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Using Canning Jars in the Freezer

March 6th, 2010

I like to use wide mouth canning jars for freezing vegetables, soups and stocks. Wide mouth canning jars are much cheaper than the glass containers you buy for freezing and food storage. Generally you can get them for less than a dollar a piece, which makes them an economical option if you’re wanting to move away from plastic when it comes to food storage because of BPA and chemicals leeching into food. It can be a bit pricey to replace all your plastic with pyrex, but at about $10/dozen, canning jars are a less expensive option.

You may worry about freezing in glass because of the possibility of breakage, but there are a few things you can do to minimize this chance. Do not fill jars all the way, most wide-mouth canning jars have a “freeze fill line” marked on the side of the jar. Using smaller jars also helps, with less liquid you don’t have to worry as much about expansion and the possibility of breaking the jar. The larger the jar the more expansion room you’ll need to allow. I freeze in jars often and have only had a broken jar once, it was my fault for filling it too full and not allowing enough expansion room. (another note, make sure the stock or veggies are cold before putting into freezer)

I prefer using half-pint and pint jars since they’re small and for a family of 2 they’re the perfect size. When I freeze chicken stock I reduce the stock to double strength and freeze in pints, this means each pint of stock is actually a quart, I simply add an extra pint of water to the recipe. This helps saves on freezer space and allows me to use the smaller pint jars.

Another reason I like using canning jars is because I can save my used lids and give them second life. I hate one-use items, it feels to wasteful so throwing them away. I have a box in the basement with canning lids that didn’t get too bent during opening. By doing this I don’t have to have tons of the plastic one piece lids around either, which can be expensive and they take up more space. Using glass jars also keeps me from using plastic zipper bags for items like corn & beans. Every time I can use a reusable glass jar instead of plastic is happy day for me.

What’s your container of choice when it comes to the freezer? Have you ever used canning jars for freezing?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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