Ball canning jars are a staple of American homemaking. Founded by five brothers in Buffalo, New York, Ball has been manufacturing and selling storage containers since 1880. The canning jar was introduced in 1884, and this was the product that made Ball a household name.
Ball no longer manufactures canning jars; Jarden Home Brands now makes Ball and Kerr brands of canning jars. Jars bearing the Ball name can still be purchased new and used and in various sizes. Use them for food storage or for decoration.
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Determine your needs. If you want Ball jars for decorative food storage, older blue jars are eye-catching and collectable. If you plan to do a lot of canning, purchasing a case or more of new jars might be more efficient.
Find old jars at antique stores, flea markets and online. Ask if there are any cracks or chips Flaws like these might not affect the jar's aesthetic appeal, but they might make the jar less usable. And if the authentic appearance is important to you, look for original, grey metal lids, not the new, shiny brass-coloured ones.
Purchase new jars if you plan to do a lot of canning. Find them at a grocery or hardware store. They are available in a variety of sizes: half-pint and pint, typically used for jams and jellies; quart, used for sauces, fruits and vegetables, and wide-mouth jars, which are easier to fill.
Tips and warnings
- Always wash your Ball jars before canning. This can be done on the "sterilize" setting on the dishwasher or in the sink with hot, soapy water.
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