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How You Can Score Some Free Canning Jars

>26 June 2010
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I’ve recently discovered that some products bought at the grocery store in glass jars can be re-used for canning! Isn’t that great?! One brand in particular is Classico Spaghetti Sauce. Their product comes in an Atlas brand mason jar. You have to be careful, not all glass jars will fit a standard mason lid, but the 24 oz Classico sauce jars do. With brand new mason jars costing an average of over .50 a piece in the store, it would be worth your time to see if you can collect some of these free ones.

If you have a recycling facility in your area, it wouldn’t hurt to see if they’d let you have some of their glass jars. Just take a mason lid and ring with you, to make sure that they will fit on the jars you find!

Free jars! Yet another way to save money on canning your own food!

Do you recycle glass jars to can in? Do you know of another brand which uses mason jars that can be re-used for canning?

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46 Comments »

  • Debbie Miller said:

    Thats great to know! Thanks so much.

  • Tonya Smith said:

    If you buy local honey, most of those jars are reusable.

  • Lisa said:

    That’s a fantastic idea! I hadn’t realized that the lids would fit, and am always fighting to get the odors out of the lids. I never win! But I collect glass jars for our family to use as drinking glasses. They’re more durable than drinking glasses, and if they do break, it’s no big deal. I personally use the Classico jars for drinking water because they’re so nice and large and don’t need refilled as often. Other jars I use for drinking glasses are from things like pickle relish and jalapeno peppers. I use smaller 4 oz. jars from pimentos for storage of small arts and craft items (baby food jars work well also). I turn the filled jars upside-down in my desk drawers so I can see what’s inside through the bottoms. Smaller jelly, jam, and fruit spread jars work well for pencil, pen, and paint brush holders, and for juice glasses. And the wider green olive jars work well for holding water for painting. You can just pop the lid on when you’re finished doing a little bit of painting.

  • Amanda said:

    I’ve heard that you shouldn’t can in the jars that commercial products are sold in. The glass isn’t as durable, and you have a higher chance of them breaking. I hate loosing a quart of food when the jar breaks during processing, so I haven’t dared try. Anyone else heard this?

    Either way, I try to avoid buying store canned products because they are so expensive. It’s cheaper to score jars at thrift stores and yard sales. My family and friends even keep an eye out for me. The best deals they have found just this year range from free to $.25 a jar. That’s way cheaper than overpriced spaghetti sauce. Heck, brand new ball or mason jars are cheaper than the spaghetti sauce jars at my grocery store…and that’s figuring out the cost of the sauce in the jar.

  • tarena said:

    nice! I save EVERYTHING that we buy in glass. My hubby teases me, but they come in so handy to put leftovers in, use for science projects, decorate the house, give flowers to a neighbor, catch a bug in, put tadpoles in…ya know-all the good stuff in life! =)

  • shannon said:

    I save my jars and fill them with used grease from cooking. I store them in the fridge and then when full, I throw them away. I’m only throwing away one jar every month or every other month doing this. We recycle everything else. It saves my drains, though.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Amanda,

    I’ve heard from several people who have been successfully re-using these jars for years. I know all brands aren’t the same, but the “Atlas” jars that Classico uses are good. You are right, it wouldn’t save you any money to buy the spaghetti sauce just to keep the jar, but if you can get them for free from another resource, that’s what you need to be doing!

  • shannon said:

    Oh, and all of my canning and preserving books say not to use commercial jars due to breakage.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Tarena,

    LOL! I do the same thing :) Even the jars that don’t take mason lids, I figure I could store dried goods in them too!

  • barbara gantt said:

    I use jars like the classico one to can with a water bath. Fruit juice, applesauce, peaches……there is less danger of breakage using them in the water bath. Pressure canning can cause a jar to break . Better to be safe than sorry, Barbara

  • Lanna said:

    There’s some kind of pasta sauce at Safeway that my mom gets that also fits regular mason lids. I *have* saved my glass Del Monte jars from peaches I’ve bought at Costco, and while the lids aren’t a standard size, I just wash everything up and re-use the lid and jar for dehydrated goodies so I don’t need to worry about a brand new seal every time.

