Where to Find Glass Canning Jars
Where can you find a good deal on canning jars?
If you have ever canned, you know that glass canning jars are an important investment. They are not cheap. However, if you plan it right, however, sometimes you can usually find a source of recycled canning jars for free or at least at a steep discount.
Sometimes people will give them to you other times they will charge a small amount for them. Before going out and looking for canning jars from used sources, make certain that you know what a good deal actually is. I have seen used canning jars for sale for $1 each and if I had not done my homework, I might have thought they were a good deal. Before going out and buying used canning jars, I went to my local discount stores (Walmart or Dollar General) and priced what the canning jars cost there. I noted the density of the glass in the jars. I noticed that these new jars had canning lids and rings included so I priced lids and rings and subtracted their cost from the value of the jars. Once I had subtracted what rings and lids cost, I knew how much a dozen jars cost, I divided that amount by 12 to determine the actual cost of a single canning jar. At that point, I knew that based on what I would pay for new jars with lids and rings, the used jars at $1 per jar were not a good buy for me where I live. This may not be the case where you live, so you will probably want to do your own calculations.
A List of Places to Locate Used Canning Jars
After you have determined what new jars cost, you can locate places to buy used canning jars. There are numerous places to find used canning jars. Here are a few suggestions:
- Consignment shops.
- yard sales
- rummage sales
- weekly auctions
- estate auctions
- family or friends who have canned in the past but no longer do
- Advertisements on Craigs List
- advertise on Craig's List that you are looking for canning jars.
- Look for Freecycle ads advertising giving away canning jars
- Advertise on Freecycle that you are looking for canning jars
- network with others who may know someone who has canning jars to sell or give away
- Listia is the largest online marketplace to get free stuff where you can look for canning jars.
Are the Canning Jars You Found Worth Buying?
Once you have found used jars at the right price, you may discover that those jars are not good enough for canning or may not be the right size for the canning you plan to do. If you find jars that are not the right size for your canning needs, you may want to pass up on those jars.
If, however, you know someone who needs the jars that you found, has the jars you want and is willing to trade jars with you, purchasing jars of a different size than the size you need might still be a feasible option.
The first thing you need to look at when you find a possible cache of jars is to discover whether the jars actually are the right size for any lids that you already have or can buy at the store. There are some older canning jars that are what my mother called 7/8 jars that required special lids that are no longer available. You don't want these because you'll never find lids to fit them. Whenever you go somewhere that you are looking at canning jars to buy, bring a wide-mouth screw cap and a regular mouth screw cap. If they fit, the jars are the right size. If they do not, they are not the right size.
Also, look at the size jars that you feel that you need to store the food that you intend to can and what you will need to use to serve for a single meal. If you expect that you will only be able to use up foods stored in pint containers, you may not want to buy quart jars. Alternatively, if pint-size jars are too small for what you want to do, you might do better to buy quart jars. With some foods, such as jams and jellies, you might do better canning using half pints rather than pints or quarts especially if there are only you who will be eating it. In addition, some types of food are best stored in wide-mouth jars such as large pickles or canned hamburger patties.
If the jars you find have chips around the lip of the jar, you should know that these jars are not going to seal when used for canning. They may be jars suitable for dry storage, however, but definitely not for canning. I usually throw these jars away rather than using them for other purposes because I don't want to accidentally use these chipped jars and find that my jars didn't seal.
Jars that are cloudy in appearance, are cloudy because of hard water. These usually clean up quite well by soaking them in 10 to 1 water/vinegar solution overnight. Even if the vinegar does not remove all of the cloudiness, the jars are still usable. They are just not as pretty as the clear jars are.
If you follow the above suggestions, you will be certain that have found the right jars at the right price. Good luck and good canning.
Can't Find Used Jars at the right price? Sometimes it Pays to Buy New Canning Jars
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2013 Cygnet Brown