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Canning Tips

Canning Tips

Choosing The Right Jars


Take the Guesswork out of Jar Selection

Selecting the right Ball® jar for the job is an important part of the canning process. Just like there are distinct knives for carving different foods, there are also varied canning jars for preserving different types of foods. So how do you know which jar is right for each recipe?

Ball® offers a variety of jars designed specifically for the needs of home preservers. Certain jars, like those with straight or tapered sides, are ideal for freezing as well as for canning. Certain jars, like those with shouldered sides, are ideal for shelf storage.

While jar shape can help you choose storage method, the jar mouth size can depend on a variety of factors. Regular Mouth work best with pourable foods such as jams, jellies, salsas, sauces, pie fillings, and vegetables. Wide Mouth allows for easier filling and works best with whole fruits and vegetables. 

It’s best practice to defer to the recipe (if noted) when it comes to selecting a jar for your application. In cases where not explicitly noted, use the Jar Selector Guide below!


**When filling freezer safe jars, leave ½-inch headspace to allow for the expansion of food during freezing.

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Canning Lids 101

What to Know about Canning Lids

Streamline home canning with these three important lid tips:

  1. We recommend using only Ball® or Kerr® brand lids. BPA-free, these brands offer the safest, most reliable results of any lid on the market. Foods sealed with SureTight lids can be safely stored for up to 18 months.
  2. Use a fresh lid every time to ensure your jars seal properly, safely preserving your food. After the first use, the lid will no longer seal effectively.
  3. Preheating lids is not required. After extensive testing by our Quality Assurance Team, we found that it is no longer necessary to pre-warm lids before use.

These tips are valuable to remember when canning, but they just scratch the surface when it comes to canning lids! Here’s everything you need to know about canning lids:

What is a canning lid?

Our canning lids seal onto a jar for preserving fresh food. The lid is airtight and keeps food shelf stable for up to 18 months when processed correctly. Lids come in two varieties: metal-coated and plastic.

Metal-Coated Lids (one-time use only) represent the only USDA-recommended type of lid for home canning. We recommend Ball® and Kerr® brands. They’re made in the USA and are BPA-free and phthalate-free. These brands are the standard testing lid of the USDA and universities for developing home canning guidelines. Brands made in other countries may contain BPA and phthalates, which are known to buckle easily and cause frequent seal failures.

Plastic Lids (reusable) are not within USDA canning guidelines due to the solid rubber gasket, which does not vent well and lessens the vacuum seal. Plastic lids require extra caution when tightening bands on hot jars (outside of normal canning processes), are expensive for gifting and are more difficult to seal than conventional lids. Additionally, testing has shown that these lids may lose half their vacuum over the course of a year, often within the first six months.

TIP: Use Ball® Plastic Storage Caps for storing foods in the fridge or freezer.

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Adjust For Altitude


Just as it does when baking a cake, a higher altitude can affect your fresh preserving recipes. But we’ll make it easy for you. Just follow these charts to determine how to adjust your recipe for altitude. 

Click here to download the charts.



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Weights & Measures Conversion Chart