Monday, September 19, 2011

Weck canning jars

So I have a somewhat guilty admission to make. Apart from attending a canning seminar-type meeting locally with Little M last fall, where we went over the steps of making and canning applesauce, I've never canned anything. Yup, that's me, the canning virgin.

All of our extra garden produce last year (the little bit we had the year before was all eaten fresh) was all frozen. Blanched first, then packaged into (plastic) containers or (disposable) ziploc baggies. And I was ok with that. I had a little baby, and just the fact that we were harvesting so much food from the garden was more than we could have hoped for. And in the fall, balancing that little baby and all that goes along with a little one (who still isn't sleeping consistently through the night - in fact who has only slept through the night once - night before last!!!), as well as balancing hunting (my husband is really into bird hunting - hence the bird dogs!), work (always busy in the fall as river flows drop and the construction window opens), and just general stuff around the house and property, I was busy enough without adding canning and learning to can to the list.

This year though, I had a canning-related item on my goals list - to can strawberry jam, tomatoes, and applesauce. I've got plenty of strawberries frozen in my freezer, waiting for me to decide on a recipe (low sugar or not, pectin or not, so many choices!), and whether I want it to be freezer jam (which wouldn't meet my goal list objective of canning strawberry jam!), or shelf-stable jam. Then in the past couple weeks, reading blogs talking about canning this and canning that, I realized that there was another decision I should be consciously making.

I read that BPA has been found in the standard disposable canning jar lids, and that there were other options, both in terms of lids, and in terms of the entire jar system. A post by Soulemama was my first introduction to the other options (along with a lot of other great bits of information in her post!). And after further reading and trying not to become overly paranoid, I realized that where I am in my canning life is the perfect time to read all of this information. I have a very limited stash of jars. If ever I was to go Weck, it would be right now.

Weck jars have glass lids, with a circle of plastic (that can or can't be re-used depending on what you read) that goes between the lid and the jar to act as the seal. They have a plastic lid that can be used once the jars are opened and in the fridge (so you don't have to use the metal clips to keep the top on). And they are BEAUTIFUL. I love that they are all glass. I love that they are so pretty.

And although I don't love the price, when I think of the extra money we have spent on glass containers as we try and shift from plastic containers in the fridge and freezer for leftovers and garden produce, I start to think maybe the price isn't actually that bad. Especially considering I would have to spend something anyway to get enough jars, of whichever type I buy. So maybe this is what I should use my birthday money for this year...

Anyone use Weck jars? Anyone else think the all glass thing is great?


  1. Did you know that you can freeze tomatoes? You can freeze them whole or cut them up. When they thaw the peels slip right off!! Makes my life easier!! I haven't heard of the weck jars before, I would be interested to hear how they are.

  2. Hey Katy - I am an avid canner, but inherited most of my jars and whatnot from my I still use the metal lids (definitely no money in my budget for new jars right now!). If you need to buy jars anyways maybe its a good time to try them? Let me know if you do :)

    I highly recommend trying jam first. Its easy, and can be made in smaller batches. I tend to do long boil jams (no added pectin), mostly because I seem to want to make it on a whim in the evening when stores are closed and I usually don't have any on hand. But I am sure whatever recipe you chose will be good :)

    Good luck!!!!

  3. Hi Katy!

    I've been using Weck jars for years - I love them, and now I'm also fortunate enough to be selling them! (

    They really *are* beautiful and I love how you can tailor your recipe to just the right size and style of jar. Salsas, for example, are great in the wide-mouth, shallow, mold style - just open the lid and you're good to go!

    A few things: one - the gaskets are rubber, not plastic, harvested from living rubber trees, which makes the jars sustainable - and they ARE reusable many, many times, as long as you don't leave them on your window sill to dry out, let the kids use them as slingshots, etc.

    Two - Weck jars are also suitable for pressure canning - but you need at least three clamps instead of the standard two; I use four, especially on the wide-mouth styles. You only need the clamps long enough for the processing and the cool-down time, then you remove them & have them ready for the next batch.

