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Why aren't Weck Jars used in North America?

 
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My wife lived in Germany for a few years as a teen.  They rented a home from a little old lady who lived in a cottage next door.  It is from watching her that my wife learned to can.   In Europe, (or at least Germany) the most common form of home canning is in Weck Jars.   These jars use glass lids so that nothing touches your food except glass.   The rubber seals are reusable.   The jars are far more substantial than Ball/Kerr jars.   The seals are a thick soft rubber and are reusable, so we do not have an annual cost of purchasing lids over and over again.  

You can quite literally take a jar off the shelf and stick it in the microwave, pressure cooker, or hot water.   Heating the food while still in the jar and then eating from the jar is commonly done in our house.   This means the jar itself and the spoon is the only thing needing washing.  

The mold style Weck jar can handle freezing.   They are stable when stack and, if you place the tongue facing you, you can easily tell if a jar's seal has failed while it is on the shelf.  My wife pressure cans everything from butter to veggies to chicken stock with no issues.   We constantly are fermenting foods in them, with or without a bubbler.  

So, my question is, why are Ball & Kerr jars so popular in North America?  Ball/Kerr jars require annual purchases and are fragile.   They cannot be stably stacked.   The lids are are a one time use and, per some sources, have a shelf life.   You cannot reheat the food in the jar.  You cannot freeze in the jar.  


Weck-Jar.JPG
[Thumbnail for Weck-Jar.JPG]
Honey, Brussel Sprouts, Butter, Chicken Stock
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Sauerkraut with Bubbler
 
pollinator
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As another European I read the American preserving rules.. and I see money, I see some people who think the government is out to get them over everything, but then believe that there can only possibly be one safe way to store food and it must be bought from one of the monopoly suppliers, and cooked according to their book.
In the UK and Denmark most people reuse old Jam/pickle jars and their lids. I get odd looks because I BUY new jars (I sell them so they have to be new legally) But even if you are buying jars here they are a third type, the lids are reusable a couple of times but are basically disposable. and they look like this.
 
Wesley Kohn
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Skandi Rogers wrote:As another European I read the American preserving rules.. and I see money



"Money" is probably right.   Other than the initial investment, we have not spent more than about $10 Canadian replacing worn out/lost seals since coming here 7 years ago.  Every time we add a child to the family we need more jars but consider them a lifetime investment.  Not one jar or lid has broken on us, and only 2 failed to seal when canned and both of those because of overfilling.

If you look at the internet, nearly every American recipe includes a warning of certain death if you don't can using a Ball/Kerr jar.   I have enclosed a covered area outside so that starting next year canning can occur outside when it is hot.  The Presto canner came with a warning that we could not use our outdoor burner with their pot.  

My wife loves her American canner though.   She has two canners, an American Canner and a Presto Canner.   The seal in the Presto canner has to be replaced every year but the American canner doesn't have a disposable seal.   I am of the mind to not buy any more seals for the Presto Canner and get another American canner.  Maintenance costs add up over the years.

I think too many only look at the initial higher investment and don't take into consideration money that has to be spent on maintenance and disposable features means less money in your pocket than if you bought a maintenance free set up.
 
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here in Brazil we can only get jars like the ones above ^^.
And they're not cheap (best I've seen them is 2.50 per jar). Lids are cheaper.
I love the all-glass ones, wish we had them here!!
 
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I think cost, primarily; the jars themselves seem to cost about three times as much. But cultural factors also enter into it. A century of home economics education and cooperative extension education saying the Ball/Mason system is the only safe way is powerful programming to overcome.  
 
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I used to use them for giving gifts.

Every time I got a jar back, the rubber was stretched beyond recognition.

They are also very expensive for new jars and replacement seals.  
 
r ranson
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Skandi Rogers wrote:
In the UK and Denmark most people reuse old Jam/pickle jars and their lids.



I do this, but carefully.  Normally the jar lid is so hard to get off, that it is damaged (hit with a knife, cracked with a can opener) so the jar won't reseal.

I also stick to high acid or high sugar recipes that were generally used prior to air-tight canning.  
 
