jars for home canning
Posted: 05 August 2008 03:07 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’m currently enjoying a bumper crop from the garden and orchard.  I have so much I’m fearful of having it rot on the ground.  I’ve found several folks interested in having the excess but it seems only if my wife and I do all the harvesting.  Any way,  I have come close to running out of jars for canning and simply cannot afford to buy more cases of Ball and Mason jars.  Tomorrow I need to process another 5 1/2 gal of blueberries I picked on Sunday and a buschel of Damsen plums also Sunday as well as an equal amount of peaches.  Has anyone tried to can jams, jellies and preserves in regular jars, non mason jars.  They seem sturday enough and as I remove the seals after the fruit jam has set for a day or two and reseal with parafin I can see no danger in using groceriy store jars from Smuckers and Welches which are plentiful and cheap Anyone done it before??

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Posted: 06 August 2008 12:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi Chig,

RE: Jam (preserves)
My Mum used to preserve her fruit jams in regular sterilised recycled screw-top jars and did exactly as you describe with the paraffin wax on top. As long as the jars are sterilised properly it shouldn’t be an issue for items with high sugar content.

You may want to google to check the amount of time you should (or shouldn’t!) leave between filling and adding the parafin wax though as I would have thought the sooner the better after cooling to get the seal on to avoid contamination. I have read that there is now some evidence to suggest that paraffin may not give a perfect seal and the powers that be don’t recommend it anymore…but then it did okay for our mothers and grandmothers!

In later years when they became available Mum would use a a product called “JamSeal”  or now called “Kleerview” from Australia’s best known preserving company Fowlers Vacola. They are really great and simple to use - each sheet is very thin plastic (like cellophane) square which you place on top of the jar after filling with hot jam and pop a rubber band around the top. As the contents cool and settle, the square sticks shrinks and forms an airtight seal. They cost about AU $2.50 per pack of 24 including 24 rubber bands and jar labels, you can get them on ebay or http://www.bakeandbrew.com.au are very helpful and will probably ship direct to you. Personally if you can source them I think they are a less messy option than the wax!

RE: Preserved fruit:
If you intend to cook then pack and can (jar) the peaches and plums in the hot cooking liquid it shouldn’t be an issue to use the re-cycled jars either but I wouldn’t use these if you intend doing the cold pack and cook in jar method of preserving.


Hope this helps! Enjoy that wonderful harvest!

P.S.My neighbour makes all his delicious strawberry and apricot jams with pre-loved jam jars too - he just buys some plastic screwtop lids from the local hardware store to fit.

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Posted: 07 August 2008 06:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Chig - please search the blog for canning info - this has been discussed there (check the internet too).  Wax is no longer suggested as a safe method of canning in the US (not sure about other countries).  I personally wouldn’t trust canning in anything other than approved jars with brand new seals (odorless and tasteless botulism is very deadly).  Have you considered freezing instead of canning?  You can get really good vacuum freezer bags for just pennies.

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