How to Can in Hex Jars With Lug Lids

four sizes of hex jars

Today’s tutorial is a sponsored post from Fillmore Container. They are a jar and closure distributor based in Lancaster, PA and have long been a friend of Food in Jars. In addition to selling traditional mason jars and two-piece lids, they also offer an array of jars designed for commercial preserving, including four sizes of six-sided jars called hex jars. These are the jars we’re going to focus on today. While these jars aren’t approved by the USDA for home canning, they can be safely used in home kitchens for preserves if you know just a few things.

hex jars from the top

These are jars that should only be used with high acid preserves that need short spells in the boiling water bath canner (I try to keep the processing time to 10 minutes when using these jars). That means that I don’t use them for fruit butters or denser jams that need longer stints. They fill and process much like mason jars.

tower of hex jars

Fillmore Container sells four sizes of hex jars. There’s 1.5 ounce (perfect for samples and variety gift baskets), 4 ounces (which is the same size at the smallest quilted jelly jars that Ball makes), 6 ounces (a nice in-between size that you can’t get with a mason jar), and 9 ounces (think of it as a very generous half pint jar). Their faceted sides are smooth, which makes them perfect contenders for all sorts of label and stickers, which is a nice thing if you’re trying to create a more professional or uniform look.

single hex jars

Hex jars use lug lids that are lined with plastisol. The reason they’re best for shorter times in the canner is that the plastisol liner can’t take long periods of heat exposure or extreme heat. So while they’re perfectly safe for short periods of boiling water bath canning, but are a no-go for pressure canning. If you want to preserve low acid foods in jars like these, you use retort lids instead.

filling hex jars

I prep these lug lids the same way I do regular canning jar lids, by warming them with a little simmering water for a few minutes before applying them to the jars. The most important thing to remember with these lids is that you don’t want to tighten them too tightly. A gentle quarter turn is plenty to keep them firmly in place and leaves enough space for the oxygen to escape during processing and cooling.

six hex jars filled with peach and tomato jam

The mouth of these hex jars is a bit smaller than conventional mason jars which means that regular wide mouth funnels don’t work with them. The Kilner wide mouth funnel I featured last week has a slightly smaller opening and so does work with the larger of the hex jars. For the smaller ones, I ladle my product into a spouted measuring cup and use that to fill the jars. It’s not a perfect method, but it’s better than trying to spoon jam into tiny jars. Once your jars are filled, take care to bubble your jars, because those edges at the top like to trap air bubbles. A few gentle taps and a chop stick will do the job.

Once your product is in the jars and the lids are on, everything else about canning in these jars will be familiar to anyone who’s got a batch or two under their belt. The filled jars are lowered into the canning pot and processed for the amount of time called for by the recipe. When the time is up, you pull them out and let them cool on a folded kitchen towel. The lids have a button that goes concave as the jars seal, just like two-piece lids have. You know that your jars are sealed when the lids feel solid and don’t wiggle when pressed.

a tiny hex jar of jam

In conjunction with this tutorial, Fillmore Container is hosting a giveaway on their blog. The winner can choose from a 12 count case of  hex jars or 12 sided jars and get to pick out lids to fit (they come in a bunch of colors and hues). Click here to enter their giveaway.

How would you use hex jars in your home canning?

 

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64 Responses to How to Can in Hex Jars With Lug Lids

  1. 1
    Anita says:

    I’m so excited to see this post! I’ve wondered about using these jars for ages.

    I’d use them for carry-on sized jars and/or small jars to make assortments to share.

  2. 2
    Sue says:

    I have used this for pouring jams, serving tea outside, and everything for years. http://www.amazon.com/kitchen-dining/dp/B001E0FOII Works great and never breaks?

  3. 3
    Stephanie says:

    I have been wondering how to can in hex jars for years! Thank you so much for this tutorial. Now to order some jars specifically for holiday gifts.

  4. 4
    Shaye says:

    Your link to enter the giveaway isn’t working.

  5. 5
    T.M. Roy says:

    Wow, thanks, this is great! Would be perfect for samplers of the wine jellies I make, I am thinking!

  6. 6
    Lisa says:

    I’ve been wondering for awhile about canning with lug lids/jars, since I see them quite often at farmer’s markets here!

    Curious what’s in those jars? Looks delicious.. and a pretty colour :)

    Also, you mentioned that longer processing is an issue for lug lids because of the plastisol.. at my elevation my lowest processing time is 20 minutes. Presumably that’d still be okay?

    Thanks!

  7. 7
    Olivia says:

    I know this article was about the hex jars themselves…but wow does the filling you use for this tutorial look amazing! yum.

  8. 8
    Denise W. says:

    If I won, I would pick the hex jars. Why? Because they’re cute :)

  9. 9
    Kathryn says:

    OMG, I love these jars. Question, what if you have to adjust water bath time for altitude? I’m at 1300 feet so I usually add an extra 5 minutes. Does that rule me out for these jars?

    P.S. I bought your cookbook and am in LOVE!

    • 9.1
      Marisa says:

      They should be able to take the slightly longer processing.

      • What about an even higher altitude? I have to add 10 minutes to everything so I am usually at 20 minutes minimum.