Wesley Kohn
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r ranson wrote:Every time I got a jar back, the rubber was stretched beyond recognition.  



We have heard of the rubbers stretching, but have never experienced this ourselves.   Wife thinks this is caused by reheating or canning with more than 2 clips.   2 clips provide the perfect amount of pressure holding it closed for canning.   A lot of websites & videos advise to use 3 clips when pressure canning, but we still only use just 2 clips and have not had any issues.  That might be because we are close to sea level.
 
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Tattler lids have the reusable seals, I won't use them on anything I might give away, I can't afford to lose them. I'd love the glass lidded jars, but have never seen any affordably, whereas I can buy canning jars for under 50 cents each second hand.

Probably the answer to the question why aren't Weck jars  used in the US comes back to money and marketing. The Ball and Kerr folks spent a lot of money to get the government to help them market their product as a safe system. So now the low  hanging fruit financially for us broke types is their product. I'd snag Weck jars if I ever saw them second hand, but no one gets rid of them :)
 
r ranson
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Wesley Kohn wrote:

r ranson wrote:Every time I got a jar back, the rubber was stretched beyond recognition.  



We have heard of the rubbers stretching, but have never experienced this ourselves.   Wife thinks this is caused by reheating or canning with more than 2 clips.   2 clips provide the perfect amount of pressure holding it closed for canning.   A lot of websites & videos advise to use 3 clips when pressure canning, but we still only use just 2 clips and have not had any issues.  That might be because we are close to sea level.



I wonder if a dishwasher would damage them?  We haven't actually pressure canned in these jars yet and the people I gifted to don't have a pressure cooker/canner.



 
Wesley Kohn
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r ranson wrote:I wonder if a dishwasher would damage them?  We haven't actually pressure canned in these jars yet and the people I gifted to don't have a pressure cooker/canner.



My dishwasher has never damaged them.   I should mention that I am married to her.  (I might have to edit that out at a later date or change my name if she decides to get online and read my posts here.)

We remove them, rinse and hang on a hook until they are used again.   They are never in contact with the food, so no need to dishwasher them.  I have seen people recommend boiling them prior to use, but we don't.  We put them in hot water but not so hot you cannot put your hands in the water prior to using them.  

My wife tried Tattler lids, but didn't like them.   They required a 2-step process to make sure they sealed.   With the Weck jars she turns off the flame when the processing time is completed and leaves everything as is until the next morning.   She then pulls out cool jars, removes the clips and makes sure of the seal by lifting the jars by the lid.  So everything is ignored until cool.   With Tattler lids you have to remove the canner lid and remove the jars while still hot to seal them.
 
r ranson
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I never did figure out why the rings came back so stretched.  Stretched enough to go over the outside of the container.  After 5 different people returned the jars in the same condition, I got frustrated and gave up on them.  (the jars, not the people... well, not all of the people)
 
pollinator
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r ranson wrote:I never did figure out why the rings came back so stretched.  Stretched enough to go over the outside of the container.  After 5 different people returned the jars in the same condition, I got frustrated and gave up on them.  (the jars, not the people... well, not all of the people)



Maybe they got used like a "rubber band" to keep the lid and jar together as a set? or stretched around the jar to keep it "with the jar"?
Those rubber rings might not be formulated to be elastic enough for that sort of abuse, since they are meant to work in compression and if softer, would creep out of place easily.

We have one Weck jar in the house. We got it via a food purchase (I really ought to get more of that stuff...;-p ). It does seem superior from a reusability standpoint.
What is available in our area, is all Ball and Kerr jars both new and on the second-hand market.
 
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Wesley Kohn wrote: Why aren't Weck Jars used in North America??


Just for the record: I think you are spot on when it comes to canning, but that is only one 1 part of the equation. I will attempt to paint a picture for why I think they aren't used in North America.

I own 400+ mason jars, which include around 80 antique ones with glass tops. The main use for the standard ones when I was actively canning 2 years ago was in regards to growing mushrooms on rye grain, which required sterilizing the grains by pressure cooking them in jars. I've since started to use them(new mason jars) regularly for bottling maple syrup.

