Molded glass jar used in home canning to preserve food
The Mason jar, named after American tinsmith John Landis Mason, who patented it in 1858, is a molded glassjar used in home canning to preserve food. The jar's mouth has a screw thread on its outer perimeter to accept a metal ring or "band". The band, when screwed down, presses a separate stamped steel disc-shaped lid against the jar's rim. An integral rubber ring on the underside of the lid creates a hermetic seal. The bands and lids usually come with new jars, but they are also sold separately. While the bands are reusable, the lids are intended for single-use when canning. Glass jars and metal lids are still commonly used in home canning while they have been largely supplanted by other methods for commercial canning (such as tin cans and plastic containers).
Mason jars are also called:
- Ball jars: in reference to the Ball Corporation, an early and prolific manufacturer of glass canning jars
- Fruit jars: for a common content
- Glass canning jars: a generic term reflecting their material and purpose
- Kilner jars: the major UK manufacturer
- Lightning fruit jars: another type of jar with a bail closure, were not as common as the screw-thread version, but they were popular for home canning in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
In the United States, standard-size Mason jars are made of soda-lime glass and come in two shapes: regular mouth, 2+3⁄8 in (60 mm) inner and 2+3⁄4 in (70 mm) outer diameter; and wide mouth, 3 in (76 mm) inner and 3+3⁄8 in (86 mm) outer diameter, versions. They are produced in a variety of volumes, including cup (half-pint), pint, quart, and half-gallon.
Main article: Home canning
In home canning, food is packed into the Mason jar, leaving some empty "head space" between the level of food and the top of the jar. The lid is placed on top of the jar with the integral rubber seal resting on the rim. A band is screwed loosely over the lid, allowing air and steam to escape. The jar is heat sterilized in boiling water or steam and the lid is secured. The jar is then allowed to cool to room temperature.
The cooling of the contents creates a vacuum in the head space, pulling the lid into tight contact with the jar rim to create a hermetic seal. Once cooled, the band is removed to prevent residual water between the jar threads and the lid from rusting the band. If the jar seal is properly formed, internal vacuum will keep the lid tightly on the jar. Most metal lids used today are slightly domed to serve as a seal status indicator. The vacuum in a properly sealed Mason jar pulls the lid down to create a concave-shaped dome. An improper or failed seal or microbial growth will cause the dome to pop upward.
French chef Nicolas Appert invented the method of preserving food by enclosing it in sealed containers. Among the earliest glass jars used for home canning were wax sealers, named in reference to the sealing wax that was poured into a channel around the lip to secure a tin lid. This process, which was complicated and error-prone, became popular in the late 1830s or early 1840s and was still used to seal fruit jars until about 1890. The wax sealing process was largely the only one available until other sealing methods were developed. Competitors including jars with stoppers, spring wires, wire bails, cantilevered wires, and thumbscrews all proved less successful.
In 1858, a Vineland, New Jersey tinsmith named John Landis Mason (1832–1902) invented and patented a screw threaded glass jar or bottle that became known as the Mason jar (U.S. Patent No. 22,186.) From 1857, when it was first patented, to the present, Mason jars have had hundreds of variations in shape and cap design. After it was discovered that Mason's patent had expired, many other manufacturers produced glass jars for home canning using the Mason-style jar. "Patent Nov 30th 1858", signifying the date of Mason's patent, was embossed on thousands of jars, which were made in many shapes, sizes, and colors well into the 1900s. Since they were made in such quantity and used for such long periods, many of them have survived to the present day.
The initial form of closure for the glass canning jar was a zinc screw-on cap, the precursor to today's screw-on lids. It usually had a milk-glass liner, but some of the earliest lids may have had transparent glass liners. The cap screwed down onto a rubber ring on the shoulder of the jar, not the lip. Between 1860 and 1900, many other patents were issued for Mason jar improvements and closures. The more esoteric closures were quickly abandoned, and thus can fetch high prices in today's antique market. In 1903 Alexander Kerr introduced lids with a permanent rubber seal. His improved design in 1915 used the modern design. Jars are closed with two-piece metal lids that seal on the rim. The jar lid has a rubber or rubber-like sealing surface and is held in place by a separate metal band.
