My kingdom for a mason jar!
November 23, 2020 10:38 AM   Subscribe

"[T]here may be no better barometer of the state of our economy than the mason jar." Mason jars have been difficult to find this year, leading to counterfeits, fights on social media and price gouging. Here's a history of how the iconic mason jar was invented, and the factors that lead to a shortage about once per decade.
posted by rednikki (62 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Bonus: Marijuana is getting legalized all over the place and one of the best places to store marijuana is... in mason jars.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:46 AM on November 23, 2020 [5 favorites]

Looks like you need an "upgraded" membership at to read this article - is that correct?
posted by splitpeasoup at 10:47 AM on November 23, 2020


I don't even have a medium account, and it loads fine for me?
posted by deadaluspark at 10:50 AM on November 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

I am about to read the article - and if they don't ascribe at least PART of the shortage to the umpty-squilion people trying to DIY "farmhouse decor" by painting mason jars to look like bunnies or chickens I will be very snarky.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:50 AM on November 23, 2020 [6 favorites]

....Just read article - yep, the whole latter half of the article addresses this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:59 AM on November 23, 2020 [4 favorites]

IKR? It's not so much that we have all turned into canning and jamming homesteaders during the pandemic... no... we're just stuck at home and increasingly prone to starting "redecorating" projects that involve stringing fairy lights through 75 mason jars.
posted by MiraK at 10:59 AM on November 23, 2020 [6 favorites]

Mason jars have been difficult to find this year, leading to counterfeits...

Counterfeits? I mean, the Mason style jar is made by umpteen companies, here and abroad, and they all work as well as any other jar of that style. I guess someone might make phony Mason brand jars (aimed at those who are wedded to "authenticity") but I'm not seeing how counterfeiting would be hugely profitable, exactly.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:06 AM on November 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

The article actually speaks to the "redecorating" thing in an interesting way! A lot of that was kind of spawned BY the Mason Jar companies about 5 years ago or so, to keep sales going. The whole point of the jars is that they're sturdy glass and you can reuse them each year, so the regular canners were still using the jars they got years ago and weren't getting new jars. So they came up with a marketing plan to pitch it to other markets.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:08 AM on November 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

re; mason jars and authenticity about a decade ago, see comment on "hipster culture" from 2012....
posted by lalochezia at 11:11 AM on November 23, 2020 [4 favorites]

re; mason jars and authenticity about a decade ago, see comment on "hipster culture" from 2012....

As always, it's recuperation all the way down.

I always thought that was the failing conceit of hipster culture, while seeking authenticity, it didn't seem to understand that the market responds to that, and tries to create "authenticity" for you. Whether it's a jar manufacturer or a laptop manufacturer or a three-wolf-moon T-shirt printer.

It wasn't six months after the first media stories about reddit's /r/randomactsofpizza before Mars Inc. had copyrighted the phrase "Random Acts of Chocolate."

Markets move fast to capture sales. It's fucking sick, and people need to be way more aware it's happening. It recalls that Bill Hicks bit on advertisers/marketers. He was onto the idea of the "anti-marketing dollar" back in the 1980's.

Companies exist to make money, and it's not surprising at all that these companies exploited existing trends to... make money.

Which is also why it isn't surprising that people who are actually using these products for their intended purpose are having troubles with failed seals and the like, because the industry is catering to a lot of people who don't actually use jars for canning preserves. They've stopped investing as much in the core canning process because that isn't where the money is anymore (or wasn't until recently once again).
posted by deadaluspark at 11:20 AM on November 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

Contemporary Mason jars are not as heat resistant as borosilicate glass or thoroughly tempered and annealed soda lime glass, but they're close.

Counterfeits are very likely to have minimal heat resistance, but that will probably only become apparent when they're full of your precious food in a waterbath with many of their fellows.
posted by jamjam at 11:22 AM on November 23, 2020 [7 favorites]

The shortage doesn't necessarily seem to be the jars themselves - yeah they are more frequently out of stock than they used to be, but now that everyone has mostly solved their covid related supply problems, all the hardware stores around me have tons of jars on a regular basis.

What are impossible to find are the lids, which for canning purposes are single-use. You have to use new ones each time. I have not seen a pack of lids at all since before March.