---

Wesley Kohn wrote:1. Ball/Kerr jars require annual purchases and are fragile.
2. They cannot be stably stacked.
3. The lids are are a one time use and, per some sources, have a shelf life.
4. You cannot reheat the food in the jar.
5. You cannot freeze in the jar.


1. I think if this were true, no one would buy them. I haven't replaced any of my jars in the last 4 years. In fact, my jars were put through an additional stress test. I live in an extremely rural area, so ordering through an online retailer saved me a lot of road trips over the years. 250+ mason jars were shipped to me through the mail, some travelling 1000's of KM with almost no bubble wrap in the packaging, and only 2 jars in the same dozen were broken on arrival.

2. I agree that the standard jars are a pain in the butt to stack. But, the 250ml / 500ml widemouth jars are easily stackable.

3. Yeah, the lids are pretty fragile and have a limited lifespan. I can't say for certain how long they last in regards to canning usage, but I would assume most people do their canning once a year in the fall, and as such, they'd probably get a couple years usage out of the lids.

4. Not in a microwave, which for some is a big negative point. I don't use a microwave, so if I have to defrost something I just leave in in the sink over night and use it the next day when it's thawed. I have some older pots that work with my induction stove top though, so heating up soup or sauce takes less than 5 minutes.

5. Not sure where you got this from or if I misunderstood what you mean, but from personal experience (freezing maple syrup and soup stock/hummus, etc), along with standard internet searches "how to freeze ___ in a mason jar", it seems a lot of people are able to freeze food in their mason jars.

---

Cost

I can buy a dozen 1 litre mason jars for $0.80 each, and if I catch a sale they're $0.65 each. Similar prices for 250/500ml jars.

Based on the Weck Jar site you linked, a 3 mold jar combo pack is $15. And something interesting to note: the homepage image has over $150 worth of Weck Jars - so we're potentially talking about 200 mason jars vs 20 weck jars.

Demand

Less people are cooking at home than ever in North America, and so it's even less likely that new people are continuing the tradition of canning compared to previous decades. A premium product like these Weck Jars don't have much of a chance to build a following outside of a few canning enthusiasts for that reason.

Utility/Marketing

On the Weck Jar site the first image you see is variously shaped jars holding dry food in a cupboard. Many of the jars are $5-20 per unit, but are only holding $1 worth of product like popcorn, chickpeas, rice, etc. Mason jars and glass/pyrex containers with plastic tops hold dry food perfectly fine in the mind of the average consumer.

To continue looking at the marketing efforts: the Canadian Weck Jar site.

weckjarscanada wrote: Our jars have been used for wedding favours, vases, candles, bath salts, pot pourri, desserts on the go, food, craft & decor storage to lighting fixtures, and more.


If the Weck Jars are truly superior in quality (like thicker glass), which I believe is true, this is something that should be at the forefront of their marketing campaign. Yet, they seem to be doing the opposite and trying to compete with Mason Jars at the crafting-level, which only hurts them in my view.

---

If I were a typical North American consumer, I could see myself buying 1 or 2 for reheating food in a microwave, though the pyrex glass with plastic lids do this equally well - and eating out of mason jars sucks because of the narrow top. Probably for any fermenting someone could use a few Weck Jars for kombucha or kim chi.

But, as I'm surrounded by serious canning folks out here in my rural setting, who each have 100+ jars they use in fall to can their home grown produce, I don't see why they'd spend/invest in $1000's of Weck Jars when their Mason Jars have worked perfectly fine for years/decades, aside from the occasional new lids.

And as already mentioned, I think if the Weck Jar company changed their marketing strategy to aim for the trendy/specialty North American consumer, they'd become at least a recognizable brand here. There is no reason that a person shouldn't own at least 1 Weck Jar, it's just that Weck doesn't do the work to convince people why they should buy their product. I would blame Weck's bad branding before blaming the American consumer base. (case-in-point with their poorly designed About Page)


 
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They sell Weck jars here, and a neighbor of mine used to can with them, and I have canned with them.  