Mason sold the patents for the Mason jar, to the Sheet Metal Screw Company of Lewis R. Boyd in 1859. Boyd had patented a white "milk-glass" insert for the zinc screw lids to theoretically lessen the chances that food would be tainted by contact with the metal lid. In 1871, Mason partnered with Boyd in the Consolidated Fruit Jar Company which licensed Mason jar patents to numerous glass makers. Mason applied for and received a United States trademark, which was registered on May 23, 1871, as U.S. Trademark no. 276. Letters of patent issued to Mason on May 10, 1870, for improvements to his fruit-canning jar was determined to be invalid as a result of a patent infringement case brought before the Southern District of New York on June 11, 1874. The court acknowledged that Mason had invented the jar in 1859, but he did not apply for a patent for an improved version of the fruit jar until 1868. In the meantime, several others had patented designs and Mason had known these jars were being produced and sold. The court ruled that Mason's delay in protecting his patent indicated he had abandoned his invention in the intervening years between 1859 and 1868 and had forfeited his patent. The court's decision allowed other manufacturers to patent, produce, and sell glass jars for canning.
Variations of the Mason jar include the "Improved Mason" which sealed on a shoulder above the thread instead of below and the Atlas Strong Shoulder which had a reinforced shoulder area as the original design was subject to cracks from the stress at the sealing point. A new type of Mason jar known as a "bead" jar was introduced circa 1910 - 1915. These continuous screw-thread jars were designed with a bead between the screw threads and the shoulder as a sealing surface. The Ball "Perfect Mason" jar, one of the most common jars of this style, was introduced circa 1913 and produced until the mid-20th century. It had several variations, including a square-shaped jar.
The Ball Corporation, which once dominated the market as the largest domestic manufacturer of home-canning jars, spun off its home-canning business in 1993. Ball Corporation was the largest domestic manufacturer of home canning jars. In 1939 the company manufactured 54% of all the canning jars made in the US. Ball ceased production of canning jars when its subsidiary, Alltrista, became a separate company in 1993. Alltrista was renamed Jarden Corporation in 2001.
The decline in Mason jar manufacturing in North America is due to a sharp decline in popularity of home canning in the 1950s and 1960s with the rise of supermarket canned foods, and the consolidation of the US canning jar industry.
Older styles of home canning jars are "Not Recommended" by the U.S.-based National Center for Home Food Preservation, the United States Department of Agriculture, and University Extension Services. These include: those using a zinc cap and a rubber jar ring, and those using a glass lid, wire bail, and rubber sealing ring. These provide "no definitive way to determine if a vacuum seal is formed".
On August 15, 2017, the Registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed National Mason Jar Day to be observed annually as a National Holiday on November 30th, beginning in 2017. This holiday was created by Unboxing the Bizarre. 
Antique canning jars are often sold through antique stores and auction sites such as eBay. The value of a jar is related to its age, rarity, color, and condition. A jar's age and rarity can be determined by the color, shape, mold and production marks of the glass, and the jar's closure. Mason jars usually have a proprietary brand embossed on the jar. Early jars embossed with "Mason's Patent November 28th 1858" that date from the late 1850s to early 1860s closely match the illustrations of Mason's 1858 patents. Mouth-blown (or hand-blown) jars embossed with a version of "Mason's Patent November 28th 1858" were made about 1857 to 1908 and often had a ground lip as well. By 1908 semi-automatic machines manufactured the majority of these jars. Machine-made Mason jars that originated around 1909 have a sealing surface on a bead ledge below the threads. This type of jar dominated the market by the mid to late 1910s. Manufacturers continued to make jars with the beaded seal after the mid-twentieth century. Ball's "Ideal" canning jar, which first appeared around 1915 and was discontinued in 1962, is one of the company's best-known jars and is popular among collectors.