Everyone I know with a garden is just buying cases of brand new jars (that come with lids) instead of reusing the existing jars they have. Which I'm sure is just putting more pressure to stock the shelves, because if you are buying for that reason then it doesn't matter what size it is, you'll take X cases of whatever's on the shelf instead of a $2 package of lids.
posted by bradbane at 11:24 AM on November 23, 2020 [9 favorites]

The canning supply shortage was very predictable once we experienced the yeast shortage.

Here Canadian Tire was on top of it and was never out for more than a couple days at time which is often the case even in the before times. Lids were the hardest thing to come by and I did end up buying a case of jars at one point to get lids but I was giving away fireweed jelly anyways so no big deal.
posted by Mitheral at 11:27 AM on November 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

My local hardware store here in Northern California told me that their mason jar manufacturer said not to expect more jars until spring 2021.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:31 AM on November 23, 2020

This is why I have had to switch to storing my sourdough starter discard in abandoned water towers.
posted by srboisvert at 11:45 AM on November 23, 2020 [15 favorites]

Certainly the transition team needs to consider a national strategic mason jar repository.
posted by sammyo at 12:01 PM on November 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

In the summer I needed to buy some lids for strawberry jam and the way things were priced it really seemed like they were encouraging people to buy a dozen jars+lids, and the big jars at that, as opposed to just the lids themselves. Which wasn't a big problem because you can always use the extra jars for crafts or decorations.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:02 PM on November 23, 2020

Grandma passed this summer so we've been clearing out her house, and in her basement (Mormon Food Storage) she had 600 mason jars, most of them properly canned and dated with water in them. I think the oldest one I unearthed was from 1984 with the lid rusted through and about half the water gone. That was a fun day of dumping water down a drain. The 600 jars became a family sticking point, to the point where one aunt wanted all of them. There are 6 siblings left, so everyone got 100. My mom gave aunt-all-600 her share, because who wants 100 (let alone 600) jars. I told her there was a shortage and she should have pawned them on CraigsList for some money, but she didn't want to deal with them on top of the rest of the estate stuff.
posted by msbutah at 12:03 PM on November 23, 2020 [7 favorites]

Wait, she was canning water in mason jars and then storing it for decades?


posted by Naberius at 12:13 PM on November 23, 2020 [8 favorites]

I discovered recently that my Oster blender blade base fits the standard mason jar opening perfectly. So you can screw the blade assembly on a jar and flip it over and blend it with a perfect seal. I am assuming this is not accidental. Because it's cool as hell.

Also probably a little scary if you're not blending anything really soft in there like maybe fruit or tomatoes or something. You don't want a jar to explode on you while you're blending something that would go ballistic in it. That would be ... really bad.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:17 PM on November 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


posted by suelac at 12:18 PM on November 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

Duh: just in case.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:19 PM on November 23, 2020 [5 favorites]

I do a lot of canning and it was touch-and-go there for awhile this fall. I did a lot of soul-searching along the lines of “am I really going to eat this mustard someone gave me eight years ago?” and managed to meet my needs through salvaging. I also broke the cardinal rule and re-used a lot of lids. You can reuse them though it’s not guaranteed they’ll hold but all mine did. One tip is to store your stuff without a ring. If the lid fails you’ll know as the ring is no longer holding it in place.
posted by misterpatrick at 12:25 PM on November 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

Our household haas bought the majority of our canning jars/rings at garage sales and Goodwill. Our local Goodwill prices half-pint and pints @ twenty cents each, quarts are fifty cents.
There was a short period at the beginning of COVID where Goodwill had almost no jars, but they are putting out larger numbers again.
We buy our lids in bulk every 4-5 years from Lehman’s.
I was gobsmacked when I read a Ball pamphlet that suggested replacing jars every five years! Glass is one of the most stable materials out there, although one should watch out for cracks (especially on the bottom), or chips in the rim (a good reason to always store with rings on. About once a year we get a failure of a jar while canning - we can about 3-4 times a year, in batches of 24 pints (large-capacity steam canner).
posted by dbmcd at 12:47 PM on November 23, 2020

I actually fell for one of the clone sites that the article talks about; I just needed a few lids back in August, and ordered them off what I thought was Ball's site. But only after I'd placed the order did I take a closer look and see that it was a knockoff site from China. Fortunately Paypal got me my money back when the stuff never showed up, and I reported them to Ball's legal team for fraud so they could sic 'em.

