Quite some time ago, I wrote a post about Weck canning jars and my love/hate relationship with them. We bought a pallet (literally) of Weck jars in 1998 and used them exclusively until 2010. I loved many features that the Weck jars had to offer, such as reusable rubber gaskets and shapes that lent themselves to easy cleaning and filling. Although I loved a lot of things about the Weck jars, two complaints made me reconsider using them. The first was not a deal breaker, but definitely a consideration. They are larger in diameter than standard American canning jars, which limited me to canning 8 liters at a time in my pressure canner rather than 14 quarts. This may not seem like a deal breaker, but when you are in full-on production canning at the end of a long, hot summer, it can be enough to make one wish for the tried and true Ball and Kerr jars of our Grandmothers. But, by far, my biggest complaint was the Weck sealing failure rate. On average, when pressure canning, I would have a sealing failure rate of 40%! Water bath canning faired better, with only about 20% of my jars failing to seal. Even this was unacceptably high, especially compared with a near zero percent failure rate in Ball and Kerr canning jars.
Over the past year, I have accumulated a number of American canning jars, and have invested in Tattler reusable canning lids. I have been perfectly content with my return to old fashioned American canning - only briefly sighing in disappointment when gazing upon my beautiful Weck jars. While eminently practical, the Ball and Kerr jars leave something to be desired in their aesthetic appeal. The Weck jars are just so beautiful! They feed this romantic soul of mine.
Yesterday, a friend blessed me with two large boxes of green beans ready to be prepared and preserved in jars. I love to can my beans whole, so I sent the kids out to get as many wide mouth jars as they could find. Much to my chagrin, they came back into the shouse with about 9 wide mouth jars. Knowing that would never do, I sent them back to search out more jars. The report was desperate - we had no more wide mouth jars! You just can't can whole green beans in a regular jar - if you got them in, you would never get them out - and I couldn't bear the thought of cutting up all of my lovely beans. In desperation, Master Hand Grenade suggested the Weck 1 liter Tulip jars. "We have a ton of these Mom - would they work?" There is no better jar to can whole green beans than the 1 liter Tulip. The mouth is positively huge and they are just the right height. Remembering that a reader had suggested using the clamps differently than I had previously, I thought to throw all caution to the wind and pressure can the beans in my beautiful Weck jars.
|Weck jars full of beans and jam|
|Jam is in the Deco jars (belly pots)|
Anyway, I wholeheartedly recommend Weck canning jars. They are beautiful, they are tremendously easy to wash (you can fit your hand in them to scrub them out) and they stack very nicely. The rubber gaskets are reusable (I used mine for 12 years) and they have convenient plastic lids that snap tightly on the jars once you have opened them. Weck jars come in a variety of shapes. I love the Tulip jars for beans, veggies and meat. The Deco jars (I call them "belly pots") are perfect for jam, jellies and lemon curd. They also have juice jars (both 1 liter and 1/2 liter) which are lovely on the table and the plastic lid makes them nice to put in the fridge with your leftover juice in them. We bought our jars from Glashaus (you get a price break when you buy a pallet load) and they also carry extra gaskets, clamps and plastic lids. For our friends in Canada, your Weck jar souce is WeckCanada. Glashaus carries an electric canner specifically made for Weck jars, if you are inclined to use electricity.
Ball and Kerr jars are an American institution. They are reliable and easily obtained. With the advent of Tattler lids, Ball and Kerr are an economical canning choice. If you have a little extra money to spend and want a jar with a glass lid rather than metal or plastic, then Weck is the way to go.