Colored jars were considered better for canning because the color blocked some light from reaching the food, which helps to retain flavor and nutritional value longer. Most antique jars that are not colorless are aqua or "Ball blue," a blue-green shade that was named for the Ball Corporation, a prevalent jar manufacturer. Most mouth-blown Mason jars embossed with some type of 1858 patent date were produced in aqua glass. The Ball brand of Mason jars were manufactured in several colors, but the most common color was the distinctive "Ball blue," which the Ball Corporation used in its jars from about 1910 to 1930. Mason jars with this particular color of glass may be attributed to Ball, since "virtually no other bottle or jar was made in that color." More rarely, jars will turn up in amber, and occasionally in darker shades of green. Rarer still are cobalt blue, black, and milk-glass jars. Some unscrupulous dealers will irradiate jars to bring out colors not original to the jar.
- Kilner jar – a UK design having glass lids with metal rings, still produced under that trademark.
- Weck jar – a German product similar to the Kilner but with two metal springs to fasten the glass lid, produced a little later than the Mason
- Fowler's Vacola jar – Australian product, an improved system using a single spring fastening and a metal lid.
- ^ abcdefgBill Lindsey. "Fruit/Canning Jar Closures". Society for Historical Archaeology. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
- ^"John Landis Mason". National Inventors Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
- ^Edmund F. Ball (1960). From Fruit Jars to Satellites: The Story of Ball Brothers Company, Incorporated. New York: Necomen Society in North America. p. 8.
- ^Ball, pp. 12–13.
- ^Food Bottles, The Society for Historical Archaeology
- ^Bill Lindsey. "Bottle Finishes & Closures, Part III: Types of Bottle Closures". Society for Historical Archaeology. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
- ^ abA PRIMER ON FRUIT JARS, Dave Hinson, Bottles and Extras, The Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors, 1996
- ^"The Consolidated Fruit Jar Company vs. James T. Wright. In Equity" in Samuel Blatchford (1875). Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Second Circuit: 1845–1887. 12. Auburn, NY: Derby and Miller. pp. 149–56. OCLC 68813078. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
- ^William F. Brantley (1975). A Collector's Guide to Ball Jars. Muncie, IN: Rosemary Humbert Martin. p. 55. OCLC 3104299.
- ^Frederic A. Birmingham (1980). Ball Corporation: The First Century. Indianapolis, IN: Curtis Publishing Company. pp. 139–40. ISBN .
- ^"Alltrista Corporation History". Funding Universe. Retrieved 2016-03-25."Company History". Jarden Corporation. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
- ^Patti Griffith, University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service, in her reference to the use of older versions of Mason jar closures, explains, "Jars requiring a zinc cap and jar rubber or jars requiring a glass lid, wire bail, and jar rubber have not been recommended since 1989 because there is no definitive way to determine if a vacuum seal is formed". See Patti Griffith. "The Time is Ripe for Summer Melons"(PDF). Canner's Corner: Enjoying Summer's Bounty. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service. MP-119-2 (2). Retrieved 2016-03-31.
- ^"NATIONAL MASON JAR DAY – November 30". National Day Calendar. October 6, 2017.
- ^Brantley, pp. 39–40.
- "Alltrista Corporation History". Funding Universe. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
- Ball, Edmund F. (1960). From Fruit Jars to Satellites: The Story of Ball Brothers Company, Incorporated. New York: Necomen Society in North America.
- Bandell, Brian (2014-03-13). "Company with $7B in sales now calls Boca Raton home". South Florida Business Journal. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
- Birmingham, Frederic A. (1980). Ball Corporation: The First Century. Indianapolis, IN: Curtis Publishing Company. ISBN .