The thought of re-using the flat bit of the lid scares the willies out of me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:48 PM on November 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have no idea why she did it. Some combination of depression era kid, end of times prepper Mormon, and the starts of just plain dementia. I just know there was a wall of water in the basement we had to empty and haul out. It went with the 8 giant drums of un-cracked wheat, the 3 motorized and hand grind wheels, the 20 gallon drum of honey, the 5 gallon tub of salt, a mixture of ancient and current peaches, and all the other sorts of things Mormon Food Storage makes you do. Grandma's house used to be my planned destination for the zombie apocalypse, but now that's gone.
posted by msbutah at 12:50 PM on November 23, 2020 [15 favorites]

Also - I wonder whether it's possible to start a sort of "the TRUE hipsters get their jars for crafting by salvaging them from their trash" or something. I do that, but more as a New England frugality thing - my roommate does a lot of jarred pasta sauce from Wegmans, and I just got in the habit of salvaging them from our recycling bin, giving them a good soak in hot soapy water so the labels came off, and then pasting pretty paper on the lids.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:53 PM on November 23, 2020

I'm not going to lie to you people any longer, when I've got something acidic that I'm going to eat in the next 6 months I live on the edge and reuse lids. I feels good to get that off my chest.
posted by bdc34 at 12:58 PM on November 23, 2020 [6 favorites]

If you live somewhere where natural disasters can interrupt the potable water supply, you might as well fill your jars with water for the part of the year between eating canned food and canning the next harvest. For one thing, canning takes so much water you’ll be able to use it when you reuse the jars.

And, as one gets old and forgoes one harvest and then another, more and more of the jars are water. Of course they’re labeled and dated - a lifetime of canning teaches you to label and date everything.
posted by clew at 1:00 PM on November 23, 2020 [11 favorites]

Not long after I started my current job, I was watching a presentation on the state of satellite internet services, and one of the logos looked weirdly familiar to me. Like, why was Ball, the canning jar company, in the slide deck on Low Earth Orbit satellites?

And that's when I first learned that the original Ball has divested the canning jar business and now mostly makes satellites.

I was just waiting for that to come up in TFA, and was so pleased when it did.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:10 PM on November 23, 2020 [18 favorites]

So, canning in Australia has been interesting. Food jars like pasta sauce or pickles are simply re-used including the lids. I actually have had a harder time finding mason jars and lids here. Now, what really made me annoyed was the French jam jars that only had one plastic lid. What the hell was that about?
posted by jadepearl at 1:14 PM on November 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

When I was a little kid my mother still sealed jam with paraffin. No idea if that was still officially OK for jam; cheaper than lids; a response to a lid shortage; or just the way her grandmother had done it.
posted by clew at 1:24 PM on November 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Why are grocery-store canned goods usually not in reusable jars? Can they make thinner one-use jars, is there a patent to be paid, are they differentiating from homemade food?
posted by clew at 1:27 PM on November 23, 2020

So, have people switched over to Weck jars? You can re-use the lids much more than standard mason. My girlfriend, due to the shortage, is now trying to find as many weck jars as she can.
posted by jadepearl at 1:40 PM on November 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Some grocery-store canned goods *are* in reusable jars. :) You can learn to spot the ones that use 2 5/8" CT lids (standard Mason jar size) and then it's just a matter of judging the glass weight and quality. When you get them home and eat whatever's in there you can pretty quickly tell if the jar is going to be a hazard in the canner.

All the jam we buy comes in such jars and we've canned jam and other things in them for years and years now. We've had one failure and that's about the same rate as we've had Mason jars fail. YMMV.
posted by introp at 1:45 PM on November 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Weck jars are 2-6X more expensive than Ball jars; you can buy a lot of lids for that. And though you can reuse the rubber rings of a Weck Jar Weck recommends using new rubber seals each time. If you do that you have the exact same sourcing problem and rubber rings cost more than snap lids. Also the clips aren't as convenient for stuff like jam, pickles, or even fruit where product is stored in a jar in the fridge after opening (to be fair Weck sells plastic storage lids). Many of the Weck jars are smooth on the outside where as Ball jars have at lease the name moulded in making them easier to grip.