    You should be removing the clamps regardless; it's the seal, not the clamps that holds the lid on. When the jars have fully cooled and you're ready to put them away, remove the clamps and try to lift the jar an inch of the counter. If you can, the jar has sealed, if not, re-process or eat immediately.

    I think most people who say they have trouble with Weck jars sealing either overfill them or don't use enough clamps when pressure canning. I've never had a jar not seal.

    Three: I find the more you use them, the more you *will* use them - for leftovers, for making yoghurt, for making fermented vegetables, for storing tea bags, nuts, raisins on your counter ... Good for you for wanting to switch to an all-glass kitchen! :)

    If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them on-or off-blog.

    1. Yes, they are beautiful. I'm looking to place an order, but can't decide on sizes. I guess I should go through my list of definite uses and dream uses too, and try not to get too carried away. I've never canned either and not planning to start in the near future for the same reasons. I would be using them for freezing and storage for a while.

      Sydney, do you have any advice on how many jars a family of 4 would need? I would love to fill a 6 cu ft freezer with them, and a small pantry of snacks and staples, grains, beans, salt, spices, etc. I bought a few to start from a local store, and have made a lot of fridge pickles, which is great. I love all the shapes and sizes, so it makes if even harder to decide on what to order and how many. Initially, I thought about ordering 1 to 2 sets of almost every size and shape.

      Any suggestions would be great!

  4. I love the Weck jars, but haven't splurged. Actually, I canned a ton last year and not at all this year. (Moving will do that to you.)

  5. I want to can, I am so intimidated by the process. I used to watch both my grandmother and great grandmother do it! I do blanch and freeze though.

  6. I've never heard of Weck jars, so I found this post and your link highly interesting. I have tons of conventional jars and use Golden Harvest lids, which I don't think have a BPA coating. I would like to get some Tattler reusable lids. I'll have to look into Weck now too. Thanks for the info.

  7. Don't feel bad, Katy. I haven't canned yet either, although it's on my list! Haven't heard of these. Thanks for the information!

  8. I'm currently trying to collect the old-style glass tops -those that pre-dated the snap lids. We can still buy the rubber rings for them here, but they require wider screw bands, which I'm also slowly collecting. It's something of an excavation process, but once I have enough tops and rings, they should last indefinately.

  9. I'm just venturing into canning this year as well, although I've been using canning jars (big & small) for a while now in my 'almost' plastic-free kitchen. The big ones are great to make iced tea & drinks in, store grains, food etc etc in. Smaller ones are stellar for baby food.
    Weck jars look awesome! I've been using a combo of run-of-the-mill metal tops & the old school (probably antique) glass lids from my great-grandmother's stash. Not sure if you're planning to share/sell any of your goods, but maybe consider doing some in the cheaper mason jars (to give away/sell) and keep the stuff you don't want to give away in your Weck jars?

  10. Teresa - yup, I froze tomatoes last year, and they worked great just like that, and in all likelyhood this year I'll freeze them before canning too so I can choose when to can. I'll let you know how the jars turn out once I commit and order them!
    Candice - I'll keep the jam tip in mind, I definitely will be the canning-on-a-whim type too I'm sure :)
    Sydney - thanks for all the great advice! I wish I still lived in Canada to order from you :)
    Kim - I hear you on the moving, and you guys have gotten so much else done that missing canning really is a small thing!
    Noelle - I think I've been feeling intimidated by the process too, but the canning seminar I went to last fall was really simple and made me feel like I could do it. Of course, now I just need to do it to know!
    Leigh - I'll have to see if I can find Golden Harvest lids for the few old jars I have been given, if they don't have BPA in them!
    Daisy - it seems like a couple of readers haven't canned yet but have it on their lists - makes me feel a bit better :) I'll share what I learn!
    Leah - The old style glass tops sound great, too bad my family is so far away and my husband's family still avidly cans and uses their supply!
    Amy - Good point about giving jars away. I hope your canning is going smoothly :)


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