By Joseph Parish
Traditionally my family and I have used empty glass mayonnaise jars for canning in the past. Before you jump all over my case let me say I know it is not a recommended method but I have never had any of those jars break on me. I would not recommend their use for pressure canning in any way but for the normal water bath canning they work just fine. The problem these days is that all the previous glass jar products are now using plastic. With these new plastic jars it is difficult to remove the odors which are absorbed into the plastic from the products that it previously contained. I can’t even use the new jars for dehydrated foods.
As I had stated we used the glass mayo jars for canning pickles or other foods which we wanted to preserve for our enjoyment in later seasons. These jars would readily accept the wide mouth lids and rings. We have successfully water bathed pickles and have even put the boiling brine in over the cucumbers, dill, onion and garlic and sealed then sealed them. After curing they were some of the best pickles we have ever made. A small pinch of alum placed in each jar help greatly in preserving the crispness of the cucumbers.
I hear many people saying that Mrs. Wages Pickling Lime is actually the same thing as commercial Pickle Crisp but it really is not. Pickling Lime can if desired be used as a firming agent however the lime must be completely rinsed out prior to canning where Pickle Crisp which is actually calcium chloride can safely be added directly to your canning jar of cucumbers. There is nothing wrong with using the pickling lime however the process necessary is much more involved than merely adding some to your jar. In addition, the generic calcium chloride products are extremely less expensive then the brand named Pickle Crisp.
Naturally, I am aware that there are several alternative ways that this canning process could have been completed in an approved and safe way however I totally disagree that some of these older methods should be completely discarded as outdated and unsafe.
We frequently used just about every jar which we had access to in fact we often had neighbors and friends save their empty mayo jars for us as well. In all reality we also found that the jelly jars which have the seals affixed within the lids often worked one time as well. Saving money was the issue in those days and this was a good way to do it.
Baby food jars were often used for dry canning. If you were to measure the contents you would find that they hold approximately the same amount of a products such as a packet of instant gravy mix thus you could effectively make your own mixes and store them in the baby food jars. The baby food jars are easy to store and stack. They are excellent for holding dehydrated items such as dried bell peppers or a host of other dried products.
Never refuse to try something because you were told it can’t be done. Here is proof that it can.
Copyright @2010 Joseph Parish