They are very pretty, and they are very expensive.  So, yes, someone who doesnt can much and has extra cash will use them.  I started one of my offspring off with some years ago, and they work well, but they are realy too expensive, so all their additional canning jars they bought have been the regular ones.

The rubber rings on the Weck jars will have a limited life span, I do not know how many uses, but lets say it is five. And then you have to buy a new ring.  Ball canning jar lids are often reused for waterbath canned products, if they were not damaged by opening, and you can open them carefully.  Other metal flat lids I dont want to reuse to can, I often reuse for dry storage as I store alot of dry products in jars. And then some get put into metal recycling.  It is less than 10 cents to buy a metal canning lid, so even if you used it once, this is way less expensive than a replacement rubber ring for a weck canning jar, even if that rubber ring was used 5 or 10 times....Likely this is because all Weck products are imported from germany.

You can reheat food in a standard canning jar, the canning jars are built to withstand a pressure cooker.  They can be baked in in the oven, they can store frozen food, I boil milk in them to flash pasterize before making yogurt, so I am sure a microwave wouldnt faze one, of course you would just take off the metal lid first.  
 
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A week ago I saw some Weck glasses on sale so I bought two big ones and four smaller ones for little cash, complete with pins and rubbers. They were all of the variety in the OP's picture, front.
They are more practical because you can get things out easily and bake cake in it.
I did not buy the half-liter bottles because I was already carrying lots of stuff (I use public transport to go downtown) and because I reuse bought tomato-sauce bottles to can my own tomato-sauce (much less than what I use in a year, so I have to buy a lot more).

But to be honest, although being a German I am no Weck canning expert, there was no canning tradition in my family. You can get the jars in all sizes at a reasonable price, you get the rubbers in most supermarkets, and sometimes you get jars in a household sale. They are very popular, even among younger people.
Until now I mostly made jam and reused normal jars (from peppers, olives, etc.)

I am looking forward to using my Weck jars next summer for canning, and in the meantime might experiment with baking cake (one-size servings).

BTW, when we bought our house it had been deserted for about seven years. The previous owner fell sick, moved to a residence, never came back. The house and little shed were full of furniture and stuff, including seeds and preserves in the garden shed. The big Weck jars contained preserved plums, and I opened and ate them (DH was too afraid). I love preserved plums, and they were from our own garden!
ETA: I could kick myself for not keeping those big Weck jars. When we needed space and I had no idea of preserving, I gave them away.

You might know that canning in German is using the brand name Weck: "einwecken" (to weck) :-)
 
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I don’t know if I’m normal or not, but it sounds like I am being lumped in with other Americans.  I am an engineer and design thing simple to protect the least common denominator because of lawyers have run amuck in my area.  Sitting in front of a jury while a lawyer scolds you for building a dangerous piece of equipment and that his client deserves millions of dollars for a finger nail is hard to deal with.  I can’t help that he tied a string to the handle so he could reach his hand in there.

We use ball style because they are so cheap or free.  Less and less people in our area can food.  They give us or sell us their old equipment all of the time.  I can usually buy 12 quart jars for $1. I have new jars and lids stuck everywhere. I was talking to a well-educated man one day and he thinks I’m crazy for doing all that work when you can buy a can of beans or carrots for $.33 at Walmart. We usually have over 500 jars full of something in the cellar.  We can beats, beans, carrots, peas, jams, beef, chicken, and rabbit.  We also use the old lids to store brandy, old cooking grease/oil, dry foods, maple syrup, sorghum, and next year’s seeds.  Most of the stuff we can is only the cost of the energy to do it.  We like to keep busy doing things so canning is just part of life for us.  The weck jars we have most of the rubbers go soft in about 2 years.  I can only find them at one place in our area.  They are more than $.33 a piece.   I don’t have a credit card so the web is not an option.  Debt free sometimes has a few drawbacks.

There are probably other places in my area to get the rubbers, but I don't go shopping often.
 