        • Marisa says:

          They should be okay. I wouldn’t do tomatoes in them, though.

          • Tesia says:

            Thank you for your replys on the altitude. Living and canning in Colorado this is always a thought. If I have problems with the extra processing time I will let you know.I sure hope all turns out well as we are hoping to use these jars to give away our homemade apple butter for wedding favors. Again Thanks

  10. 10
    Amanda says:

    Can you reuse the lugs? Or does the lining break down? It would be nice to be able to reuse jars from commercially canned food, especially the little jelly jars, like the ones in the last picture!

    • 10.1
      Marisa says:

      You don’t want to reuse the lugs because the canning and sealing process does break down the plastisol lining.

  11. 11
    hannah says:

    these would be perfect for Christmas jams!

  12. 12
    Sabrina says:

    How would I use these for canning? I wouldn’t. I adore you and your blog but I disagree with you on this one. If you can only use super acidic food that can process in less than 10 minutes, then that is too much margin for error. It is not rated as being safe for home canning for a reason and encouraging otherwise is dangerous and irresponsible.

    • 12.1
      Marisa says:

      Sabrina, thank you for your comment, but I must respectfully disagree that I am being irresponsible. First of all, the bulk of the recipes designed for home are high acid ones that process for ten minutes. What’s more, the reason they’re not approved by the USDA has more to do with federal limitations on funds for testing than actual issues around safety. These are jars that commercial producers use for their products, often without any water bath processing at all (hot fill is allowed in commercial settings). Using them in the way I’ve described is perfectly safe

  13. 13
    Amanda says:

    Those are so lovely! I’ll have to get a few in my next Filmore order and give one of your small batch recipes at try!

  14. 14
    Kathy Kuehling says:

    I would love the Hex jars with the Gold lids!

  15. 15
    Kira says:

    I love the idea of 6 oz jars… would make great gifts, etc.

  16. 16
    Devon H says:

    These have your mulled apple cider jelly recipe written all over them. For Christmas!

  17. 17
    Nancy B says:

    4 oz size are adorable for sharing or my spice shelf. I love my glass jars.

  18. 18
    Aja says:

    I’d love to use the small ones for holiday gift baskets.

  19. 19
    bruin says:

    so excited about giving these a whirl!

  20. 20
    bruin says:

    these are so cute, and i love all the lid options. would make great presents!

  21. 21
    Holly Malinowski says:

    I love these jars,they would be great xmas gifts!!!They look prettier than regular canning jars!!!!

  22. 22
    Patricia N. says:

    I would use them for crab apple jelly; it would be beautiful in these jars.

  23. 23
    Savanarola says:

    I need professional help – I look at these jars and I think “Ok, those are ADORABLE.” Here I’ve decided to take a year off from the county fair canning competition, because there isn’t anything I’m particularly proud of this year and also because I flat haven’t been able to do a lot of canning this year. And now I’ve moved into a kitchen I hate, mostly through no fault of my own. And I own enough jars to build a glass house. And yet I can’t stop looking at canning supplies and feeling that old enthusiasm! Darn it, I think I need to make a batch of my peach chutney. . .

  24. 24
    Karen says:

    I think I would go for the 6 oz. I make a lot of jelly and this size seems to work best.

  25. 25
    Casey DelliCarpini says:

    So glad to see this tutorial! (And glad that the way I’ve been winging it has been accurate!)

    These jars are awesome for gifting. I don’t need anything so fancy for my own personal use, but they make a really nice presentation for Christmas or teacher gifts. Fingers crossed!

  26. 26
    Howard says:

    Let’s ask Fillmore to have someone start making 63mm lug lids with the retort lining! Then, there would be no question about safety, or processing time.

  27. 27
    Pete says:

    These would be great for gifting – especially for recipients who have no particular love of our regular canning jars. Great possibilities, now that I know for sure.

    Thanks!

  28. 28
    Amanda says:

    I was just wondering about these! I really want to use the tiny 1.5 oz jars for presents and samplers. I like to think of them as jam shots ;)

  29. 29
    Kathy D says:

    Oh, if only this giveaway had been posted before sour cherry season ended – my homemade maraschino cherries would look divine in the hex jars. But peach jam is still to come, and your spiced peach jam was the hit of my Christmas presents last year, so that is what I’d put in these jars.

    I don’t seem to have much luck with one-piece lids, however – even after following your instructions posted a year or so ago. Would like to try with lug lids, tho – one of these times I’ll get it.

  30. 30
    Rachel says:

    I had never occurred to me that you could safely can in anything other than a Mason jar, so thank you for enlightening me! I would love to try these jars out for chutney, which I love to give as gifts and the hex-sided jars would add a lot of class.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    Heather says:

    These are great! I’d love the 6 ounce size because it is nice little gift size. And any lid…I’m just not that picky!

  33. 33
    Jamie says:

    Very helpful post!
    I would use them for my fig jam, yum!

