[Updated August 3, 2010.]
This week I tried a new canning tool, some plastic freezer jars from Ball. Boiling water canning is my usual preferred method, but I was in a hurry and it was 90° F on the day I was working on my apple butter, and even though I wasn’t pregnant this time (which adds about 30° to your core temperature) like I was the last few times I canned, I still had no desire to steam up my kitchen any further. So I just scooped the finished apple butter into a large Rubbermaid container, put it in the frig, and decided to look around the stores for other options. I found these jars at a local discount department store and thought they would be worth a try.
The jars are durable plastic with twist-on lids that are deep enough to allow you to stack the jars neatly without them slipping around, a big plus over glass canning jars or plastic freezer bags. They come in three sizes (8 ounces, 16 ounces, and 32 ounces), and have a fill line to allow for food expansion. The 8 ounce size is perfect for jams and jellies, while the 16 ounce jars are good for salsas and tomato sauce and juice, and the 32 ounce jars are perfect for soups and chili. They also have a space for labeling, but I just use masking tape and a Sharpie for a cheap and quick solution.
I found them very easy to use and durable. The plastic seems appropriately thick and the twist on tops stay on well. They clean easily and don’t seem to stain.
Important note to remember: The jars are plastic, but are not unbreakable. They will break if dropped while full of frozen food, but the good news is they don’t shatter like glass, thus making them safer for freezer storage.
The bottom line:
Pros: Easy to use, top-rack dishwasher safe, stain resistant, stacks easily.
Cons: Not for microwave use. Not for shelf storage (use only in refrigerator or freezer).
Sizes Available: 8, 16, and 32 ounce
Where to buy: available nationwide at discount department stores and grocery stores, also online
Company Website: Ball