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Ball & Kerr are cheaper than Weck, and, along with their lids & rings vs the rubber gaskets, more widely available, here. I had never even heard of Weck, until I was in my 30s, and mine were a family of putter-uppers. That said, for many years, my family also used paraffin, instead of lids, for jams & jellies. I never did, because by the time I started doing it, on my own,  I knew I didn't like the way it felt in my mouth, when I missed a bit, opening it up. Then, I learned about the rest of the reasons it was never going to be used. But, most commonly used, in my family, were old mayonnaise, pickle, jam, and other jars. I remember asking my Great Aunt once, why she didn't have new jars, like my mom bought. She asked me why mom wasted her money on new jars, and rolled her eyes, when I told her mom read something somewhere, about the government saying it wasn't safe to use old ones, from store bought food. I save & reuse jars, unless it's mostly for gifts, then I buy the 'jewel' patterned ones, to add a little sparkle. Sometimes, I like to use the standard ones, for uniformity, for storage and measurement. Someday, if I decide to upgrade, I'd really love to have Weck. But frankly, right now, it just feels like 'free' makes more sense, for me, than buying any of them.
 
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I'd love to use Weck jars but they're too expensive here. They're between $3 and $5 EACH new and I never see them used. And I inherited a large number of my Mason and Ball jars. They may not be as thick as Weck jars but mine have lasted through at least two generations of families that can and preserve. That's about 50 years of use so far. I occasionally have a jar break but I have a LOT of jars so one expects a small amount of loss over several decades. I freeze food in the jars all the time too and, again, I occasionally have a jar that breaks because I'm not very careful but overall, the rate of breakage is very, very low. Another point of canning is that it is something I do to preserve large amounts of food and one of the goals is a lower cost for the finished product. Free or cheap jars is part of the equation since I'm using a LOT of jars.  
 
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Wesley Kohn wrote:
1. Ball/Kerr jars require annual purchases and are fragile.
2. They cannot be stably stacked.
3. The lids are are a one time use and, per some sources, have a shelf life.
4. You cannot reheat the food in the jar.
5. You cannot freeze in the jar.



adding my 2 cents
1. We never buy new jars... all the "older" members of the family are downsizing and no longer can... we get jars given to us all the time, and we never say no.  We have enough stashed away for eternity, and very few break each year.  Every now and again if I see jars for a really good price at a garage sale, I pick them up.  They have to be less than $0.10 each.  My family used old mayonnaise jars growing up, but I think that they changed the lids on those to a "non-standard" (non-ball/kerr) sized lid and many transitioned to plastic.
2.  Stacking: Agreed- storage can be a pain due to stacking issues.  We have found that the half and 3/4 pint jars fit nicely in the plastic crates that are used for shipping carbonated beverages.  I have found a bunch of decent condition pepsi ones in a local dumpster.
3. Lid reuse: We only use "used" lids for boiling bath canning, and only use new for pressure canning.  We get a few jars that do not seal, so we immediately throw that lid in the recycling and refrigerate the jar for use within a few days or to process in the next canner load.  REMEMBER to NOT put jars from the fridge into hot water though!!! That's a sure way to break them.
4.  We microwave in ball jars.  Lid and ring off, pop it in the microwave to reheat veggies.  No issues.
5.  My wife makes freezer jam and freezes in ball 1/2 pint, 3/4 pint and pint jars (wide and narrow mouth).  No issues.
 
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growing up in the mid 70's i remember canning jars with glass lids with a metal device fixed to the neck of the jar that sealed/ locked the lids/ rings by clamping down on the top of the lids. don't remember the brand but they came in tinted colors as well as clear. they were very heavy construction. i remember my mother using them until i left home. their seals looked the same as on the wecks. they were thick and very tough rubber. anyone ever see these? bet they are very collectable nowadays esp. the blue tinted ones.
mostly came in quart sizes.
 
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They used to have them here in the USA many many years ago. I have several that are probably close to 100 years old, given the family house they are from.  They are all thick glass, many with a slightly green tint, with glass lids and rubber washers, which one can replace if needed. Yeah , I agree: money money money, PLUS (and this goes with money) we live in a "disposable economy." I rememeber back around 1970, a book came out saying that our country was moving towards a more "consumer", ie, consume-and-have-to-buy-more, economy.

