Canning season has begun, and that can only mean one thing. Confusion. Why confusion, you ask? Let me explain. Sunburst Bottle carries 17 different Mason jars all with different features and benefits. Choice is good, but when you’re a novice to canning like me, then you need some guidance. Fortunately for you, I cornered our Product Manager in his cubicle and extracted from him all of the information you need to make a wise choice. But fear not! You really can’t make a bad choice here. It’s more about personal preference and considering the Mason jar features that match your needs.
Choose Your Brand
Sunburst Bottle carries two brands of Mason jars, Ball and Legacy. Ball Mason jars are one of the most well known and popular Mason jars. They should be! They’ve been making Mason jars for over 125 years! These Mason jars are tried and true and you really can’t go wrong with them.
Legacy Mason Jars are newer to the market, however, they still preserve that old fashioned Mason jar look with embossing on two sides. The Legacy Jars have the Legacy logo on one side and cups/ounce measure on the other side. What is on the other two sides? Well, I’m glad you asked. There is nothing on the other two sides. And let me tell you why that is good. It lets you put your very own custom label on the jar without fighting raised embossing to get them to stick. That is a good thing for you and your labels.
In canning, size does matter. In fact, determining the size of Mason jar that will fit your canning needs is probably your most important decision. You wouldn’t want to use a larger jar for jelly if you only eat jelly twice a year. Sunburst Bottle offers Mason jars in 7 different sizes. Here is a quick guide on how to choose a Mason jar size to fit your needs:
- 4 oz – great for jelly, relish, condiments or specialty items. Also a nice size if you are planning on gifting your bounty to friends and family.
- 8 oz (half pint)– a nice size for jams, jelly or sauces.
- 12 oz – another nice size for jams, jelly and sauces if you have a large family or plan on using your preserves on a more frequent basis (High five, fellow PB&J lovers!)
- 16 oz (pint) – perfect for sauces, pie filling, fruit butter, or salsas.
- 24 oz – For larger portions of sauces or pie fillings. Smaller or cut vegetables and fruits.
- 32 oz (Quart) – Use with larger vegetables or whole fruits. This is a nice size for pickles or tomatoes.
- 64 oz (1/2 gallon) – The USDA, National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends only using this size for apple and grape juices.
What a Big Mouth
When deciding between regular and wide mouth Mason jars, consider the ease of filling and removing. Wide-mouth jars would be useful for whole fruits and vegetables. Have you ever tried to stick your hand down a regular mouth pickle jar to get the last pickle out? Enough said.
How Do I Look?
Most Mason jars are clear, however, Sunburst recently added Ball’s new Blue Mason jars to its selection. The blue color is a throwback to days of yore and marks the 100th anniversary off Ball’s “Perfect Mason” blue jar. These jars have appeal not only for canning but also for collecting, home décor and crafting. Check out some creative ideas on Pinterest using these blue Mason jars. The blue Mason jars are also limited edition, so if you like them then don’t wait to get your hands on some.
Sunburst also carries quilted Mason jars that can give your preserves a really nice look. I especially like these jars for gifts or party favors. And there is a smooth area on these jars so you can still easily add a label.
So now you should have all the info you need on choosing your Mason jar. That was so easy! Here are a few more resources to get you on your way to canning:
Typical U.S. dates for a few common crops, the South will be the earlier end, and the North, the latter:
March – April: Asparagus
June- July: cherries
June-August: blueberries, blackberries
July-September: peaches, figs, tomatoes, green beans
August- Figs, Fall raspberries start, early apples
September-October: apples and grapes
October: late apples, Pumpkins
December: Christmas trees (if you figure out how to can your own Christmas tree, please send photos!)
National Center for Home Food Preservation http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html
Canning Across America http://www.canningacrossamerica.com/
Pick-Your-Own Farms http://www.pickyourown.org
Food Temperature Safety https://www.katom.com/cat/thermometers/food-thermometers.html
So tell us what you are planning on canning this season. Do you grow your crop or head to a Pick-Your-Own Farm? Anyone using Mason jars for décor or party favors?