Mason jars are the generic term used in reference to virtually any kind of molded glass jar that is used to preserve food through the process of home canning. The foods that can be preserved are varied but are most often jams, jellies, salsas, sauces and spreads. What makes a Mason jar different from other jars is that they have screw threads on the outer rim of the mouth of the jar. A metal lid fits into the top of the jar and can be screwed down by a band or metal ring creating a hermetic seal after processed either by pressure or waterbath canning.
The Mason jar was the invention of John Landis Mason who was a tinsmith in Philadelphia. He invented and patented the glass container in 1858 and many of them continue to carry his name in the molded shape of the jar. The Jarden Corporation of Florida now produces the majority of glass jars used in home canning. Other brands of United States Mason jars include Ball (named after another early producer of them – the Ball Corporation), Kerr and Golden Harvest. They come in standard sizes of Regular Mouth (60mm inner/70mm outer), Wide Mouth (76mm inner/86mm outer) as well as Cup, Pint, Quart and Half Gallon. In Canada, the Jarden Corporation’s Bernardin division produces the Bernardin canning jar in sizes of 125ml, 250ml, 500ml and 1 litre.
Bernardin Mason Jar Caps – Plastic – Standard
Let’s face it, once I make a batch of jam or hot sauce storing it in the fridge is easy. Getting into it all the time isn’t with the unscrewing and screwing of the band, popping off of the lid and lining it up just right after use. Instead of dumping my preserves into different containers, I found these great canning jar lids that eliminate all the hassle of keeping the original bands and lids on the jars. These one-piece plastic screw caps also turn jars into storage containers even for dry goods. This set includes eight of them in white and they fit the Standard size jars (70mm) and are dishwasher safe.
Bernardin Mason Jar Caps – Plastic – Wide
These are the same nifty plastic one-piece screw caps as I’ve just mentioned only this set of eight fits the larger, Wide Mouth size (86mm) jars. I like using these on jars that I typically use to store dry goods in my pantry. I’ve got jars filled with dried chilies, some spices, noodles, various ingredients for other kitchen preserves and even a jar or two with candy in them! These white canning jar lids look great and do a good job in keeping contents dry and secure.
Bernardin Sip and Straw Lids, Pack of 4
Anytime you can convert something into a drinking container it gets my husband pretty excited. These sip and straw canning jar lids turn the average canning jar into a drinking glass complete with cover and straw. Essentially you remove the lid and screw band from a regular jar and replace them with a set of these and the rest is sipping magic on the deck or hammock in the backyard. This package contains a set of four.
Bernardin Mason Jar Mug – with Handle – 16 oz – Pack of 4
My last multi-purpose, value-added choice for canning jar accessories is in actual fact not a canning jar. Basically this is a Standard size (70mm) jar with a handle molded onto it. This variation on the good old canning jar turns this into a unique drinking mug that you’ve probably seen in restaurants or outdoor events. What makes these extra special is that since they are Standard size, they will accept the 70mm size white plastic one-piece screw caps or two-piece canning snap lids. You can also use the sip and straw lids mentioned above with these. These Mason Jar Mugs come in a four pack and are not recommended for regular canning use.
There you have it. My top three picks for canning jar accessories. These are my favourites and I am sure you will get as much use out of these practical ideas as I have. All you have to remember is that when you use these items, you are turning an ordinary glass container into much more than just a canning jar!