeply even for me !

here's one paper to refer to. plastic or glass ? your choice.

Mohan Manikkam, Rebecca Tracey, Carlos Guerrero-Bosagna, Michael K. Skinner. Plastics Derived Endocrine Disruptors (BPA, DEHP and DBP) Induce Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Obesity, Reproductive Disease and Sperm Epimutations. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (1): e55387 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055387

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 8:12AM
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