Canning Jars Facts and How to Get Them Ready

Canning Salsa – Canning Jars:
Facts, and How-to Get ’em Ready

“Special Thanks to Cajun Clark for his generosity in sharing this canning information.”

The typical jars used for home canning, according to WebLife.com, are named “Mason” after John L. Mason, the inventor of the first common canning jar.

Mason jars come in a variety of sizes, but most canning recipes use measurements for the pint and quart sizes. The half-pint jars are usually used for jellies or small spreads. Half-gallon sizes are unusual and more difficult to manage.

Some old canning jars have a blue color. This blue color makes them quite valuable. Using a colored jar can help preserve the food better by keeping less light from entering.

Mason jars have either small or wide-mouth openings. The wide-mouth jars are important for easy access if the food is frozen or more bulky. The most common jars used today are the metal screw-top variety, although you may also find the bail-wire-clamp in use.

It is said that the screw-top jars provide the most reliable seal. The metal lids have two pieces, a flat lid that covers the opening, and a screw-on band that holds the lid in place. The flat lid has a sealing compound around the edge and is only able to be used once for canning.

The metal screw-on band can be reused multiple times, as long as it is kept free from rust and is not bent.

Before canning with a jar, make sure that the rim is free from nicks or cracks. The rim surface of the jar must be in perfect shape in order to complete a solid seal. How to prepare your jars, lids and bands for canning use, according to Vicki:

“The old-fashioned way is to wash the jars, after that boil them to be sure they are sterile, and next use them while they are as hot as possible. There are easier modern techniques. You can run them through a cycle in your dishwasher, and when the dishwasher stops, they are ready to use instantly.”

Another method is to wash the jars in hot water, then microwave them for 6 minutes. They will be HOT to touch either of the three ways you choose. One caution in micro waving the jars, is that you need to do at least 7 quarts at one time, or 9 pints.

Additionally, if your jar has an imperfection that you can’t see, you might find out about it when it is heating in the microwave, when you hear an explosion! The microwave method is what you use when you are in a big hurry and can’t wait on the dishwasher!

Finally, your lids and bands have to be sterilized, too. All you do is place the desired number of lids and bands in a pot of boiling water until you are ready to put them on your jars. Then “fish” them out of the boiling water and place them on the jar, but only after the lip of the jar has been wiped clean.

If the lip has bits of food on it, the jar won’t properly seal; then you could be setting yourself up for some real problems down the road. Screw the band down as tight as you can, place in the canner, and follow your recipe’s canning directions.


Whichever method you use, water bath canning or pressure canning, when the jars are removed from the canner, let them sit until room temperature. Do not attempt to remove the band until the jars have set for at least 24-hours.

The jars should seal so that when you touch the center of the lid it won’t sink down any, or pop under the pressure of your finger.

In the event that your jars did not seal properly, refrigerate them, and use within a couple of days, or reprocess them utilizing a new lid and band.”

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