 
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I don't think Mason and Ball jars are hard to stack. Of course 1/2 pint and wide mouth pint jars are designed to be stacked. But if I want to stack other jars, I just use a pieces of sturdy cardboard or thin plywood or old metal signs in between layers. Smaller pieces work best. Like a section for jams and a different section for canned tomatoes so I can keep things organized. Also, I don't stack glass jars in tall towers whether they are Mason jars or Weck jars.
 
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Thomas Dean wrote:Every now and again if I see jars for a really good price at a garage sale, I pick them up.  They have to be less than $0.10 each.



I started from "no jars" a few years ago, and started picking up jar deals at garage sales.  A lot of people in my area try to price their jars at about half "new retail" -- so, five to seven dollars a dozen.  You recognize these people because they have the same jars on offer at their next garage sale a year later.  I have indeed seen pints and narrow-mouth quarts for a dime apiece (usually in a box of fifteen or twenty mismatched jars for a buck or two) but good wide-mouthed quarts are a little more dear.  Even so, two or three dollars a dozen is not hard to find.  I agree that changing demographics means that fewer people are canning and old jars are a common item for middle-aged people to be getting rid of as they get rid of stuff from their parents' generation.  

Honestly, I look a lot harder at garage sales for rings and lids.  Rings are close to six bucks a dozen at Walmart for cheap Chinese ones that corrode instantly.  An old coffee can full full of vintage rings in perfect condition for a buck?  Now that's the deal I live for.  A lot of times I can fish a double handful of vintage rings out of an estate sale kitchen junk box and the seller person will ask me for a quarter.  
 
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Thomas Dean wrote:

Wesley Kohn wrote:
...
2. They cannot be stably stacked.
...



...

2.  Stacking: Agreed- storage can be a pain due to stacking issues.  



When I was a kid, new jars sold by the case came in heavy cardboard boxes that were perfect for storing large quantities in a small compact stack.  Now they come in a low cardboard flat and shrink wrap, so you've got nothing to store them in once you unpackage them.

There is one purchased storage box solution that I can highly recommend from a functionality perspective.  The Victorio quart jar storage boxes on Amazon are heavy glossy cardboard, they fold together sturdily, and the inside flaps are extra long with a pre-made crease so that you've got a cardboard lid extension that drops down between the jars to keep them from rattling together when your box of jars gets jolted.  

The downside is price.  I haven't found them anywhere for less than about five bucks for a box that holds six wide-mouth quarts.  That's a storage solution that costs more than the jars (used jars) or almost as much (new jars) on a per-jar basis.  Does that make economic sense?  Well, I think it depends on your resources and constraints.  These stack really well, they protect the jars from all kinds of abuses, and they are fairly attractive compared to brown cardboard.  Plus, if you keep them dry there's no reason to think they won't last as long as you and your jars do.  If you need a way to tuck jars away securely and compactly, I think they might pay for themselves.  If you are in an apartment or small home and need to store your jars in spaces exposed to human traffic, the breakage-protection alone might be worth it.  When my ninety-pound rescue dog thumps her wrecking-ball tail of destruction against these boxes, I don't even cringe, whereas the thought of her doing the same to a row of unprotected jars on an open shelf doesn't bear thinking about.

jar-boxes.jpg
Boxes for storing canning jars
Boxes for storing canning jars
 
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It was interesting to read all opinions on why Americans don't use Weck jars. I understand they use the cheaper American jars. And here (in the Netherlands as well as in Germany) we use Weck, because that's the available brand.
I had many of those large (1 liter) Weck jars long ago. But gave them all away. They were too large for me.
I often make jams, pickles and fermented foods now, but then I always use used jars (of jam, peanut butter, pasta sauce, etc.), the type that's shown on the photo in the second post of this thread. They are the right size.
 