Installed base is a problem too. I have hundreds of conventional jars that I'd either have to replace all at once or slowly convert over dealing with the hassle of two different systems.

Nothing to do with the jars themselves but it should be noted that the Weck canning book contains recipes that don't meet current USDA guidelines.
posted by Mitheral at 2:17 PM on November 23, 2020 [5 favorites]

Really old Mason jars featured glass lids with ground glass seals and a zinc screw down ring.

You can reproduce the ground glass seal with a more recent style by dispensing with the rubber ring and grinding the lid by hand against the base, but I would never recommend that to anyone else for canning, though I've used them myself.
posted by jamjam at 2:39 PM on November 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've been waiting for a chance to share something my son discovered, and this thread really isn't the place for it but here I go anyway: the lid to your standard Mason jar fits the top of your standard Friskies can, so if you're down to one cat and need to store half a can of food in the fridge every day, well, there you go.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:48 PM on November 23, 2020 [6 favorites]

On sealing jars with paraffin -

That was a commonly-done practice back in the day, as pouring the wax over the food and letting it harden created a temporarily air-tight seal, and it was easy to pick the wax puck off later.

The key word there, though, is "temporarily". USDA food scientists ultimately discovered that the hardened wax puck was prone to shrinking and expanding during temperature shifts just the tiniest bit; but that was often enough to let in airborne bacteria and yeasts. It also lead to teeny cracks in the wax that also let airborne contamination in.

So you'll still find hand-me-down recipes that say to seal jam with paraffin wax, but today's USDA strongly discourages that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:53 PM on November 23, 2020 [8 favorites]

I belong to the "canned before it was cool" group, though mostly stuff like garden-fresh tomatoes, elderberry jelly, and concord grape jelly. I can't source elderberry jelly that's as good as the stuff I make myself. Same for the concord grape jelly. And home-canned tomatoes are just... the bomb.

What to do with home-canned tomatoes? Anything you'd use bought tomatoes for, but also they are (this is a recent discovery so I am sharing it with everyone) a nearly-ready ingredient for the BEST BLOODY MARY EVER. Dump home-canned tomatoes in food mill. Mill to remove seeds, skins. Use resulting liquid as the "tomato juice" for your bloody mary. Recipe I use is 1/2 oz lemon juice, 2 dashes cholula hot sauce, 2 dashes worchestershire, salt & pepper, 4 oz tomato juice, 2 oz mid-range vodka... roll with like six ice cubes until cold, serve in pint glass with celery stalk and (for posh-er version) baby dill pickle, bacon strip, oversize olive on a reusable cocktail skewer. A pint jar of late-summer beefsteak tomatoes makes two generous drinks.

Lids this year were thin on the ground. I used some mail-order ones from amazon... they seemed a bit flimsy compared to the usual ones but I've opened some jars and the seals have been good.
posted by which_chick at 3:46 PM on November 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

I found lids this summer on the bottom shelf of the paper products aisle at the fancy chain grocery store in the yuppie/teardown McMansion part of town. SO MANY LIDS, it was a canning miracle.
posted by Maarika at 5:49 PM on November 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

which_chick, when I canned tomatoes this summer/fall, I would can 6 quarts of tomatoes and one of juice at a crack (my canner can handle 7 quarts at a time). It worked out really nice, because I would press the ladle full of tomatoes against the side of my pot before dumping into the jar to reduce the amount of liquid in my canned tomatoes. If I didn't do that, I would get the liquid settling out and I'd have up to 1/4 of the jar just be red tomato water. By using the ladle-press technique, when I got to the 7th jar, I would only have half a jar of tomato flesh and a bunch of juice. I would push it all through a sieve, fill the jar with the juice and then can with the tomatoes.

It really does make for delicious Bloody Marys.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 8:04 PM on November 23, 2020

clew's response about the canned water is amazing.

Wow. Thanks for explaining!

msbutah's grandma canning water is like a battery, but for food/ sustenance instead of electricity. In times of plenty, there's fuel aplenty/ afforded so why not sterilize/ potable-ize some water in containers you'll have empty and need to store somewhere anyway - and had the labour to do it? Mason jars can't be nested for more compact stacking.

