[pin_dis][/pin_dis]I love canning! There’s nothing better than seeing rows and rows of home canned goodies. I use canning jars for nearly everything, not just canning. I use them for lacto-fermenting, storing leftovers, storing dehydrated foods, as drinking glasses and more. I also collect antique blue glass canning jars. I just love them! Because we use them all the time, I love saving money on canning jars. I can’t stand having to go buy new ones at the store. They are expensive and nice canning jars can be found much cheaper if you just keep your eyes open for them!
Where I Find Them
1. Garage Sales – I live in a rural area, so I often run into jars at garage sales. These can usually be had very cheaply. Just last weekend I bought over 4 boxes of jars for $20. These boxes contained well over 60 jars (mostly jelly jars which is what we really needed), rings & lids (brand new still in boxes). Plus the boxes also contained 4 antique canning jars with zinc lids, which I collect, so I was really excited to see!
2. Family & Friends – Check with family and friends who use to can to see if they still have jars they’re no longer using. I got quite a few this way from my Mom (plus a lot of other canning stuff), when I first started canning. I’d also post a notice at church or ask around church to see if anyone had any to offer. Most of the time you can get these jars for free or very little cost.
3. Freecycle – Post a notice on your local Freecycle group. I got a lot of jars this way for free…all I had to do was go pick them up. Because of gas prices, I took in consideration how many jars a person was offering and how far I had to drive to get them. If they were pretty close, I’d go get whatever they had to offer, but if they were farther away, I’d just go get larger quantities.
4. Recycle Jars – I often reuse mayonnaise jars and other commercial jars that my rings & lids fit on. I only use them in water bath canning, as I’m afraid they will shatter in the pressure canner. My Mom has done this for years and it works really well. This is how I get a lot of my jelly-sized jars and also my hot sauce jars. You can also usually get a bunch of this type jars by asking friends and family to collect them for you. I use these all the time for lact0-fermenting, refrigerator pickling, making gift mixes and food storage.
5. Thrift Stores & Flea Markets – I occasionally can find canning jars at our local thrift stores & flea market. They cost a little more generally than all the above ways, but are still cheaper than buying new.
6. Clearance – Watch out for canning jars on clearance at Wal-Mart toward the end of the canning season. Last year, I picked up quite a few boxes, rings & lids for pretty cheap. I found all the canning stuff on clearance there around the end of the summer and September & October. I grabbed what I thought I could use and what I could afford. I got jars, pectin, rings, lids, a big water bath canner, jelly bags, and a couple of other things then while on clearance. Wal-mart has also started making their own brand of canning jars which are about $1 cheaper than the name brand. I will be really watching at clearance time for those, as I suspect they will be marked down considerably.
Some Safety Concerns:
Any time you re-use jars or rings; you should do the following…
1. Check the jar opening for chips. Do not use any canning jars that have chips on the openings, as they may not for a good seal and the food can spoil. Save these jars for storage or for gifty items like mixes and such.
2. Check the jars for hairline crack and such. If they have any cracks, don’t use them for canning as they may explode while canning or again, let the food spoil.
3. Check your rings for rust. If they have a lot of rust, don’t reuse them. A little rust is fine, but if they’re heavily rusted, toss them.
4. NEVER reuse lids! They may not reseal properly causing food to spoil. Lids are cheap…use a new one every time. You can reuse the lids for applications like leftover storage, lacto-fermenting, gift mixes, etc.
5. Whenever you open a jar, smell the food and check for any strange textures or colors. If you have any questions about food in a jar, it’s safer for you family to toss the contents than get food poisoning from it.
Well I hope this helps some of y’all find some cheap and useable jars for your canning needs!
What are some of your favorite ways to save money on household items? Leave a comment and tell me!
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