Visit our Colorado State Extension office for more news, tools and resources.

Close Icon
The Pueblo County Extension office provides assistance and programs for citizens in five main areas: Agriculture, Horticulture, Family and Consumer Science, Natural Resources and 4-H Youth Programs.

Tips on Jars and Lids   arrow

regular jars with red line through them Let’s talk canning jars.  You should only use food safe regular or wide-mouthed glass jars that are approved for canning use.  It should say somewhere on the packaging something like: “approved for home canning”.  Recycled glass mayonnaise or jelly jars will not work for the home canning process.  When in doubt, stick to products from well-known canning brands such as Ball or Kerr.
regular and wide mouth jarsRegular vs. Wide Mouth.  You can use either a regular or wide mouthed jar with any recipe.  Regular mouthed jars typically work best with more liquid-y canned goods such as jams, jellies, applesauce and some fruits.  Wide mouth jars are easier to fill and allow you to maximize your container space with products such as pickles, green beans, and more solid fruits.
various sized of canning jarsJar Sizes. It is important to choose the correct jar size for the food that you are preserving.  Make sure to follow the size recommendations found on a tested recipe.  You can go down a size in jars and still process for the full amount of time as the recipe states.  You CANNOT process a jar size larger than the recipe states.
canning lid and ringLids. Canning lids consist of 2 parts: a self-sealing metal disk and a removable screw band.  The metal disk is what seals the contents into the jar and keeps the food preserved.  The screw band simply keeps the metal disk in place during processing or transportation.  The lid itself can only be used once, but the screw bands can be used multiple times as long as they are in good condition and not showing any signs of rust
canning jars in dishwasherJar Cleaning & Sterilization.  Jars should be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water before use.  You can also run them through a dishwasher.  If you are canning below 1,000 ft of elevation, jars also need to be sterilized by boiling them for 10 minutes before filling them.  If you are canning above 1,000 ft, the processing time is long enough that you don’t have to separately sterilize them.
canning jar with chipped edgeRe-using jars.  Canning jars can be reused many times as long as they are in good condition.  Each time you use them, examine them to ensure there are no chips or cracks in the glass.