An Unexpected Source for Canning Jars 25

canning, preserving, jars, grocery, spaghetti, marinara, If you’re planning to try your hand at preserving your garden bounty this summer, but still shopping the grocery store aisles until then, consider choosing products that come in glass canning jars. These jars have threads that will accommodate canning lids and rings so that rather than simply recycling the glass, the jars can be added to your collection. I have quite a few of these kinds of jars. The only drawback is that the labels leave a sticky residue, but that’s a small price to pay for being able to use the jar over and over again. Both Classico and Barilla pasta sauces come in canning-type jars (Classico has a few organic options, too) as do certain brands of fruits. I’m sure selection varies by region, but look for glass jars that have raised measurement markings on the outside.

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25 thoughts on “An Unexpected Source for Canning Jars

  • Jane

    I found myself completely out of glass jars to store the stash of dried beans I brought home from the store last night. This post about re-purposing glass jars popped into my mind. Now my dried beans are being housed in clean spaghetti sauce jars via my recycling bin. Thanks!

  • Kris Bordessa Post author

    Jane, if you’re just using the jars for dried goods like beans and pasta, we also like to recycle our glass peanut butter jars for that.

  • Hilda

    So good to know! Classico is my favorite spaghetti sauce, and I’ve just been tossing these jars in the recycling bin. I’ll have to pass this tip along to gardening friends, who often do quite a bit of canning.

  • Julie

    I have picked up the habit of saving my jars (Classico, Prego, etc.) several months ago and use the jars to store dry goods such as coffee beans (I go through A LOT of coffee beans) and pasta. I even make cold brew coffee with my jars every once in a while.

    I don’t think I would use my jars for canning anytime soon, but the Classico webpage warns consumers not to reuse their jars for canning because they technically are “real” canning jars so there is a danger of the jars exploding during the canning process. I don’t know how much truth there is to their warning (maybe Classico is just trying to discourage consumers from saving their jars for fear that they’ll wake up one day and decide to make their own homemade pasta sauces :P)

    As for the label’s sticky substance, I usually fill up a large container with hot water and let my jars soak for up to an hour. I’ve found the Classico and Prego jar labels will slide right off and the stick residue will scrub off easily with some warm-hot water and soap.

  • earnesto

    ok I agree… mostly all GLASS jars are recyclable as canning jars, as long as they can be sterilised but the problem that I am having is finding lids that fit most of them… the recycled MASON jars lately have had the chutney style lids which is harder to find replacements for (these are the lids that only require the 1/4 turn to seal and have something like 3 or 4 crimpped parts on the lid lip) and another issue is that many of the jars are 58mm wide as opposed to the standard (regular size) of 63mm (or so), making it VERY difficult to find replacement ball brand lids. (the Ball regular lid is just a few millimeters too large for ~75% of the glass jars that we get at the store)if anyone has an answer of a source for fitting lids please email me or post it in this forum.
    -Thanks whatsaduckfor[at]yahoo[dot]com

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Earnesto, you simply can’t reuse the “other” non-Mason type jars for canning. You won’t get a good seal with the lids/rings that are available to consumers for reuse. I don’t know of anywhere to get the lids that do work with those jars, and even if I did, I don’t know if I’d use them. The glass on some of them is pretty thin and may not hold up to high heat. Stick with the Mason-type jars you get spaghetti sauce in for canning and use the others to store dry goods or for freezing (with LOTS of head space).

  • earnesto

    as for removing the sticky labels…
    try this:
    1) use a few drops of olive oil to soak into the glue then…
    2)scrape with a non-metallic scraper, then…
    3)soapy water and sponge…
    4)do this twice.

    this works every time

  • Dan M

    Just FYI, from Classico’s site FAQ:
    Can I reuse the Classico® jar for home canning?
    No. A coating is applied at the glass plant to reduce scratching and scuffing. If scratched, the jar becomes weaker at this point and can more easily break. This would increase the risk of the jar breaking when used for canning. Also, the lighter weight of our current jar could make it unsafe for home canning.

    • KrisBordessa

      Whoops, just saw this, Dan. I’m going to respectfully say: I bet this is a liability clause from Classico. The jars they use are Atlas brand canning jars – maybe they’re coated, but clearly they started out as canning jars or Atlas wouldn’t put their name on them. I’ve reused these for *years with no problem.

      • Bruce

        “Atlas wouldn’t put their name on them.”

        I believe Atlas has been out of business a long time – possibly longer than Classico has been around. Mason is no longer a protected name. Unless someone still owns the Atlas name as it relates to glassware, anyone can crank out jars with “Atlas” on it.

    • Dave Andrick

      I have used and reused Classico and Safeway house brand spaghetti sauce jars for hot packing sweet pickles for years. They are fine for the hot pack or the hot water bath, just don’t pressure can in them. You do run the risk of jar breakage trying that.