  • Jeff said:

    I checked out the Classico web site and found this in the FAQ section: “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. ”

    I’m still inclined to use them though.

  • Tiffani said:

    My grandma always re-uses mayonaise jars, any brand works with a regular quart lid. She also re-uses spaghetti sauce jars the Grandessa brand from Aldi’s is the newest one we’ve discovered that works well.

  • Katie Dickinson said:

    Classico Spaghetti Sauce is made and distributed by Heinz (as are most sauces, soups, condiments and pickled items in the country.) Did you know when you shop at Aldi’s or purchase the generic chicken broth, it all comes from Heinz? I happen to know this as I live in Pittsburgh (Heinz HQ) and an acquaintance shops at the Employee store where any item that did not fit in a shipment or has a label askew is sold to employees for .25 cents a case. WOW. All that being said, Heinz pioneered glass food preservation and I am told all of their jars will take a mason lid and a beating. If I can come up with a list of products from Heinz, I will post it.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Katie-

    Thanks for the info!! The spaghetti sauce we get from Aldi’s is called “Grandessa”, and does NOT take a mason jar lid. I wonder if there is another type that does, from Heinz?

  • Felicia said:

    Here are some great ideas for storage of your bulk food purchasing.

    http://www.sacramentograpevine.com/blog/view/id_351/title_kitchen-storage-for-bulk-purchasing/

  • Karen said:

    I have used these jars in the pressure canner with no problems. I still have mayo jars that I have used for years (back when they were made of glass). The only breakage I have had were in “canning” jars and I have been canning for years.

  • George said:

    I used the Classico jars for canning dill pickles sliced lengthwise for use on burgers and sandwiches. Full Ball quart size jars are too big and pint size too small for this use. The Classico jars are just right and new Ball lids and rings work just right and seal just fine.

  • christine From North Dakota said:

    Jars That can be used for Canning will have The Ball B or an M circled on the bottom. These are the ones I’ll use for Pressurer canning. Other jars I’ll use for Boiling Water Bath Canning. Yes there is an occasional breakage But That is also true of “real” Canning Jars as the Age. I got many of my jars at houshold or estate auctions. Best buy seven large boxes with a mix of old jars (I collect) and clear jars (I use) for 2 Dollars.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Wow, good tip Christine! And great deal at the auctions!! I need to be going to them too!

  • Mae said:

    I use a lot of jars for storage. I can’t bring myself to throw most jars away. I found several 2 quart canning jars when cleaning out my in-law’s home. Some are the old blue jars with the zinc lids, I use them for pretty. But the others even though they are older I use for to store coating mixes, bread crumbs, etc. they fit in my cabinet much better than some of the plastic containers (they are square instead of round. I make my own taco seasoning, onion soup mix, seasoned salt in pint jars. I keep dried herbs in small jars like the ones bullion comes in. If you try you can re-purpose most glass jars and even some plastic ones. Another tip I have is glass jars make really pretty candle holders. I use all different sizes and add a plain white votive candle. They look really pretty sitting on a widow seal on a cold winter’s night, just don’t let them burn down to the metal wick end.

  • Gail said:

    The Classico website says in the their first Q&A that these jars cannot be used for canning.

  • Rob said:

    Hi,
    I am intrested in the Classico jars for home canning. I read on another post that the new Clasico jars will not work for canning. Is this true? Has anyone tried canning in any new jars? Are the threads or openings different?
    Thanks for your info.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Rob, I’m not sure how “new” the new jars are, but the ones I have from about three months ago are compatible with standard mason lids and rings. I haven’t tried canning in them yet, but the only problem you *may* encounter would be an occasional jar breaking. People say you aren’t supposed to do it, but I’ve heard from several others who have been doing it for years.

  • Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage said:

    I have some atlas jars that I got second hand. I thought they were regular canning jars so used them as such. No problem yet. You know, anything official has to say not to use them because of potential lawsuits and such. People are too sue happy.

    Blessings,
    Laura

    P.S. I just found your site today. It’s going in my sidebar favorites.

  • Rob said:

    Thanks for the responces. I just canned a load of tomatoes using the pressure canner. All 8 of the jars we the 24 oz. classico jars. All jars are sealed and they work great. Thanks!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Great Rob!! Thank you for letting us know! I’m glad to hear that none of them broke, and they are all sealed and good to go. :)

  • Melody D said:

    I have a bunch of those Classico jars that I’ve saved and I finally worked up the guts to try one for applesauce. Worked great, sealed properly- even with a Tattler lid. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to try one in the pressure canner though.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    I know what you mean, Melody! I think I’d probably just stick to water bathing too, for now, until I’m desperate enough to try the pressure canner. Glad it worked for ya!

  • Lu said:

    Atlas canning jars haven’t been made since the 60s, when the Hazel-Atlas company went under. They may say “Atlas,” but they are not the same jars.

  • Rob said:

    I do know classico jars are not “real” mason jars. I have many of the old Atlas jars also. I do use many comercial jars for pressure canning and I have been doing so for many years. (The USDA website does note this is safe however more jars might break) I would say that about 30% of my jars are not true mason jars but recycled comercial jars.
    Yes, I do have them break from time to time. However, many of my real mason jars are over 50 years old and they break from time to time also. I am using old jars such as, old Barnardin, presto, star mason, long life, mom’s mason,kerr,golden harvest, harvest time, ball perfect mason, atlas strong shoulder and others. This year I have been lucky and not had year jars break. Hopefully that will be true for the rest of this years canning season.

    I did find 32 ounce jars of classico sauce at Costco the jars seem heavy and I will be using them for canning soon.

  • Beth said:

    Learned today, next time you empty the plastic parmesan cheese container, save the lid – it fits perfectly on the regular mouth mason jars, and now you have a shaker :D

  • April said:

    I have had the Classico jars break in the canner, and lost food as a result.
    Our extension office recommends NOT to use them, as they have had many others tell them the same thing.
    OI did notice at Price Chopper awhile back some cheese sauce that was in a Bell canning jar. Sorry, I don’t remember the brand.

  • Tom Gotschall said:

    Sam’s Club also sells a 3-pack of 32 oz Classico brand whereby the glass jar says Atlas. These are reasonably priced and we’re using them for canning. I realize that the Classico website says they are not to be used for canning.

    This is interesting. They say not to use them for canning…but…
    1 MASON is on the jars.
    2 Standard mason lids and seals fit perfectly.
    3 Their weights are as much as other 32 oz mason jars.

    I’m personally comfortable with it.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Tom,

    Yeah, I totally agree. They are Mason jars. I think Classico is just covering their backs by not recommending their use for canning.

  • Kitty said:

    The National Center for Home Food Preservation says it is OK to use any commercial jar that a band and lid will fit for high acid foods. Since high acid foods are water bath canned, it follows that they should not be used in the pressure canner. They also mention that jars are weakened when scratched by metal utensils, so something like a mayo jar or big grape jelly jar is more likely to have that problem than a spaghetti jar that I clean out once with a rubber spatula. I have not tried any Classico jars yet, but have started to save them and certainly plan to use them. Further, my grandma and mom have reused all types for years with very little breakage. I am not saying the idea of a jar breaking does not bug me, because it does.I have not had it happen and am worried about what you do if it does happen. Do you let it all boil like that until the processing time is up, or do you stop and pull out the “good” jars, clean it all up, and start processing time again?

    http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/general/recomm_jars_lids.html

  • Louise said:

    Looking for the right lid for the Grandessa Jar for canning?????