- Blatchford, Samuel (1875). Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Second Circuit: 1845–1887. 12. Auburn, NY: Derby and Miller. pp. 149–56. OCLC 68813078. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
- "Brands". Jarden Corporation. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
- Brantley, William F. (1975). A Collector's Guide to Ball Jars. Muncie, IN: Rosemary Humbert Martin. OCLC 3104299.
- "Company History". Jarden Corporation. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
- Griffith, Patti. "The Time is Ripe for Summer Melons"(PDF). Canner's Corner: Enjoying Summer's Bounty. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service. MP119-2 (2). Retrieved 2016-03-31.
- "Golden Harvest Canning Jars–History and Background". Jars for Canning. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
- Lindsey, Bill. "Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website". Society for Historical Archaeology. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
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Canning in Vintage Jars
When I first started becoming truly enthralled with canning, I began to look beyond the standard Mason/Ball/Kerr jars available. I discovered the Weck jars that are typically used in Europe, but was put off a bit by the price tag and the fact that they are often hard to actually get (I did break down and order a half dozen from Lehman’s, but with shipping, they cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 a jar. That is far too much for the volume of canning I typically do).
However, when I took a close look at the way in which the Weck jars seal, I realized that they are practically identical to the vintage bailing wire canning jars that were popular in this country through most of the 20th century. The glass lids on the Weck jars seal via a rubber gasket. Through the hot water process, everything is held in place by a couple of metal clips. The glass lids on the vintage jars seal via a rubber gasket.
During canning, the lid is held in place by the metal wire that locks up over the lid. The thing that makes the vintage jars even better than the Weck jars is that you have an easy way to keep the jar closed after you’ve opened it, via the bailing wire. When you use the Weck jars, you have to keep replacing the metal clips (or get a set of their plastic lids).
So once I figured out that the jars I already had (and had gotten for free when helping a friend of a friend clean out her mother’s basement) would do the exact same job as the spendy ones, I got down to work. I ordered a set of rubber gaskets from Lehman’s for just over three bucks (they’re the only ones who still seem to carry them) and made a canning plan.
I did a mixed berry jam, because I’ve been endeavoring to clean out my freezer, in preparation for the coming onslaught of produce and still had some frozen fruit from last summer. I supplemented my frozen strawberries and raspberries with some fresh (but cheap and decidedly not local) strawberries (I made up for it the following week by hand-picking 13 pounds of local strawberries and making the best jam I’ve ever tasted. That recipe is coming later this week).
When canning with these jars, most of the steps are the same as with the screw-top jars. You clean your jars, lids and seals well, prepare your jam and fill the jars. Once the jars are filled, you wipe the tops clean and the apply the rubber seals and top with the glass lids (of course, making sure that your vintage jars and lids are without chips, cracks or other damage).
Like when you can with conventional mason jars, you need to leave some space for the air to escape. To do this, you don’t lock the wire down all the way. You close it so that it’s closed, but pointing up, not down (if this doesn’t make sense, just get an old bailing wire jar and start opening and closing it. You’ll soon notice the two closure positions).
Process jars as usual. When time has elapsed, remove the jars from the water, being careful not to tip them (these jars are mostly glass, which means that if you get the jam on the top of the lid, you’ll see it, and if you’re a bit of a perfectionist, the residue that will stick to the lid will vex you). At this point, grab a tea towel and lock the wires into the tightest position with the wire pointed downwards. This presses the rubber gasket more firmly into contact with the rim of the jar and ensures a good seal.
The next day, when the jars are all cool, unlock the bailing wire. The lid should not move in the slightest. Test your seal by picking the jar up by the glass lid (don’t go crazy, just lift an inch or two above the countertop). It should hold fast. If it doesn’t, your seal is no good. If it holds, leave the wire unlocked and store as you would any other sealed jar.