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I remember my mom in France canning with these. They are expensive, yes, but considering that you don't have to replace the lid and ring, they are probably cheaper in the long run.
The main reason that I'm using the ball and lids is that this is what is available here. You really have to hunt for the all glass ones with the red rubber, and they are ex-pen-sive!
Every once in a while, one comes my way and I keep it preciously. Here, you can get some ceramic containers with a ceramic top and a rubber seal. They sell cheese in them.
I considered canning with them but I don't think the ceramic would hold well in the pressure cooker ;-]. I do use them exclusively for my sweet pickles though, and they last and last an last!
I probably could use them for the sauerkraut I make every few years but I just don't have enough of them.
You do need to be careful with the glass lid though: If you drop it, make sure you check for any cracks/ chips along the seal!
 
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You can order weck jars in the US, and I did so, because, resuale seals and cute jars.
They are OK for water bath canning and absolutely suck for pressure canning. Even using 4 clips as recommended when pressure canning, the seals extrude and then no seal is made. Secondly, once you break the seal, you only have a lid that sits on top the jar . So when your kid flings the fridge door open, the lid on the jelly jar goes flying across the kitchen . Unless you keep clips on it, which are kind of a pain.

Mason jars are way cheaper, seal more reliably under pressure, and are easy to obtain locally.

Incidentally, you can reuse the Mason jar lids by boiling them. Once it's hot, the red sealant will melt back into the edges of the lid. As long as you don't bend up the lid, you can get 3 or 4 uses out of it.


Cori
 
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Question. Several people have posted about the Ball jar rings (and lids) being an added cost. For me, the lids are an added cost but I've never purchased rings. My question is, when you store your canned goods, do you store with the rings on or off. I was taught to store with the rings off so I always have a huge box of extra rings. So, do you store with the rings on the jar or do you remove the ring when storing?
 
Cori Warner
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Laurie, I always save the rings, too.
 
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Another reason I think Mason jars are more popular is that you can make fermented foods in them too, not just canning. The rings make it possible to make beer, wine, mead, pickles of all kinds, kvass, etc...
 
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i buy new jars and lids for jams/jellies/fruit that we sell.  I get used jars free or 12 for 2.00 used at the Goodwill for personal use.  I also reuse my lids as long as they look "as new".  Even though I know that this is not recommended, it's very common in my community.  I am kind of particular when it comes to some "rules" of (American) canning and others, I do not pay attention to, I just do it the way that I (and everyone else in the community) have always done it.  There are some things that others in my community (as far as canning goes) do that I won't do though lol.  

As far as rings go, I never store my jars with the rings on.  I save and reuse them year after year.  That's the way it's done in my community.  
 
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Laurie Meyerpeter wrote:Question. Several people have posted about the Ball jar rings (and lids) being an added cost. For me, the lids are an added cost but I've never purchased rings. My question is, when you store your canned goods, do you store with the rings on or off. I was taught to store with the rings off so I always have a huge box of extra rings. So, do you store with the rings on the jar or do you remove the ring when storing?



You're supposed to store them with the rings off. Otherwise, any moisture that gets trapped in the ring will rust it and the lid, both.
 
T.J. Stewart
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Carla Burke wrote:

Laurie Meyerpeter wrote:Question. Several people have posted about the Ball jar rings (and lids) being an added cost. For me, the lids are an added cost but I've never purchased rings. My question is, when you store your canned goods, do you store with the rings on or off. I was taught to store with the rings off so I always have a huge box of extra rings. So, do you store with the rings on the jar or do you remove the ring when storing?



You're supposed to store them with the rings off. Otherwise, any moisture that gets trapped in the ring will rust it and the lid, both.



I knew that there was a good reason (other than "that's just the way we do things" lol) that I was taking the rings off, I had just totally forgotten the reason.  Glad that you were able to post the answer to "why".  
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Laurie Meyerpeter wrote:Question. Several people have posted about the Ball jar rings (and lids) being an added cost. For me, the lids are an added cost but I've never purchased rings. My question is, when you store your canned goods, do you store with the rings on or off. I was taught to store with the rings off so I always have a huge box of extra rings. So, do you store with the rings on the jar or do you remove the ring when storing?




