We usually recommend “using what you’ve got” when preserving, however there are so many types of jars available! From reused/repurposed jars that may be able to be used for water bath canning, to jars that are specifically designed for water bath canning (and some that are suitable for pressure canning too).  We recommend using high quality, tempered glass jars for every batch of preserves, with a maximum volume of 1 litre (1 quart) or as described in the specific water bath canning recipe you use.
Always wash jars well using soap and soft cloths (no abrasives, these will scratch the jars). Rinse jars. Check jars are clean, with no cracks or chips before use.
Remember: new lids before processing your high acid preserves in a water bath canner!

i.e. Bormioli Rocco Quattro Stagioni and Twist-Top Jars.
These jars have a single piece lid that twists onto the jar rim to secure. Whilst technically you could reuse “supermarket jars”, the issue resides in the correctly fitting lid – they are measured from the outer rim in millimetres for example, but the thread (side of the jar rim the lid is twisted onto to secure the lid) can vary between brands, and if it fits incorrectly then seal failure may occur, and food safety may be compromised. Therefore, we recommend buying twist top jars from somewhere that spare lids are also available to purchase. The benefit of buying twist top jars: you can get a WIDE range of sizes and shapes for bottling your preserved fruits, pickles, chutney, mustard etc. in different jars. Looked after with care, these jars can be reused for several years. As directed by the manufacturer, twist top jars are suitable for heating up to 100°C, ideal for water bath canning but not to be used for pressure canning (Quattro Stagioni can be pressure canned).

i.e. Ball Mason, and Kerr.
Straight sided or tapered tops, regular mouth or wide mouth, plain or quilted texture, these jars are available in several sizes online! From 4oz, to 8oz (half-pint), pint, pint and a half and quart these jars are high quality and can last generations if cared for. They have metal rings (called bands) that hold the round disc part of the lid called a seal. The jars and bands are reusable; the seals are one time use for pantry preserving. Boxes of seals are available online. Beware cheap imported jars that look like these (but no branding) that may not be high quality glass and may not seal accurately that may only be used for water bath canning if they seal properly (we don’t recommend buying these low quality jars). Proper jars in this style, like Ball and Kerr, are suitable for water bath canning and pressure canning.
i.e. Bormioli Rocco Fido, Maxwell & Williams, and other bail lid jars.
Glass jars with a rubber sealing ring (gasket) and a bail/hinged lid are not recommended for water bath canning, as the hinged lid does not release air during boiling (processing). We recommend using these jars for short ferments, where the seal is released once a day (minimum) to remove the gas bubbles that are created during the fermentation period. Hinged jars can also be used to store dry or dehydrated items (and in the refrigerator too).

JARS WITH THREE PIECE LIDS (gasket + lid + clip/s)
i.e. Fowlers Vacola and Weck.
These jars do not have hinged lids. They have metal or glass lids, with a rubber sealing ring (gasket) between the lid and jar. Clip/s hold the lid and gasket onto the jar during processing. When the jars have cooled after processing, the lid is sealed, and the clip/s are removed. These jars are suitable for water bath canning and pressure canning.
Author: Megan Radaich           
Image Credit: Megan Radaich & Google Images      
Publication: www.foodpreserving.org

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