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Erin Huffstetler

Canning Supplies: What's Safe to Reuse?

By May 5, 2009

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Frugalites love to save money by reusing things, but sometimes that just isn't safe. Before you drag out your canning supplies for another season, find out what's safe to reuse and what needs to be replaced:

Photo © Flickr user Southern_Foodways_Alliance

May 6, 2009 at 1:33 am
(1) Michelle says:

I don’t understand why 10 year old jars should not be used. If they are not chipped or cracked, shouldn’t they be o.k.?

And isn’t it the seals that cannot be reused, but the rings can be reused?

May 6, 2009 at 1:37 am
(2) elyse says:

I would like to suggest canning meats. It is so nice to open up a jar of, say, chicken and throw together a quick meal. I have canned meatballs, too. It makes it cheaper because you can buy the meats when they are on sale. You don’t need a freezer and you have total control on the ingredients. I’ve made up several batches of chicken with Mexican, French spices, etc. Make sure you mark them! In the meatballs, I used parmesan cheese instead of bread so they are low carb! I precook the meatballs but the chicken you can raw pack to make it quicker. Just make sure you start with cold water so the chicken will cook all the way. Just google canning chicken. HTH someone!

May 6, 2009 at 1:40 am
(3) Elyse says:

Not sure about the ten years myself, but the old colored canning jars do have lead in them to make the colors. Yes, save the rings, don’t use the lids.
On another note, the old used lids can be used to drypack with a vacuum sealer. Go to youtube and put in foodsaver. There are lots of videos showing how to do this.

May 6, 2009 at 6:48 am
(4) tj says:

I use the same jars that my grandmother used back in the 1950′s.I have had no problems with any of them. before each use I check for cracks and chips.If I had to replace every 10 years I would have to quit canning since I can over 200 jars every year. Sometimes it is a stretch just to replace the lids. I am fortunate this year, my cousin gave me 7 dozen jars with lids, all new in boxes. He will get more returned, filled this year. I will keep reusing my heirlooms every year.

May 6, 2009 at 8:56 am
(5) Linda says:

I also question not using grocery jars. I realize you can’t hardly find glass jars at the grocery story any more but over the years, I have reused glass Mayonnaise jars and they seem to stand up just as well as canning jars that I’ve bought!

May 6, 2009 at 10:17 am
(6) mtviolet says:

I have reused canning jars that are over 70 years old. I would NEVER get rid of a jar just because it is 10 years old. Another way to get people to spend money, when they don’t need too. I agree that the colored jars shouldn’t be used, but just because a jar is older is no reason to throw it away.

May 6, 2009 at 10:44 am
(7) FrugalLivingGuide says:

The reason behind replacing jars every 10 years is that after being heated again and again during processing (particularly with pressure canning) the glass weakens and is no longer able to withstand high heat — making them much more likely to shatter or explode.

That said, replacing jars doesn’t mean you have to toss out the old ones. I just use them to store non-canned foods or to store things around the house.

May 6, 2009 at 10:47 am
(8) FrugalLivingGuide says:

Michelle, you’re correct: rings can be reused; lids can’t.

May 6, 2009 at 9:35 pm
(9) brenda says:

I have had jars break on me in my canner. Never the old ones just the newer ones. did’nt know the colored ones had lead. I had some that had a lip on them that the new rings would not tighten on. I have to rplace about 2 dozen every year anyway because the nephews don’t return them lol.

May 7, 2009 at 9:07 am
(10) Mandy Cat says:

A further comment about canning meats: meats, fish and non-acidic produce cannot be safely canned using the hot water bath method. You have to use pressure canning techniques for these. To make things more complicated, some combination pressure cooker/pressure canning gadgets cannot be used for pressure canning if you live more than 3,000 feet above sea level. Be sure to read the user manual that comes with your pressure cooker/canner to make sure it’s a dual-use cooker/canner for your particular situation.

April 2, 2011 at 11:39 am
(11) tornados says:

I realize you canít hardly find glass jars at the grocery story any more but over the years, I have reused glass Mayonnaise jars and they seem to stand up just as well as canning jars

September 11, 2013 at 11:15 am
(12) Michael says:

Can you reuse the old “rings” if they have a little rust inside the ring??

September 16, 2013 at 11:01 am
(13) frugalliving says:

I wouldn’t recommend it, since they’ll come into contact with the rim of the jar.

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