Canning jars Q & A – What size Canning Jars Should I Use?

Canning jars come in various sizes. One important factor to remember when selecting jars for home canning is that the jars should be designed specifically for home canning. It is not safe to use mayonnaise, peanut butter or other jars because they are only designed for single use. As a result of being used, they may develop nicks and cracks that can cause them to burst if used for home canning. Make sure you use mason type jars for you home canning needs.

Q. What size canning jars should I use?

A. The size canning jar you choose depends on several factors including the amount of food your family will consume, how many people are in your household, the type of food being preserved, how the food will be used, the size of your canner, the amount of storage space in your home and your ability to handle canning jars.
First, think about the recipe. A canning recipe may call for a specific jar size. One reason may be that for certain foods heat transfer may be an issue. It may be difficult for heat to penetrate thick food items packed in very large jars. Therefore smaller jars would be the best choice for a properly processed product.

If you have large family, you might consider using larger canning jars. Quart size jars of corn or beans can provide eight ½ cup servings and would be appropriate for family meals. Larger jars of food are also suitable for preparing food for large crowds such as those attending a potluck meal. If only one or two live in the home, pint size jars of vegetables would be a better size to prevent waste.

Wide mouth jars are great for items that are canned whole or in larger pieces such as pickles. This makes the product easier to retrieve from the jar in one piece.

Jams and jellies are best preserved in half pint or pint jars. For most families it would take a while to eat a jam or jelly preserved in a quart jar. The quality of the product would begin to deteriorate before it could all be eaten.
Jars that are one half pint or smaller are perfect for canning jams, jellies, chutneys and condiments that will be given as individual gifts or put into gift baskets.

Another factor to consider when choosing canning jars is whether you are able to lift and handle several large jars. For a person who suffers from arthritis or a similar ailment, there can be a significant difference in weight between a pint and quart jar. Smaller jars will be easier to lift and store.

Canning jars should also be selected based on the size of the canner being used. Some canners are large enough that jars can be stacked. Other canners will hold several large quarts or pints. Check your pressure canner to determine the capacity before purchasing canning jars.