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
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.
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.
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.
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