Thursday, January 18, 2007

Canning

So the other day I came across a great deal for some old bail wire canning jars. I actually bought more than these but the big one in the picture (I never remember sizes of canning jars) is the only one of that size that I bought. I have drooled over these for years now--- so I know what prices they run both used and new. I had never purchased any before---I think as much for the reason that I wasn't really serious about them. When I saw them for a super low price---I snapped them up. I bought 8 altogether. There were 11 being sold but one had a broken lid, one had a rim "chip/blemish" and the last had a very very rusty wire (evidence of high usage or something).
I will use these for jellies/jams, salsas and possibly vanilla pear chunk. We will more than likely give them as gifts. See---I am already planning for xmas this year :-) Maybe I won't though since I like them so much hehehe.
You can also by the newer bail type snap jars and bottles in the store when you buy specialty foods. We drink an "adult" soda pop---real sugar only thank you---that comes with that type of lid. I keep all of them to store my vinegars in. I still need a few more---I don't drink it very often so it is taking a while. We make our own salad dressings so we use many many types of vinegar. The gaskets don't seem to really wear out so they are re usable for a long time to store in. That observation brings me to the next part of my post: RUBBERS or in the case of the canning jars-- rubber gaskets aka---gaskets.
No matter by which name you call them if you want to buy/use/reuse any type of bailing wire jar, especially for canning, you will eventually need gaskets. Now I don't know how many times a gasket can be canned with before it's deemed bad. I would imagine in the frugal older days it was more than once. Now you will find many web sites stating that you should never ever use that style of jar---only the USDA recommended screw lid jars. Now I ask you---do you trust completely and 100% the USDA's advice? Feel that they are working with your best interest at heart? I didn't think so-- besides if that were the case why would they allow food to be sold in stores in those type of jars?? A lot of the food found in the stores in those type jars is imported from Europe where the gasket canning jar is still very popular and well used. An observation that leads me to believe my leg might be getting pulled just a little bit.
Lehmans has replacement gaskets and some types of bail wire jars (new) to purchase and overall they are a good price. Weck canning actually sells direct so their prices are pretty good too, actually better than Lehmans since you are buying direct. They are pricey though---more so than if you buy regular screw lid canning jars. If you are really going for a certain look to your gift or want to use them to display with though well....I guess if your going to buy new at least it's a canning jar that can be used over and over for a good purpose and not a plastic toy. I know that I will eventually end up purchasing some depending on what I decide for specific gifts. All in all they make a homemade gift look "more expensive" than a regular jar does---and unfortunately when giving to some people that DOES matter.

As an end note: Besides knowing that people use them to store dried and other foods in I also found that some people score the used gaskets to allow a small amount of air out and ferment Kimichi in the jars--intriguing use for the bail jars.

Here are some other places that sell bail wire jars and some other styles---there are a number of different brands. Not all sites have the best prices so search a bit if you are interested in some of them. Search words include European style, French style, bail wire, gasket etc.
Village Kitchen -- click canning jars in the glass index section to the right of the home page. They also carry La Parfait which is a bail wire jar that we purchase a product (infrequently) in. It has a nice bail to it---not flimsy feeling.
Sur La Table -- Leifheit canning jars
And a nice little article: here


Update 1/19/07 Actually I have made a number of calls about these jars and all say that as long as they seal--they are fine. Sealing is noticed by the top staying on when the bail is released and a "tug" is needed to pull it off the gasket also no fluid should leak out when it is tipped. All of the people questioned (a person from Lehmans, and ag person that handles canning questions and another older ag type person) said that though the ring type were now most common that these are perfectly safe as long as: no chips in rim or lids, no cracks (obviously), and that the bail is not so loose and floppy that it doesn't really hold down the lid to the gasket. In that case the lid might not be pulled down enough to start the sealing process. I don't think I will can soup with them but high sugar (jams/jellies) and high acid (pickles) won't make me nervous at all. Both high sugar and high acid don't really HAVE to have a sealed environment in the sense that soup, meat or some other foods do.
So now everyone can make their own choice. Here is the following advice on how to can with a bail wire jar:
The jars with wire bails and glass lids are still in use, although they haven't been manufactured for many years. A wet rubber ring is fitted over the neck so that it rests on the glass ledge of the jar. The glass lid is placed so that it rests on the ring. The long wire bail is set in place in the groove on the top of the lid, and the second bail is left in the up position. After processing, and while the jar is still hot, you should push the second bail down against the side of the jar. When the jars are cool, test the seal by tilting each jar.

When using any of these jars, do not attempt to open them to replace any liquid lost during processing.



8 comments:

Katie said...

What a great find!

Cheryl said...

Beautiful jars Monica, I would love to use something like that for canning too. I love Weck's jars, but I can't justify the cost.
How do you know when these types of jars are sealed properly though, since there's no pop top to test it with?

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

Cheryl
Supposedly when you remove the bail after sealing the lid will be "stuck" down because other than that it is loose. That's how I understand it. I decided I will start with jelly since I feel more comfortable with that. I was telling my husband the other day how my grandmother used to use paraffin the top of the jellies instead of canning them. If there was mold---they just scraped it off and we ate it. I know---nobody would dream of doing that not but back then nobody thought anything of it. Hence my reasoning for starting with jam/jelly. I figure it might be the safest to practice with. Also---I thought I could ask a former Mennonite/Amish person too---they still use them. And there are some that blog believe it or not.

BurdockBoy said...

i love thosejars but haven't tried canning with them-i just store stuff in them. let us know how the jelly turns out then maybe i'll have the courage...

Phelan said...

I got several of those jars for christmas, mine are green. Gaskets in general {when using them in pressure canning} are good only once. I wouldn't "can" with the wire jars, but use them as air-tight storage.

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

The above comment was my own I deleted---I did not know how to correct a mistake I made when writing. Excuse me for that Here is what the comment was to say:
Actually I have made a number of calls about these jars and all say that as long as they seal--they are fine. Sealing is noticed by the top staying on when the bail is released though it should be stored with both bails on. Also, no fluid should leak out when tipped. It should require a bit of "tugging" to get the lid to separate from the gasket just as it does with a regular jar. All of the people questioned (a person from Lehmans, and ag person that handles canning questions and another older ag type person) said that though the ring type were now most common that these are safe as long as: no chips in rim or lids, no cracks (obviously), and that the bail is not so loose and floppy that it doesn't really hold down the lid to the gasket. In that case the lid might not be pulled down enough to start the sealing process.
So now everyone can make their own choice.

Rebecca said...

Not sure if you will even see this comment as I'm commenting on an older post....

The best thing about the European style gaskets with rubber rings - is that they are rubber. All US made canning jars with screw on lids contain BPA in the lids to help them to seal. BPA = bad, cancer causing etc. I use those sorts of jars over plastic containers to store food in, making sure to keep the food below the lid. However, I don't like the idea of using them for canning where the BPA in the lids will be heated to a high temperature with food touching it.