Canning Jars:Which One Should I Use?

Ah….the joy of Canning Jars.. They are country pretty, shabby chic, trendy, old and so darn useful…How many gabillions of ways are there to use canning jars? Around The Parsonage we use them for canning, storing, decorating, drinking, holding things like buttons, silverware or straws, gift giving, serving, painting, mixing, and on and on and on. We keep a large supply of them at all times. In all sizes. Our church’s thrift store keeps me well supplied for more and more canning jars! I can’t believe that people would get rid of them, but hey, if it means I get them cheap…yay me!

Just yesterday we were in the garage, where I have piles and totes and bags and boxes and shelves full of jars and Jeremy asked me nicely, “So, do you think we have enough jars?”

“Yes,” I replied. “Yes we do.”

“Except for jelly jars. Those are my favorite.” I added with a cutesy smile attached to it.

He didn’t reply.

So…..canning season is here. For us canning (and freezing) season starts with strawberry jam and lasts throughout the summer into October, usually ending with some kind of fruit butter.  Each year has changed as to what we  preserve..things the girls like and don’t like, a retry on pickles, things we canned one year but didn’t really eat so we didn’t do it again, new recipes we find throughout the year. For some crazy reason I didn’t do tomatoes last year and regretted it all winter. They are def on the docket for this summer.

There are many types and sizes of canning jars. I’m listing a go-to guide when choosing which size to use.

There are two main types of jars: Wide Mouth and Regular Mouth.

Wide Mouths are great for large items like peaches, pears, tomatoes, strings beans, carrots, whole pickles.

Regular Mouths are great for items like sauces, jams, jellies, juices, pickle slices.

I have a 60/40 preference for wide mouths over regular mouths but the end of the day it really doesn’t matter a whole lot to me. Wide mouths do tend to be easier to get food in and out of.

Jar Sizes:

Gallon: I don’t use this size to actually preserve food in, though I do keep dry beans and rice in them. I also use them for serving things like S’more ingredients at picnics. They are also great for dog treats, cookies, coffee/tea packets, popcorn, dry goods.

Half Gallon:  I don’t use this size either, but according to Ball’s website these are great for juices. They are also great for dry goods.

Quart: Likely the most popular for home canners who rely on their preserved goods to feed their family. Use this size for whole/halved tomatoes, peaches, pears, apples, vegetables.

Quarter Pint, Half Pint, Pint, Pint and a Half : These sizes are perfect for smaller portions of fruit or veggies for either snack purposes or a small family, spaghetti sauces, ketchup, dressings, veggies. Jams, jellies and butters work great in this size too.

Jelly: (comes in three different sizes) These are my favorite. They, obviously, are perfect for jellies, jams, chutneys, small offerings of butter, salsas. I love the look of the quilted jars.  The size is perfect for gift giving.

Gift jars: Jars are gettin’ fancy.  I love this shortened jar from Ball for gift giving. There are decorative lids,  copper bands, green and purple and blue jars…where does it end????

There are also baby food jars, spice jars, drinking jars-oh my!

I have a thing for canning jars.

Ball has a fantastic chart for Choosing the Right Jar Size I highly recommend. It is worth a looksey.

Click here to read the history of Canning Jars from Pick Your Own‘s website.

Check out our library of Canning Jar uses!

One comment

  1. Good article Chrystal. I now that we are empty nesters my favorite size are the pint jars. With just 2 of us at home we really don’t need a whole quart of say green beans. HAppy canning season everyone!!!


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