Vintage Canning Jars/Lids Questions

marytalkswithhorsesDecember 11, 2010

I have boxes of antique jars. Is there any reason I can't use them for canning?

Some of the jars are the bail-top/glass lid jars. With a new rubber gasket, is there any reason these jars shouldn't be used?

Thanks!

Mary

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The jars, if in good shape with no rim nicks or cracks of any kind can safely be used IF the 2 part lids will fit on them. Many of us use really old jars. Some of us use them only for BWB recipes rather than pressure canning but some will also use them in pressure canning as all you stand to lose is thejar of contents if they don't hold up to the pressure.

The lids are another problem. The bail top jars and gaskets haven't been 'officially' approved for decades now because of the questionable quality of the seals. Like many of the other old time methods of canning they fall into the Equipment and Methods No Longer Recommended category.

Only the 2 piece flats and bands are 'officially' approved. But some of us who have some of the old bail type jars do still use them for really high acid foods like pickles. Most just use them for dry storage items like dried beans and such. That type of use is approved.

Personally I wouldn't trust them in pressure canning or with low acid or border-line acid foods.

If you are just getting back into canning after several years it would pay to spend some time exploring the NCHFP website for all the latest guidelines and information. Start with the FAQs there.

Dave

    Bookmark   December 12, 2010 at 1:24PM
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marytalkswithhorses

Excellent - thank you!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2010 at 4:05PM
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pixie_lou

I have some of those wire bail types with the glass lids. And I still use them. There is one hardware store where I can still get the rubber rings!

Personally I find them similar in sealing process as the Weck jars. And since Weck's are approved for canning, I personally decided that these were safe for canning. The difference is the storage. With the Weck jars - you take off the clips for storage. Whereas with the old wire bail types, you left the wire bail up keeping the lid sealed. So now I release the wire bail before storage.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2010 at 7:42PM
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calliope(6)

I only use them when I am doing fruit jellies, and I process those bwb. As said, I also use them for dry storage of things like dry pasta, rice and beans. It's just not worth the risk.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 3:52PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

AFAIK, the recommendation (not prohibition) against bail jars is not primarily safety-related. It's a reliability issue.

It has to do with the fragility of old glass, which is more likely to crack during canning, and the somewhat weaker vacuum of some old jars with less precisely machined rims, so the risk of loss through oxidation, mold, spoilage, may be slightly higher (no numbers on that).

But as I see it, it's a personal decision whether you use these jars or not. I have several boxes but don't use them for canning because I think they're a pain. But I wouldn't feel a bit uncomfortable eating jams, jellies, peaches, any high-acid product canned in them.

I would never use these old jars for pressure canning. I don't trust them to hold up under the strain and I want the strongest seal possible.

Carol

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 7:03PM
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marytalkswithhorses

Excellent input! Thanks everybody!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 11:18AM
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