Mixed Berry Jam
- 8 cups chopped mixed berries if frozen, let defrost thoroughly with their juice
- 5 cups sugar
- 1 vanilla bean split and scraped
- 2 lemons zested and juiced
- 2 packets liquid pectin
- Pour the fruit into a large, wide pot (give yourself at least 8-9 quarts). Add sugar, vanilla bean seeds and vanilla been pod and stir to combine.
- Once, the sugar has begun to dissolve, set the pot over high heat and bring to boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium-high and cook at a gentle bubble for 15-20 minutes, until the jam begins to look syrupy.
- Bring up to a rolling boil and add the lemon juice, zest and pectin. Let boil for an additional five minutes and check the set with either the saucer test or the sheet test.
- Ladle into prepared jars, clean rims, apply lids and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes (remember that you don’t start timing until the water has reached a boil).
Bail Lid Jars
Bail lid jars have a two-part wire clasp attached to the top of them. Newer-style French Le Parfait, English Kilner and Italian Fido jars operate on this principle. Older-style bail jars, made in the first half of the 1900s, were known as “lightning” jars or “toggle closure.”
The use of bail-type closure jars for shelf-stable home canning and preserving has been recommended against for more than 25 years now. They are recommended only for dry or refrigerated storage.
For the record, we are going to cover the theory of how they work, but this is not an endorsement of them for home canning. Healthycanning.com often uses them for refrigerator pickles and dry storage, but never for actual canning.
How bail-type jars work
To operate a bail-type jar, you put your food in the jar, and then put a rubber ring on top of the jar, and then a glass lid on top of the rubber ring. (Note that a fresh rubber ring is required each time.) To hold the lid in place, use the clip hinge at the front to clamp.
The directions that were commonly issued were to clamp the lid half-way shut. This would hold the lid in place, but in a way that the lid was still just loose enough to allow air to vent out of the jar.
After processing, you removed the jars from the pot, and pressed the front clip hinge down the final step. It would lock into place. This held down the glass lid very firmly on top of the hot and supple rubber seal. As the jar cooled, a seal was supposed to take effect.
Note that research done in 1935 contradicted the standard advice that had been given out. (Maclinn, Walter Arnold. Some internal physical conditions in glass containers of food during thermal treatment. Master thesis. University of Massachusetts. 1935.)
“Preliminary data indicate the possibility that glass jars equipped with wire clamps may be processed (sterilized) while closed (clamps down). This is contrary to present custom, but if possible will effect a considerable saving of time, greater convenience and possible superior quality in the resulting food. A review of the literature shows a minimum of research on glass containers and especially on the method of processing metal clamped, glass covered jars.
From extension specialists in home preservation has come word of various instances of processing glass jars with covers sealed tightly (clamps down) with good success. The object of this research project is to ascertain the pressure conditions within a jar of food during processing with a view of determining the safety and practicability of subjecting the fully sealed jar to the final process or heat treatment. Of course, the usual procedure followed at present is to only partially seal the jar, the seal being completed after processing.” (Page 2)
The results of the subsequent research suggested that processing was best done with the lid fully clamped. The researcher presented the following findings (Page 26):
- Approximately the same vacuum was attained regardless of whether the jars were partly or fully sealed before the heat treatment;
- In fully sealed jars of water processed in either the pressure [canner] or water bath there was less breakage of covers than in the partially sealed jars subjected to the same treatments.
- Vent losses were very much greater in partially sealed than in fully sealed jars of water processed in the pressure cooker.
- There was no difference in palatability or keeping quality of foods canned either in partially or in fully sealed jars. Because of higher liquid levels, the latter were the more attractive.
- There does not seem to be any increased element of physical danger in processing glass jars of food that are fully sealed. The method [ed: fully sealing bail-type jars before processing] is given tentative approval.
[To be clear: this is all just of historical interest only, and does not reflect current home canning advice.]