We started up a tissue culture facility last year; 8(!) high-cube shipping containers of glass jars from China. More than would fill our mobile shelves, and we need empty shelf space (ie., defragging). Good grief were they a severe PITA. If only we could have used them for something (... and had the labour to put those jars into good use, and good use justified the labour).
posted by porpoise at 9:20 PM on November 23, 2020

I actually get tomato juice as a byproduct of canning tomatoes. If you get like half a bushel of tomatoes, and you peel and seed the tomatoes over a colander set in a bowl and drop the peels and seeds and goodge into it before canning the tomato meat, then you end up with about a quart of juice in that bowl after, without any additional effort. Pour off a little for immediate bloody marys, pour the rest into the last couple jars and can them and you're done.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:32 AM on November 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

I wonder if the recent trend to switch from plastic to glass for storage, so as to have a smaller footprint has something to do with this. People are starting to realize that plastic is not only bad for the earth but that some plastics can leach into their food.
posted by cparkins at 6:50 AM on November 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

So, canning in Australia has been interesting. Food jars like pasta sauce or pickles are simply re-used including the lids. I actually have had a harder time finding mason jars and lids here.

That’s a matter of personal practice, not a hard and fast rule. Australia’s indigenous canning system is the Fowler’s Vacola - I get the sense that the company is diminished, but still around.
posted by zamboni at 7:00 AM on November 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

backing up a minute - I would press the ladle full of tomatoes against the side of my pot before dumping into the jar to reduce the amount of liquid in my canned tomatoes. If I didn't do that, I would get the liquid settling out and I'd have up to 1/4 of the jar just be red tomato water.

Would you maybe memail me a video of this?....I get this problem.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:46 AM on November 24, 2020

We discovered a failed seal on a jar of applesauce this week. I knew it was a failure because the amount of headspace was...extreme. I would never can anything with two inches at the top.

Inspecting the lid revealed a gob of crusted applesauce in exactly the right spot to wreck the seal. How it missed inspection before going into the cupboard, I don’t know.

How it stayed in the cupboard for two years is more of a mystery. Applesauce is precious here.

We didn’t get the CSA this year so I still have my leftovers of last years lids. I’ll keep my eyes open for them over the winter, as we’re moving three blocks and that will put us closer to a different CSA.
posted by bilabial at 11:02 AM on November 24, 2020

Also - I wonder whether it's possible to start a sort of "the TRUE hipsters get their jars for crafting by salvaging them from their trash"

Mason / Ball branded jars and the two piece lids were stupidly expensive here in Mexico even before the shortage. Going to a restaurant or bar that used branded jars sent a message of luxury, not spartan authenticity. Going to a place that uses random sauce and veladora glasses for drinks is the real deal.

There is a brand of mole that has been using a crimped lid on a drinking glass shaped jar for years, I've lost count of how many times I've seen them reused as drinking glasses in very authentic restaurants, now they have decorated special editions.

I needed about 240 pint and 1/2 pint jars for a few projects and they had to be good enough for autoclaving and steam canning. The price of the brand name jars would have been more than triple the cost of everything else.

This is my pro tip, which may or may not work for you. I found local small businesses that sell stuff like preserves and chunky salsas and called them on the phone or visited them asking for the contact info for their jar provider. I figured they can not afford to use shitty jars that will crack or lids that wont seal.

I found one factory willing to sell me the 240 jars at a good price, plus 1,000 single use canning lids, the ones with the pop-up button thingy. The pint jars were under .50 US cents each, the lids were about 15 cents each. Delivered to my door straight from the factory. None of the suppliers have user friendly web presence or web shops, that is why I had to search the old fashioned way.

Before I found this solution, I was re-using Bell lids by rebuilding the seals with high temperature RTV silicone, just a dab spread thinly and evenly with my finger. One could use the expensive food safe stuff, but I did fine with one brand of automotive silicone that listed no weird ingredients. They lasted 3 to 5 runs through the autoclave and canner before I had to scrape the silicone and rebuild again, and the delicate mushroom cultures in them did really well.
posted by Dr. Curare at 11:40 AM on November 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

Re: Australian Canning That’s a matter of personal practice, not a hard and fast rule. Australia’s indigenous canning system is the Fowler’s Vacola - I get the sense that the company is diminished, but still around.