  • KenyonJamesHopkins

    Here’s a link to buy the lids for your jars:$.28 each in a case of 100. 

    • KenyonJamesHopkins

      And these are full threaded lids (not the 1/4 turn things).

    • KenyonJamesHopkins

       @KenyonJamesHopkins Other sizes available here

      • KrisBordessa

         @KenyonJamesHopkins Thanks for jumping in. I’d hoped that the link you shared would take me to a new source for bpa-free lids. Alas, these still have bpa. But could be a source for obscure jar sizes. 

  • JenniS

    Great idea, love the reduce-reuse approach, BUT I can’t find 56mm lids anywhere to fit my Classico jars.  Any suggestions?

  • LadyLillie

    To get the sticky residue off of the jar, get a product call simply citrus, it is in the aisle where the air freshener sprays are. The citrus oils will take the sticky residue off in no time. I use it on all kinds of price stickers and such. Works great, even works on taking the label off in the first place. Tear as much of the label off as you can and spray the rest. Peel the rest of the label off and if sticky stuff is left spray it again and then use a pad like a scotch brite with a little dish soap and it will all come off.

  • Chez Suz

    Put the jar in the dishwasher then use a majic eraser to remove residue.

  • Chez Suz

    I’m disappointed that the current jar size does not accommodate my Foodsaver system

  • MK

    I don’t use them for canning, but I use them for lots of other things. Mason jars are super popular for decorative purposes. I hot glue a burlap ribbon & insert a candle for a cute gift. I filled one with dog treats and attached a ribbon & cute label for a friend who got a new puppy. I store buttons & other sewing notions in them and, w/the addition of a ribbon & cute label, they provide functional and adorable storage on an open shelf in my sewing room. I put extra tea bags, extra coffee, extra sugar–extras of things that won’t fit in my regular canisters—it looks cuter and is more airtight than just putting the bag of sugar or flour in my pantry. I haven’t done this yet, but they would also be good for those “mix in a jar” gifts where you layer the dry ingredients (like sand art) & attach a label w/instructions to make into brownies, cookies, etc. Oh, and I spray paint the lids to make them look even better. One or two coats of whatever spray paint I have on hand. I spraypaint only the outside of the lid so there is no paint on the inside to make contact w/the food. You could probably also modgepodge burlap or other cute fabric on the lid to cover the original Clasico label. Sam’s makes several great flavors of salsa that also come in Mason jars (sold at Sam’s & at WalMart). I am sure the paint may scratch over time, but so far so good, and it is a great way to use things that I have. I bought some Mason jars to use for these purposes about a year ago, then as I was rinsing out salsa and spaghetti sauce jars & noticed that they said “Mason” on the side, I just figured it is a way to save a little money and to keep from sending them to the recycle plant. Better to recycle in our own homes:)

  • MK

    And a P. S. to that is that I have noticed that the candle-in-a-mason-jar-with-burlap-ribbon is a very popular decoration for wedding receptions. If someone is planning a wedding reception or any other big party where they will need a lot of decorations, what a great idea to spread the word to all friends & fam to save these jars to keep from buying them by the boatload!!!!

  • Kathy Francis

    I don’t buy many sauces but I reuse my honey jars (pint and quart size) and find coconut oil in pint jars. I’ve reused glass jars for years. Besides if you are freezing with them , you can use any glass jar as long as you have a lid that fits.

  • Kathy Francis

    I’ve tried canning using the all in one lid and ring that comes on my honey jars and found they do make a seal, but they are a booger to open, almost need a jackhammer.

  • Steve K

    I wouldn’t recommend using the Classico jars or any other non Mason jar for canning. First theres the labels. Unless you get everything off the jar clean down to glass that means no label and no glue you can run the risk of clogging the vent. While it is impressive to watch the very hot water slam into the ceiling from the blown pressure relief plug I wouldn’t risk it. As always make sure all jars are wiped clean of any spillage before putting in the canner as well as not filling jars too high for the same reason. Beyond the risk of not sealing well the non Mason jars are usually thin which would run a greater risk of breaking and possibly blowing the relief plug with water and whatever is being canned or worse. Of course the new Mason jars sold for canning are getting ridiculously thin these days so careful handling is even more important. That said I’ve had a few canning jars bust inside the canner over the years with no problem other than a mess to clean up.

    For canning jars I would suggest placing an ad in Craigslist or the like since so many people view the jars as no more than something to get rid of after grandma dies. The older jars are the best in my opinion since the sealing surface is much wider with the jar made of thicker glass. Might get usable rings, jar tongs, canner buggy and other canning stuff on the cheap too.

    Very nice site here.