Today, both Kilner and Le Parfait, which continue to sell bail-type jars, call for the jar clamp to be fully locked during processing of the jar. When the jar has cooled after canning and the seal formed, the bail is simply unlocked and left unlocked.
Ball’s directions for using it’s Ideal bail-type jars. Ball Blue Book, edition 0, 1930. Page 3
(Further reading: how antique lightning jars worked.)
Bail jars in storage
A popular clip-type bail jar brand made in England is Kilner. The manufacturer advises on how they think you should check that you have a seal after processing, and how you should store the jars afterward:
To check the seal of a clip top Kilner jar; undo the clip and lift the Kilner jar by the lid only. If an airtight seal has formed the lid will not move, now fasten clip and store.”  Making your first preserve: Step 5: Checking the airtight seal has formed. Accessed March 2015 at https://www.kilnerjar.co.uk/making-your-first-preserve
A popular French brand is Le Parfait. Le Parfait advises to check the processed jars in a similar fashion, but, they advise instead to leave the bail unclipped:
Let the jars or terrines sit for a few hours until they are completely cooled, then check that each one is perfectly airtight by unfastening the clamp. The lid must stay sealed to the jar and resist to pressure…. In order to keep your preserves several months, … do not re-clamp the closing system.” How to make your own preserves? Step 7: Check and store the jars. https://www.leparfait.com/how-to-make-your-own-preserves [Ed: Caution: do not use any of the canning procedures or techniques described on the Le Parfait web site]
(Caution: we can’t recommend following Le Parfait or Kilner advised processing methods or recipes.)
Opening a bail-type jar
To open a sealed bail-type jar, you pull on a rubber tab that is on the rubber ring.
Bail jars are still great for either refrigerated or dry storage. Condesign / Pixabay.com / 2016 / CC0 1.0
Why bail-type jars are currently recommended against
The University of Wyoming Extension Service says,
Jars requiring a zinc cap and jar rubber or jars requiring a glass lid, wire bail, and jar rubber have not been recommended since 1989 because there is no definitive way to determine if a vacuum seal is formed.”  Griffith, Patti. The time is ripe for summer melons. University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service. From series “Canner’s Corner: Enjoying Summer’s Bounty.” Issue Two. MP-119-2. Accessed March 2015
Old jars and closures have a nostalgic appeal many people like; however, they are not considered the best type of jars and closures for home canning. Jars requiring a zinc cap and jar rubber or jars requiring a glass lid, wire bail, and jar rubber have not been recommended since 1989. There is no definitive way to determine if a vacuum seal has formed. This is one reason why the two-piece vacuum cap is superior to older style closures.” https://www.freshpreserving.com/tools/faqs
Weck, a major German preserving jar manufacturer, says they won’t provide a mechanical bail system on purpose to ensure that bad jars will unseal:
Is there any other reason why WECK does not produce home-canning jars with mechanical sealing devices? Yes, and it’s a reason of utmost importance: Your personal safety. In case the contents of a jar should spoil for any reason the gases formed by spoilage inside the jar must be free to push up the lid so that it lies loosely on top of the jar. This warning signal is so clear and strikingly plain that it is best suited to protect you and your family from the dangers of consuming spoiled canned food unknowingly. For this extremely important reason of personal safety, a reason which is still more important than the practical ones mentioned above, WECK has consistently refused to produce jars with mechanical wire bail seals for home-canning purposes. In case of spoilage, these mechanical seals cannot produce the strikingly clear warning signal of the loose lid.  Weck canning notes. Accessed March 2015.
The US taxman doesn’t even officially recognize these jars any more, for import purposes, as “preserving jars”:
Glass articles with wire bails and glass or porcelain caps or lids were considered not classifiable as ‘preserving jars of glass” as their physical characteristics do not allow them to be recommended for home canning use.”  Department of the Treasury Customs Service. Tariff Classification of Imported Glassware. Federal Register Volume 61, Number 2 (Wednesday, January 3, 1996). FR Doc No: 95-31593. Pages 223-229. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-1996-01-03/html/95-31593.htm
Testing glass lids
For the record, there actually are at least a few ways that glass lids could be tested for vacuum. (Pointing that out is not a usage recommendation; it’s just to be intellectually thorough, as Healthy Canning strives to be.)