  34. 34
    Christine says:

    I love the idea of using the small hex jars for lemon and other citrus curds (high-acid + short processing time = ok for lug lids, if I’ve read correctly). I love to give these away at Christmas but they’re labor-intensive and my list of recipients seems to grow longer each year. Is it cheap to want to give away smaller jars so I have to make less? :) Anyway, independent of that, there’s something classy about the hex jar look. I think they’d look great under the tree, and the small jars would fit in a stocking better than a pint or half-pint traditional jar.

    • 34.1

      Hi Christine
      I was thinking of trying these jars for curds too. I have never canned curd and wondered about doing that safely w eggs involved. Do you have any curd recipes for canning that you would consider sharing. I was also think king of caramel sauce for dessert toppings but have heard that’s a no no. Any
      thoughts? Thanks. Anne

      • Christine says:

        Hi Anne,

        Sorry, I just saw you’d replied to my comment! I made lemon curd for several years that was unprocessed and had to be refrigerated, and had the same question as you did about the eggs! But it turns out citrus curds can be processed just fine (though I’d use a recipe that specifies that step, just to be safe). Marisa actually has an excellent Meyer Lemon Curd recipe in her book, aptly named Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round. That’s the one I use – though I cheat and use regular lemons sometimes. :)

  35. 35
    FLORENCE FINK says:

    I have wanted to try these jars for quite a while. I’ve never had the nerve to spend the money to buy them and then try my canning prowess.

  36. 36
    Laura says:

    I live in colorado at an altitude that you suggest 10 minutes extra in the bath. Does that rule these jars out for me? Our elevation is over 5000 feet.

  37. 37
    Sharon says:

    Marissa, could you just clarify something for me about this process. You say not to put the lids on too tightly so the air can escape but do you then tighten the lids fully once the contents have cooled?

  38. 38

    […] Finally, you might notice that this product is preserved in the six-sided jam jars that close with lug lids. If you’re curious about them, make sure to read the piece I wrote about how to use them a few weeks back. […]

  39. 39
    Amy says:

    Thank you for posting this! I, too, have wondered if it was possible to can at home with these jars. I look forward to trying it now!

  40. 40
    Audrey B says:

    I would use these jars for gifts at holidays, when everyone wants my huckleberry jam :)

  41. 41

    […] Food in Jars posted about gifting these itty-bitty jars and we partnered with her to give some away.  Here’s a look at some of our itty bitty jars. They all seal with one-piece lids. Here’s a tutorial from Food in Jars about how to use continuous thread (CT) one-piece lids, and lug lids. […]

  42. 42

    […] They typically hold just an ounce or two and are just the thing for gifts and holiday sampler packs. Fillmore carries them in both round and hex shaped. They seal with one-piece lids, which though not approved by the USDA, can be safely used if you follow a few simple instructions (here’s my tutorial on how to use the continuous thread one-piece lids, and here’s the lug version). […]

  43. 43
    Ash says:

    This has been so helpful! I’m glad to have found your site! I was curious though- I make mustards and they tend to have a fairly short time in the canning bath, do you think these jars would be appropriate for that? I have only used two piece jars in the past, but I’d really like to try these! Thank you so much for sharing :)

  44. 44

    […] who want a more professional look but don’t feel comfortable with jars that use lug lids (here’s my post on how to use that style of lid). They also just feel nice in the hand and would make sweet little wine glasses or votive  holders […]

  45. 45
    Claudia Gordon says:

    I am hoping to win these wonderful Jars they will work wonderfully for the jams i make my husband and he prefers homemade jam to store bought jams and jellies.They will also work for my facial scrubs i make.

  46. 46
    Judith says:

    I don’t understand why these lids won’t work in pressure canning. Aren’t these the same lids that most commercial processors use? Their heating processes are probably longer than ten minutes. Ay thoughts?

    • 46.1
      Marisa says:

      Commercial processors use lids lined with a different material that is more able to withstand the higher heat. What’s more, most low acid foods aren’t canned in jars using lug lids. More often, they’re done in cans.

  47. 47
    Caroline says:

    Hi! I am seeking a bit more info. Before the water bath, should I screw my lug lids on loosely as with two piece lids, or as tight as I can?

    • 47.1
      Marisa says:

      You only want to tighten the lids until you feel the sealing compound come into contact with the rims of the jars. If you tighten them too tightly, the air won’t be able to escape.

  48. 48
    JennyW says:

    Hi! I just processed some 1.5oz jelly jars with the same type of lug lids. Do they concave at all after processing? I have looked everywhere on the internet and they all look the same as before processing. I’m worried they did not seal properly. They did not ‘ping’ either. I made sure the rims were extremely clean and I tightened just a little bit to feel the lid make contact with the jar. I don’t think I tightened too much as when I tried to tighten less, those lids floated off soon after going in the hot water. I did further tighten after processing for 10 mins. The jars are cooling now and I haven’t got the nerve to disturb them. If I press the top after cooled, if sealed properly then it should not wiggle at all?

    • 48.1
      Marisa says:

      You aren’t going to get the same ping with the lug lids, but they should feel like they’ve gone a bit concave. Once cool, do press on the lids. If there’s absolutely no give, you should be ok.

  49. 49

    […] about canning techniques including how to use one-piece lids, how to can in hex jars, and how to help prevent jar breakage and other canning tips […]

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