Living Homegrown

- The Podcast -

Live farm fresh

without the farm®

Preserve Like a Pro: Get my top sources for canning tools & supplies. (It’s free!)

LH 52: Canning Jar Usage & Storage

As we ease into canning season, everyone is thinking about pulling out their canning equipment. Yeah!

That’s caused an upswing in questions on tools and equipment lately. So in this episode, I tackle four of the questions I received on just canning jars and their storage.

I have to tell you that I love some of the interesting questions/topics people write to say they would like to see covered on the podcast, blog or even the TV show. We catalog every single question and use it to guide my content.

But…unfortunately, I can NOT answer each question individually.

I wish I could, but I can’t.

Between all  my channels, I get well over 100 questions per week. (And during peak canning season, I can get over 100 per DAY) It is impossible for me to answer those questions and run my business at the same time.

However, I do try to answer those questions on the podcast or in blog posts – especially when I get several questions asking the same thing.

In other words, your questions and requests guide my content. And very much appreciate knowing what you would like to see here.

In this episode, you learn:

  • Why you should include a jar ring with when you give away preserves
  • What I do with all those “one use” canning lids
  • How to prevent accidental re-use
  • Different options for storing uneaten preserves in the refrigerator
  • Why we check the rims of canning jars before each use
  • Tips for storing our jars so they stay organized and chip free

Here are the four questions covered in this episode:

Question #1:

From Colette: You mentioned that we should store our jars with the rings OFF. So what do you do when you give jars as gifts? Do you remove the lid or give it with the lid on?

It is true that I talk a lot about how we should store our preserves with the canning rings off. But when you give a jar as a gift, it is important to include a ring so that the recipient has a way to hold the lid on when they store the opened jar in the refrigerator.

You can include the ring in different ways:

  • Attach the ring loosely so that you do not disturb the seal
  • Leave the ring off the jar but tie it on with a decorative ribbon as part of the packaging
  • Use the ring to old on a decorative circle of fabric or flat coffee filter as part of the packaging

Also when you give the gift, you can use it as a teaching moment to educate the recipient about proper storage. If they are not going to open the jar right away, they should store it in the pantry with the ring off.

Question #2:

Rickey Asks: How do you store jars in the refrigerator? Which lids do you use?

My favorite go to lid on canned goods are the used lid and ring that come with the jars. They are easy and convenient.

In fact, I like to use canning jars and old “used” lids to store leftovers and other things in the refrigerator – not just canned goods.

Remember, a canning jar lid can only be used once for canning. This is because the rubber gasket in the lid become indented and might not make a good seal the second time.

But that same lid CAN be used to store dried goods on the pantry shelf or office supplies or even leftover dinner because in those instances, you are not trying to create a vacuum seal.

To prevent myself from accidentally reusing a “used” lid for canning, I use a sharpie to mark the tops of used lids with a big X. That way, I know they can only be used for general storage – NOT for canning.

I also like to use plastic Ball brand reusable lids or recap lids. (see links below)

And I sometimes use glass refrigerator dishes to store preserves. (see links below)

Question #3:

Stacy: Do I really have to check the rim of my canning jars every single time I can?

Yes, Stacy – it is important to verify that there are no nicks or chips on the rims of your canning jars. Any nicks can cause a seal failure (either during processing or later while the jar sits on the shelf).

It only takes a minute to visually examine each jar or run your finger (carefully) around the top of each jar.

If a jar does have a nick or chip, don’t throw it away. Just retire it from canning and use it for storing dry goods or other uses.

You can take an emery board (nail file) or some sandpaper and smooth out any rough chips so that you will not cut yourself. The nick will cause an air gap and seal failure. But it has not bearing on storing dry goods such as rice or dried beans or even office supplies.

Question #4:

Crystal asks: How do you store your jars so they don’t chip?

Since I can so much and have so much equipment, I’m kinda of over-the-top organized with my canning supplies. I store all my jars in plastic containers in my garage and they placed in a way that will not cause chipping. (single layers whenever possible)

I wrote all about it in this post on streamlining your canning.

It may not be practical for you to organize in the same way. But as long as you prevent your jars from crashing into each other, they should be fine. Stacking empty jars on a shelf or even in a single layer in a cardboard box works well.



Resources & Links Mentioned:

Why Store Canning Jars with the Rings OFF? – Episode 13

How I organize my canning jars

Using the KonMari Method of organizing for homesteading

Ball Brand Plastic Lids*

Weck Canning jar lids*

Refrigerator Dishes* – (reproductions of vintage containers)

Recap Lids – pour spout*

Recap Lids – flip top*




Click here for the full transcript for Episode #52

 * Denotes an affiliate link

Enjoy this podcast?

Sign up for updates & receive my free Canning Resource Guide

Preserve Like a Pro: Get my top sources for canning tools & supplies. (It’s free!)

About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy®. For 9 years, Theresa was the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.