I always remove the rings, but after the jars have cooled. This way, if one has not sealed, I may be able to detect it because it will take effort to remove it. Careful when you stack the jars without the rings on though: I like to put a flat board on top of a number of jars, then I can stack another layer on top: they won't budge that way: The bottom of the jars are not flat and the tops are not flat either, so placing a flat layer between the two makes it less wobbly.
Also, you can keep using the same dozen rings for all your canning. Give them a rinse and a good dry before you store them and they will be ready to go.
Rings that stay on the jars tend to rust faster because you cannot dry the area between the ring and the lid. The moisture that is trapped there will make short work of the ring if you keep that canned venison... say 2 years. [Ask me how I know].
I know I can sometimes reuse the lids, but you really have to inspect them carefully. If the red or gray rubber was seriously crushed in the previous canning session, no amount of boiling will safely restore it. You will have to weigh the probability that it won't seal against the price of a lid and the effort you put into all these goodies. Same thing with reusing these commercial jars that are neither pints nor quarts, even though these are not as crushed as what I can do.
 
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Carla Burke wrote:

Laurie Meyerpeter wrote:Question. Several people have posted about the Ball jar rings (and lids) being an added cost. For me, the lids are an added cost but I've never purchased rings. My question is, when you store your canned goods, do you store with the rings on or off. I was taught to store with the rings off so I always have a huge box of extra rings. So, do you store with the rings on the jar or do you remove the ring when storing?



You're supposed to store them with the rings off. Otherwise, any moisture that gets trapped in the ring will rust it and the lid, both.



That is the prevailing advice.  I do not follow it, however.  I strive to store my jars in a dry place, and old-style high-quality rings have not rusted for me under those conditions.  (The new poorly-made Chinese ones sometimes do.)  I also feel that the rings protect both the lids and the rim of the jars.  It's very easy for small mistakes in jar handling to pop the seal of an unprotected lid, and/or to chip the rim or threads of the jar.  The ring is armor against that risk.  In sum, I don't feel that my food storage is secure unless there is a ring on every jar.  

 
Dan Boone
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:
Rings that stay on the jars tend to rust faster because you cannot dry the area between the ring and the lid. The moisture that is trapped there will make short work of the ring if you keep that canned venison... say 2 years. [Ask me how I know].



Just to clarify my procedure, which is what my mother honed doing endless cases of Yukon river salmon with a lot of help from her children: when the jars have cooled and all the lids have popped indicating a good seal, I take the rings off the jars and wash (or wipe with a damp cloth) the outside of the jars, rims, and lids.  I will typically rinse the rings at this time also.  Then I let the rings, lids, and jar exteriors thoroughly air-dry.  (The less handling the better.)  Then I return the rings to the jars, once everything is dry.  The rings go on quite loosely; there's no reason to cinch them down.  Then the jars go into dry storage.
 
Carla Burke
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Dan Boone wrote:

Carla Burke wrote:

Laurie Meyerpeter wrote:Question. Several people have posted about the Ball jar rings (and lids) being an added cost. For me, the lids are an added cost but I've never purchased rings. My question is, when you store your canned goods, do you store with the rings on or off. I was taught to store with the rings off so I always have a huge box of extra rings. So, do you store with the rings on the jar or do you remove the ring when storing?



You're supposed to store them with the rings off. Otherwise, any moisture that gets trapped in the ring will rust it and the lid, both.



That is the prevailing advice.  I do not follow it, however.  I strive to store my jars in a dry place, and old-style high-quality rings have not rusted for me under those conditions.  (The new poorly-made Chinese ones sometimes do.)  I also feel that the rings protect both the lids and the rim of the jars.  It's very easy for small mistakes in jar handling to pop the seal of an unprotected lid, and/or to chip the rim or threads of the jar.  The ring is armor against that risk.  In sum, I don't feel that my food storage is secure unless there is a ring on every jar.  



I happen to agree with you, on this. However, in humid climes, it can be difficult to keep *all* the humidity at bay. A few things I do, to mitigate said humidity:
Once everything is thoroughly cooled and checked for vacuum & leaks, I remove the rings, carefully & thoroughly dry the jars - especially the threads, take equal care with the rings, & replace the rings on the jars. Then, I pack the jars into totes, and dump about a cup of raw, dry rice around them, before sealing the tote.
 
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