Further details for lightning jars
Ball’s Ideal Brand Lightening jars, missing their rubber rings. Rebecca Matthews / pixabay.com / 2015 / CC0 1.0
For antique North American bail jars known as “lightning”, you leave the other wire clasp standing up loosely at the side; it will usually go to about a 45 degree angle, and be somewhat loose but still attached of course.
Montana Extension Service gave these directions in 1947 for the lightning-type bail jars:
- Fit wet rubber ring in place on ledge at top of jar before filling jar.
- Fill jar. Wipe top of jar and ring with damp cloth to remove food particles.
- Put glass lid in place; bring the long bail up over the top of the jar and fit it into the groove on top of the lid. The jar is now partially sealed and is ready to go into the canner.
- Complete the seal as soon as the jar is taken from the canner, after processing, by quickly pushing the short wire down.  Loughead, Mary E. Home Canning Meat Fish Poultry. Montana Extension Service in Agriculture and Home Economics. Bulletin No. 242. May 1947. Page 5. Accessed March 2015 at https://arc.lib.montana.edu/msu-extension/objects/ext1-000298.pdf
Here is a diagram of how the North American ‘lightning’ bail jar worked.
Source: Home Canning of Meat. Home and Garden Bulletin No. 6. USDA. March 1951 Revision. https://naldc.nal.usda.gov/naldc/download.xhtml?id=CAT87212993&content=PDF
Here’s what the authors of Putting Food By say about these lightning jars,
Old-style Bailed Jars with Glass Lids: Not recommended for Pressure Canners because they’re likely to be battle-weary, these haven’t been manufactured since the early 1960s—but there are still thousands around. Sometimes called ‘lightning’ or ‘ideal’ type, they have a domed glass lid cushioned on a separate rubber ring that seats on a glass ledge a scant ¼ inch (½ cm) down on the neck of the jar. The lid is held in place during processing by the longer hoop of the two-part wire clamp. As you remove the jars from the canner after processing, snap down the shorter spring-section of the clamp so it rests on the shoulder of the jar. This is what we mean by ‘complete the seals if using bailed jars’ in the individual instructions. FITTINGS FOR BAILED JARS Discard any lids that have rough or chipped rims, or whose top-notch (which holds the longer hoop in place) is worn away. Sometimes the wire bails are so rusted or old or tired that they have lost their gimp and can’t hold the lid down tightly. Please don’t go in for makeshift tightening by bending the wires or padding the lids. Retire the jars…. [They] can still be found (used) but have not been made for years, thus their fittings (and safety) are suspect. Rubbers are still sold in boxes of twelve, and come in standard and wide-mouth sizes. Look for the rubbers in online canning-supply stores. One source is Kitchen Krafts, which markets them as “regular rubber jar rings.” Call 1-800-776-0576 or go to www.kitchenkrafts.com. Never re-use rubbers, or use old, stale rubbers that have been hanging around for years. Stretch rubbers gently and only enough so they’ll go over the neck of the jar. To sterilize: boil jars and lids for 15 minutes, and let them wait, covered by the hot water, until used. But don’t boil rubbers: wash well, then put them in a shallow pan, cover with boiling water, and let stand till used.”  Hertzberg, Ruth; Greene, Janet; Vaughan, Beatrice (2010-05-25). Putting Food By: Fifth Edition (pp. 66-67). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McLaughlin, Marissa. Canning in Vintage Jars. Blog posting: 8 June 2009. Accessed March 2015.
Canning jar top clip
.Canning in Weck Jars - Roots and Refuge Kitchen
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