Ah, nice! I had no idea since I did not see them in either Victoria's Basement, Bunnings, the supermarkets, or local restaurant suppliers. All the people I know doing canning are either re-using jars or buying new. This is in Sydney so I wonder if they are way more available elsewhere.
posted by jadepearl at 1:29 PM on November 24, 2020

They lasted 3 to 5 runs through the autoclave and canner before I had to scrape the silicone and rebuild again, and the delicate mushroom cultures in them did really well.


posted by Dr. Curare

posted by Joe in Australia at 4:49 PM on November 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

I bought enough lids to last me a decade a few years ago when they were on sale, but mostly just can pickles and a bit of wild berry jam, so I missed this year's shortage. This year's harvest was pathetic due to a surge of rabbit, deer, and groundhog attacks on the garden, sadly, so last year's jar supply was more than sufficient.

I still vividly remember waking up in the middle of the night back in the late 70s when staying over at the maternal grandparents, woken by a series of loud bangs, and discovering in the morning that grandpa's piccalilli had breached containment, one bad jar exploding and sending a bunch of other quart jars of various preserves, pickles, and relishes cascading onto the basement floor. The odor was stupendous: he loved highly spiced sides for his meals. He ran a 40 acre truck farm for fun after retirement, donating a lot of his myriad excess produce to food pantries and anyone who didn't run away fast enough during zucchini season. I miss him.

Still, there was nothing like going down to the basement when visiting, looking at the shelf after shelf of jars and getting to decide which ones would come back up with me for a meal: peach jam, or raspberry preserves, or watermelon pickle? Green beans, kimchi, or (my favorite) hot peppers with just the right balance of vinegar and salt?

My dozen or so jars of gherkins and a few pathetic containers of tomato sauce just don't compare. Next year, I swear, I'm tracking down some pepperoncini seeds and planting enough to satisfy all the local wildlife as well as have enough for a full year of heartburn and "ring of fire," even if I have to go buy some more jars, lids, and rings.
posted by Blackanvil at 8:35 PM on November 24, 2020 [3 favorites]

Worth pointing out that, while the Mason Jar phenomena has been exported elsewhere with hipster culture, these are definitely A Thing that is specific to the US.

When I first arrived in the US from the UK, I didn't really get what mason jars were or why anyone would want to drink a bloody mary out of one...

Back home, when we made jam, pickles, or preserves back we just used any old sterilized jam jars. Or perhaps (if you were feeling fancy) the ones with the glass lid and rubber seal, and a metal fastener.
posted by EllaEm at 8:15 AM on November 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

Fireweed Jelly

Color me intrigued.
posted by donpardo at 11:07 AM on November 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

This was my first year making it. It's nice but a crazy amount of work to harvest the flowers by hand. It took me a couple hours. The purple is so intense I bet it would fly off the shelf but I'd have to charge $30 a half-pint jar to make it worth wild.
posted by Mitheral at 11:47 AM on November 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

EllaEm, when you reused jam jars, were you also reusing the lids? Is there enough squish left in the rubber to usually seal?
posted by clew at 6:22 PM on November 25, 2020

EmpressCallypigos, do you want a video of how I squeeze the tomatoes or of the final result?
posted by Big Al 8000 at 6:32 PM on November 25, 2020

The squeeze bit. The way you've described it I'm not sure what you're doing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:31 PM on November 25, 2020

clew, I think so? As far as I remember, you put the jam in when it's very hot and put the lid on right away, then as it cools it creates a vacuum which seals it. I honestly have no memory of my parents ever buying anything special, only reusing old jars.
posted by EllaEm at 6:37 AM on November 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Goodness. Here is a very opinionated article explaining why foolish British people re-use jam jars!

More seriously, I think 'canning' as a thing is just not as common in the UK. People might make a big batch of jams, chutneys, or marmalade once a year, if they have a garden or access to wild fruit. But we usually eat it (or give it away) the same year. The more I learn about canning/preserving in the US, the more I realize it's a whole different scale and has a specific cultural history.
posted by EllaEm at 6:48 AM on November 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

I am going to return to the outrage article sometime when I have enough leisure to really enjoy the outrage, possibly by getting outraged.

It has a table of contents and subheadings.
posted by clew at 1:38 PM on November 26, 2020

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