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New Smooth-Sided Canning Jars

New Smooth Canning Jar - LivingHomegrown.com

I don’t know about you, but I hate how most canning jars make it impossible to easily label the side of the jar.

There are so many bumps, logos and designs that no smooth surface is left for a label – especially if you want to use a large one.

And I like to write on my jars with ink paint. Well, you can’t do that when it is covered with designs. (More on how to do that below.)

Sure, I can use a Weck jar, but they are too expensive to use in mass quantities. And yes there are a few other options out there that I am compare testing out now. (Results to come.)

But, one new jar has my attention already.

With 3/4 of the jar clean of logos and writing, you can label it any way you like.

Here is my review, plus a giveaway!

Smooth Canning Jars - LivingHomegrown.com

Orchard Road Jars

Orchard Road Canning Company is a small startup that just launched January 1st of this year. Prior to this launch, owner Mike Furmanski worked at Jarden (Ball and Kerr Canning) for 11 years in sales.

After working with the canning public all those years, he knows a thing or two about what we want in a jar. In fact, he is a canner himself – putting up about 50 pints of tomatoes every year.

So, Mike set out to create a jar that is tailored to the voice of the consumer. And having a jar with clean sides was one of the top priorities in the design.

Standard Sizes

I got some sample jars from Orchard Road to test and I found them to be heavy and solid like the more common canning jars. I then went on to buy several more boxes and after using all of them, I did not have any breaks, chips or seal failures.

They come in many of the standard sizes and all work with the universal canning lids and rings.

For regular mouth jars, they have half-pint (8 oz), pint (16 oz), and quart (32 oz).

For wide mouth jars, they have pint (16 oz) and quart (32 oz).

They are sold in sets of 6, which is nice for canners of small batches.

Smooth Canning Jars - LivingHomegrown.com

Dual Purpose Boxes

The boxes are color coded so that when stacked on a shelf, you can easily see what type of jar opening you have. The boxes for the regular mouth jars have yellow sides and tops and the wide mouth boxes are red. The lids are sold separately and their box colors match.

But my favorite part about the boxes is that they can also be reused many times to store your finished product and/or your empty jars.

The boxes are not glued shut (so they are not ruined when opened) and they have a solid top (unlike the plastic wrap top of other brands).

This may not be part of their intended design, but I also noted there is one side where a label could be placed over the scan code and be easily readable with a wide section of unprinted color.

Smooth Canning Jars - LivingHomegrown.com

Room to Write on the Lid

I like to write on my jar lids with a sharpie and when lids are covered with designs, there is no room to write. I love that the Orchard Road lids have a wide open space for me to use.

The Lids are BPA Free:

UPDATE: When I first wrote this post, Orchard Road could not say their lids were BPA free because they had not had them officially tested.

Well, they have been tested and they are BPA free. I just got confirmation from the company.

The lids are sold separately so you can still use any canning lid you want with these jars.

(You can read more about BPA in canning lids here.)

The Sealing Compound:

The plastisol gasket in the lid (the sealing compound) is made in Pennsylvania.

And in case you are wondering about how to use their lids after the whole canning lid procedure controversy, Orchard Road recommends that you DO warm their lids in simmering (not boiling) water before use.

Quick Note on Paint Pens:

Paint Pens on Canning Jars - LivingHomegrown.com

I learned about writing on jars (and bottles) from my friends at Sonoma Worm Farm. Years ago, they gave me a bottle of homemade wine with the label hand written. I loved it! So, now I use Sharpie Paint Pens* to label many of my jars.

It is oil based and stays on well. Just use rubbing alcohol to remove it later. It will come right off.

The Cons:

There is one thing about the Orchard Road jars that I know is a deal breaker for many.

Not Made in USA

The Orchard Road jars are not made in the USA at this time.

This is not because they didn’t consider it important. They did and they want to. But as a start up, they were unable to find a USA source that would manufacture their smaller quantities and keep a decent price point that people could afford. So, they had to have their jars produced in China.

However according to Mike, quality is of the utmost importance to them and they are working with very reputable plants in China who also producing many name brand bottles for American companies . And no, there is no lead in the glass.

Keep in mind that although some other major jar companies might tout their jars as being made in the USA, it does not mean all their canning products are American made.

I know I have been surprised to see “Made in China” on some other major product boxes like jam makers and canning tools. So remember, just because their jars are American made, does not mean all their other canning products are.

Smooth Canning Jars - LivingHomegrown.com

Where to Order & Cost:

Orchard Road got a slow start this year and missed the window to get into some of the larger stores. There are currently two online sources and next year they expect to be more widely distributed.

You can currently order from Filmore Container or Farm & Fleet.

For being a small start up company, their jar prices are comparable to the Ball jars. Since Ball jars are more readily available, you can find them slightly cheaper and you don’t have to pay shipping. But by next year, we should be able to find the Orchard Road jars in many local stores.

A box of 6 Orchard Road jars runs around $0.83/pint jar. At my local store, the same size Ball jar runs $1.20/jar and on Amazon the equivalent Ball jar is $0.71/jar when on sale.

Giveaway:

The comments will remain open, but there is no longer a giveaway.

Orchard Road has generously offered to give away one 6-jar box to one of you! And the best part is that once you win, YOU get to pick the size jar you want.

To enter:

Just leave a comment answering this question:

What is your most favorite canned recipe?

It can be anything from a special pickle to a summer jam. Just tell me what it is. And it doesn’t even have to be something that you made yourself. It can be something you got as a gift or your mother used to make, etc. Just describe what it was and what was so special about it. If you don’t have a favorite, just say “I’m in!” as your comment and I will count you as an entry.

Only one comment per person is counted.

Due to spam, I have to approve your comment. So there will be a time delay between when you comment and when you see it under the post. But don’t worry, it’s there and will be counted before I pick the random winner.

The giveaway is over ends Wednesday, September 10th at midnight PST and you must be a US resident to enter.

All the official details are below:

This contest closes at 11:59 PM (PST) September 10, 2014. Sorry but the contest is only open to residents of the United States. The winner will be selected randomly and notified by email. Each winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be selected. Once the winner is confirmed, it will be announced here. The winner will receive one 6-jar box of Orchard Road jars, lids and rings. The winner gets to pick what size jar they want before shipping. 

Good Luck!

* Denotes an affiliate link.

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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.