So many odds and ends have been piling up while I’ve been hiding my head under the snow (and an avalanche of manuscripts)!
First things first. The winner of the 4-oz jar of apple-carrot chutney is Ruth, a fellow canjammer. Check our her gorgeous Etsy site!
I also owe you guys an explanation about that interesting hexagonal jar and single-piece lid I used in that same post. About a month ago, I received an e-mail from a company named SKS Bottles and Packaging, asking me to link to their Web site. I was intrigued by the wide range of jars and lids on their site, but also a bit concerned, because—unlike Ball—they don’t specialize in the home canning market, and their Web site is careful to say that “We do not imply these products are fit for food products, or for any particular use.” This disclaimer is then followed by a page of jars recommended for specific canning and pickling products. So, to make a long story short, I wanted to try them out before recommending them to you. I requested a “Glass salsa jar,” advertised as a Mason jar; a “pepper canning jar,” decidedly not advertised as a Mason jar; and several one-piece lids.
The jars and lids are pretty cool, actually, and they work, so I have officially added them to the list of my “canning resources.” There are, however, some caveats. As advertised, the “salsa jar” was a Mason jar and the “pepper jar” was not. Contrary to popular belief, Mason isn’t a brand name—it’s a style of manufacturing that implies resistance to high temperature and pressure. In general, it’s not a great idea to use a non-Mason jar in a pressure cooker situation because they are not designed to withstand the pressure cooking environment. So, stick with water-bath canning for anything that’s not labeled Mason. I very much like the look of the jars, but be aware that they can be tricky to pick up using regular jar lifters, and removing air bubbles can be a challenge.
There are also pros and cons to using the single-piece lid. The most obvious thing in its favor is that a single-piece lid looks professional. They work just like regular canning lids in that they have a “plastisol” ring on the inside. Just heat them up and pop them on the jars, proceed as usual, and you’ll get a fine seal. If you’re considering selling your canned goods, this is a great choice. There are, however, drawbacks. I’m assuming that the lids are not re-usable, so they’re slightly less environmental friendly than the regular two-piece numbers. They’re also a bit tricky to work with. When you’re working with two-piece lids, the rings aren’t hot, which makes it easy to screw them on. In this case, since it’s a single piece, you have to use a potholder or some sort of paper towel to protect your hands.
So there you have it! Life beyond Ball jars.
But this post wouldn’t be complete without a congratulatory shout-out to Marisa over at Food in Jars. She’s been nominated by Saveur Magazine for their brand-new Best Food Blog Awards in the special interest blog category! Hightail it on over there and cast your vote for the Canvolution! And Congrats, Marisa—you deserve it.