  • Ma2Amber said:

    I’ve been canning for 44 years. I still have some of my moms’ and gmoms’ canning jars that I use every year. I also have several cases of the Classico sauce jars that I have used in BWB for applesauce adn I’ve pressure canned carrots in them for the past 6 years. Not one of them has broken. They are a great size and I plan to keep on using them. I need to gather up more of them! :)

  • Alejandro said:

    To all canner: Ball use to sell 1-1/2 pint jars (24 ozs) long long ago. They went bye bye. However, the Classico jars are the prefect size for canning pinto beans. They are my go to size when I can beans, stews and spicy carrots. I found that quarts are just to large for some foods(serving sizes)and pints just to small for others. I usually can in 1/2 pint, pint and 1-1/2 pint jars. This let me use my smaller pressure canner (8 qt.)

    I can usually get the right amount of serving sizes with (24 ozs) for three people and maybe four with a pint of something each thrown in to the mix.

    I diffently grab use Classico jars at yards sale and thift shop, but I have been purchase new jar when Sause is on sale and have coupons. Sometimes my Grocery store has a clearance sale on them and I load up.

  • Jeff said:

    I use these for water bath canning, tomatoes and pickles only and I dont know what to say about long pressure canning, probably not a good idea. I have at least 4 dozen and I bought all of mine with Classico Sauce. I like the sauce to be honest. Today, or should I say two weeks ago. August 2012 I bought the same 24 oz jar, and the lid was smaller. Regular mouth lid from Ball is too big… Nooooooooo,!!l lol But, I still like to collect them but I will need a special lid to use them for pickles and tomatoes, ( i dont think there is one for that size) . I like to use them for ice tea also, so it looks like that will still be a good use. Check it out, Ball regular lids will not fit anymore, or at least on the two jars I bought recently. -jeff

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Oh no! Thanks for that update, Jeff. Why’d they have to go and mess up a good thing, lol?!

  • Mrs. Fred said:

    I had the same experience, Jeff. Classico jars are changing, and the new jars don’t accommodate the regular canning lids (the openings are smaller). I complained to the company…

    I only do hot water bath canning (because I only do salsa and other high-acid foods), but I’ve used Classico jars alongside Ball canning jars for years and have never had one break. And I overprocess food (I always let my jars boil waaaaaay longer than the recipe recommends). Never had a problem with the Classico jars.

    Anyone who wants to let Classico know you don’t like the new jar design should fill out the form at https://www.classico.com/contact.aspx and let them know. (For what it’s worth, they sent me three coupons for 50 cents off a jar of Classico, so that may make it worth your time… ;-)

  • Eleanor said:

    I also emailed them from their website, Classico.com, and told them to Please, Please, Please bring back the reusable jars!!!

  • Jenny said:

    I just encountered the new Classico jars with smaller lids. Noooooooo! I have been pressure canning with them for several years with no problems what-so-ever. Two years ago I hesitantly decided to try pressure canning with the Classico lid. So far none of the seals have failed! I’m sooooo disappointed that they aren’t making them any more!
    I called to let them know, and they were very nice about it, but said that they changed the design because they had so many complaints about difficulty opening the bigger lids.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    That’s such a bummer, isn’t it, Jenny? What a waste of a perfectly good re-usable canning jar.

  • JB said:

    I’ll pretty much save and repurpose any jar or glass food/beverage container because I can and make wine and glass is the most chemically inert food storage device.

    Today its really difficult to find a commercial glass jar that fits a 70mm lid today irregardless of the type of banding used. Shrinking product sizes has contributed to this.

    Classico and the older mayo jars conveniently used the 2 piece banding while quite a few jars like the pint hot fudge jars and certain brands of salsa or spaghetti sauce used 1/2″ wide lug lids. If you saved the lug lid you could place it over and screw it down over a 70mm lid and successfully can an item.

    With that said I had very rare breakage failures with these jars having untempered glass in water bath canning provided they weren’t exposed to any thermal shock. Sterlize them from a warm water start and only hot pack them.

    As for the pint and a half canning jars Ball is making them again with wide mouth 83 mm lids.

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