AUBURN, Ala.–Many home food preservers wonder if it is okay to mayonnaise and other commercial jars in home food canning. The simple answer is no.
“Companies making both canning jars and other types of jars caution against using commercial jars for home canning,” said Patti West, a regional food safety agent with Alabama Extension.
West offers several reasons.
- Metal knives are commonly used to scrape the last bit of peanut butter or mayonnaise from a commercial jar. These may scratch the inside of the jar and leave a weak spot where it could break during canning.
- Commercial jars are lighter weight and contain less glass than home canning jars.
- They are sometimes larger than standard home canning jars and, if food is home-canned in these jars according to standard processing time, the food may be under processed and spoil.
- In addition, these jars are frequently made for a food product that is packed cold. Therefore, these jars may not withstand the high temperatures used in home canning.
- Commercial jars are made to seal with one-piece caps and may not seal properly with a two-piece home canning cap.
Regular and wide-mouth mason canning jars are the best choice for home canning. Jars are available in ½ pint, 1 pint, 1 ½ pint and 1 quart sizes. Wide-mouth jars have openings of about 3 inches, making them easier to clean, fill and empty. West said half gallon jars that can be used to can juices can sometimes be found. She cautions there are no processing times for this size jar for fruits and vegetables.
With careful use and handling, mason jars may be reused many times for several years. When these jars are used properly with self-sealing lids, jar seals and vacuums are excellent and jar breakage is rare.
“Never use peanut butter and pickle jars for canning any food at home,” said West. “They cannot be sealed with the two-piece self-sealing lids.”
Top Photo courtesy of ZigZag Mountain Art/Shutterstock