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Free Mason Jars - Tips For Acquiring Home Canning Jars
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Free Mason Jars  -  Tips for Acquiring Home Canning Jars

Acquiring mason jars as a beginning canner can cost a small fortune. I have shopped around for mason jars locally and on the internet and the cheapest I found was $7 / dozen for pint jars and $8 / dozen for quart jars. On average, you can expect to pay $10 / dozen for jars.

If you are looking to can enough fruits and vegetables to get you through the winter without purchasing much in the way of commercially canned fruits or vegetables, you will need a lot of mason jars. On a small scale, I would say a hundred jars, on a large scale two or three hundred. 200 - 300!!! The cost of canning has just gotten very expensive very quickly.

Or has it?

There are many ways you can obtain mason jars for free.

  • Talk to your friends and family. Inevitably, they have received a gift in a mason jar somewhere along the way and, while they didn't have a use for it, did not want to throw it out. Many people are more than happy to pass along their handful of mason jars to someone who will put them to good use.
  • Check out your local dump. Some communities have an area where people drop off things, like mason jars, that other people can reuse. I have heard of some people having great success with this.
  • Review the free section of Craigslist. I have found many listings in the past where people have jars they no long use, but really want them to go to someone who will put them to good use.
  • Check Freecycle. People have been successful finding free mason jars on Freecycle. If you don't see any listing for them, why not post a request that you are looking for some. You never know what type of response you might get!

Is Re-purposing an Option?

As the world looks for greener solutions, there is a lot of discussion about how to re-purpose things we don't want anymore, or reuse things we would normally put into the trash/recycle bin. So, it makes sense that there has been a lot of chatter in the home canning community about whether it is safe to reuse commercially manufactured jars for canning.

Some glass containers that commercially produced food comes in happens to fit the lid and rings used by your Ball or Kerr mason jars. So the debate is whether or not it is safe to use these jars for canning.

Throughout the community, there are people who swear by using Classico spaghetti sauce jars for home canning. There are people who use other types of jars as well (although Classico was the only company whose name came up consistently). There are also many people who state that it is unsafe and should not be used.

Per Classico, the jars they use for their spaghetti sauce are one-time use only. "A coating is applied [to the glass] to reduce scratching and scuffing. If scratched, the jar becomes weaker at this point and can more easily break. This would increase the risk of the jar breaking when used for canning."

You Have Options

The decision to reuse your commercially manufactured jars for canning is up to you. However, I would look into the options above for obtaining free mason jars. Also, look in charity and thrift stores, at garage and estate sales, at flea markets and in classified ads for people looking to sell their mason jars. In many cases, you can get a large quantity for a fraction of the cost.

Obtaining enough mason jars to preserve fruits and vegetables to get through the winter is economically desirable to many. While initial start up costs can be high, once the investment is made you will reap the benefits in delicious food and budget savings for many years to come.

Have you come across any mason jars for free / cheap in the past? Please share your story here.


Street Talk

Tanika   

I am looking for Mason Jars. 360 of them, My daughters wedding is coming up and she wants to make candles can anyone help

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Good article! Thanks for suggestions that are earth-friendly.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Thanks, Cynthia. I try hard to decrease the amount of trash I create and reuse as much as I can. If we all did a little more we could make a big impact!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Very true. In my travels, from India, N. Ireland, Ireland, England, Germany, Denmark and all we in the USA sure do create a lot of trash.

  
  about 6 years ago

Since I moved out of the country and into this small town I live in now, i have been storing about 13 boxes of jars. I really miss my country garden!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Are you gardening at all now? I've been reading about growing a canning garden in small spaces and they recommend growing large amounts of only a few types of plants each year. Since canned foods have a good storage life if kept properly, can a lot of tomatoes and green beans one year, peas and carrots another, etc and rotate through. Then you don't need such a large garden to produce many different types of crops. Now, if you're looking to get rid of some jars....you know where to send them *hint hint*

Reply
  about 6 years ago

LOL< do not be surprised if the delivery truck pulls up. We did not put in a garden here yet. I have plenty of room, we have been restoring this place. It is over 100 years old and we just finished all the mechanics and wiring, now we are going from room to room, and there are many rooms. Of course, the kitchen ceiling is done already..............

  
  about 6 years ago

You remind me of my blackberry jelly days. In picking and getting thorns out of me. As well as in getting the seeds out for the jelly... and the purple stuff all over the kitchen ceiling!

  
  about 6 years ago
  

Oh my, Cynthia! Seems you had as much luck with blackberry jam as Shawn had with soap! Without the firetrucks of course :)

  
  about 6 years ago

AJ, your article came at such a great moment. I've got a project I'm looking to do that requires mason jars and I really didn't know where to go except the hardware store. I didn't follow your links yet but I will and I'll see what's there! Thanks!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Patty, a little creativity and networking goes a long way with acquiring mason jars. Good luck in your search, I hope you find what you need.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

I don't can but I know people who do so I will pass the information AJ

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Thank you, Maria, I appreciate you sharing the info.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
Golfspice  

Good ideas AJ.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Thanks Golfspice

Reply
  about 6 years ago
Joan S  

AJ, I'd like to take all your articles and put them in a book. Very helpful for beginning gardeners and caners. I've never canned, so this is all good info for me. Thanks.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Thank you for the compliment! I do plant to merge my articles into an ebook or two, but I've got a lot more to write between now and then. Canning is a lot easier than I ever expected and while it is time consuming it is rewarding as well. I am so thankful that I took the time to can my fruits each time I open a tasty jar. Keep an eye on my website, as I'm expanding it to provide more useful information for first time canners on the right equipment to buy and how to use it.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Dear AJ, This one area i knows nothing about, excellent article , i really enjoyed the effort you put in to make this venture a success.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Thank you, Alfred. I appreciate you stopping by!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
Barbara9  

excellent article AJ

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Thanks Barbara.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Another great read, AJ:)

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Thanks, Penny.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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