Recently, after panting after them for years, I finally broke down and ordered a dozen Weck jars*. For those of you not in the know, they are a brand of canning jar that is produced in Germany and is quite popular across Europe. Instead of using a disposable lid with the sealing compound embedded in it (like our familiar Ball and Kerr jars), these jars depend on a rubber ring for their sealing power.
They are much like the bailing wire canning jars that were once quite popular across this country (I wrote about canning in those jars here, if you care to give a gander). One of their primary benefits is the fact that because the lid is made from glass, the only thing that’s in contact with your food is glass (just like the Tattler reusable lids, there’s no BPA-imbued surface to worry about when you use these suckers). They also feel a bit less wasteful than the Ball/Kerr jars, because the only piece you end up throwing away is the rubber ring, not an entire lid. The primary downside of Weck jars is that they are expensive. I have hopes that if enough people start buying them, they’ll become more accessible and affordable here.
The Weck jars are made up of four components. The first is the rubber ring, which is the analog to the sealing compound in American lids. And just like our lids, these rings need to be submerged in boiling water for a few minutes before use in order to soften up. Keep them in the hot water until the moment you’re ready to use them to maximize their sealing abilities. These rings should also be given a once over before use, to ensure that they don’t have any cracks or tears. Another way these rings are like conventional lids is that they can only be used once.
Next comes the flat, glass lid. Prior to use, make sure to give them a careful inspection, to ensure that the lid is free from chips, particularly on the edge that comes in contact with the rubber ring. Even the smallest chip can prevent a quality seal. Keep in mind that if you’re planning on processing something in these jars that will be in the boiling water bath canner for less than ten minutes, these lids need to be sterilized along with your jars.
I have found that the best way to assemble these jars is to caress the rubber ring onto the lid and then place the lid on the jar. Before you settle it into place, make sure to wipe those rims. It’s just good canning practice.
Now come the clips. All Weck jars come with two stainless steel clips. They do the work that our screw-on bands typically perform, holding the lid in place so that air can escape during processing and cooling, but no air or liquid can get in. I believe the best way to attach a clip is to hook it over the lid and then firmly (but carefully) push down. There should be a satisfying click when the clip is in place and there should be no wiggle or movement. I have found that it often requires just a hair more pressure than feels appropriate. Take it slowly and make sure to hold onto the jar (wrap a towel or pot holder around it so you don’t burn yourself) so that you don’t slosh the product on to your counter.
Once you have the clips in place, quickly check the status of the ring. It should still be flat and even between the top of the jar and the bottom of the lid. On one occasion, I have had the ring wrinkle up while I was finessing the clips onto the jars. Had I not caught it before the jar went into the canner, I could have compromised my potential seal.
Now that your jars are filled and the rubber rings, lids and clips are in place, it’s time to process. This step is just like all other boiling water bath canning. The only caution I have to offer here is to take care with your jar lifter placement when working with Weck jars. I once nearly tipping several jars over while maneuvering in and out of the pot because my lifter caught on the clips. They hold tightly enough that you shouldn’t be able to dislodge one with the lifter, but it is something to be aware of.
Once the jars are finished processing, let them cool fully. Once they are totally cool to the touch, you can remove the clips and check your seals. There are two easy ways to ensure you’ve got a good seal. The first is to grab onto the jar holding onto just the lid and lift the jar just a bit (I will never be a hand model). If it holds, it’s good.
The other way to check the seals is to take a look at the tab. It should be pointing down, like it’s sticking its tongue out at you. Also note that Weck jars should be stored with the clips off when it’s on your pantry shelf. This is for the same reason that we store Ball and Kerr jars without their rings. If something happens to grow inside the jar, the off-gassing will break the seal and you’ll know right away that the product is compromised.
When it comes time to open a Weck jar, it’s incredibly easy. Just grab hold of the tab and gently pull it, until you hear air rushing in and the seal breaks. Do this slowly, so that you don’t run the risk of popping the lid off the jar with too much vigor. While the jar lives in the fridge, you can use the clips to hold the lid in place, or you can invest in some of the snap-on plastic lids that Weck makes as well.
For information on how to pressure can in Weck jars, read this post!
hooray for weck – i love this giveaway! i would put some of our precious texas celeste figs in a simple elderflower liquer syrup. it would be lovely.
The first thing that I’d can in the Weck jars would be the first thing I’ve ever canned! Maybe I’d try tomatoes!
I’ve been wanting to learn to can, but have been a little gun shy. However, I really like the Weck jars…maybe this year I’ll give it a try!
In honor of my Grampa…I’d make his favorite…Marmalade (fondly know in our clan as “Pinky Toe Jam”). Got a friend in Spain who Loved he Gramp and is sure to send a crate of Seville for the tribute!
Kind of you to put this up…best of ortune to all!
Here in northern Minnesota the weather is turning into spring and we’ll soon warm up enough to start the sap flowing for another maple syrup making season. I’d use the Weck jars to can maple syrup after boiling the sap down into syrup.
Oooh I’ve been longing to can in weck jars. I think the first thing I would can in them would be a lovely deep, dark onion & balsamic marmalade. How kind of Kaufmann Mercantile to offer this opportunity.
Apple butter. Great looking jars; I’d love to try them out.
Mmmmm….Rhubarb jam, to use up what’s left in my freezer.
I would can my homemade chow=chow in them so I could enjoy it year round.
I’ve eyed these for a while too — I was gifted some but they got lost when we moved 🙁 I’d be making strawberry jam — they’ll be in season soon!
Love these jars, I have 3 and I guard them carefully.
Oh i would love to make some blood orange marmalade.
I would be interested in making a tomato salad, pickled eggs & pickles… Good Luck all!
I’ve never seen these, they look really cute! Wow, lots of comments, one more name in the hat! I can’t wait to start canning again!
Oooh! I have never used the weck jars it is on my list of things to try this summer with my canning. I am a drop off spot for a CSA and unbelievably people don’t always pick up their shares. This can leave my small family of 3(soon to be four!) left with an abundance of produce. This is how I got pushed into canning as I hate to waste any food. Until the CSA starts I would most likely try my luck with some citrus marmalade of sort. I think it would be a pretty give away jar too.
Raspberry jam because it’s my favorite.
I’d save them until summer and use them to store black raspberry jelly. Our house has wild black raspberries growing all over the back hill and I got 12.5 pints of jelly out of them last year!
Something from my garden; maybe tomatoes or pickled carrots.
I can’t wait to make strawberr jam! I just opened the last jar from 2010 and I will be so sad when it is all gone!
Look at the interest in this give-away! I started entering your contests when only 50 people entered! Congrats on building such a following!
I’ll put Vidalia Onion Jam in my new Weck jars! Thanks
I’d make a plum jam, and that creamsicle jelly looks delicious!!! Ooohh, maybe an onion jam too. Time to get canning!
These are so adorable! I’d love to try making a mixed berry jam.
Ooh, my black raspberry jam would look awesome in those!
pickles, pickles, pickles!
I think your orange jelly with some blood oranges. I am in love with those jars!
I’d make wild blackberry jelly with blackberries from our family farm! Mmmm!
I have wanted to try these jars, and if chosen as the winner I will use them to make some more citrus marmalade! I used your recipe last weekend and am already wanting to make more… I think these jars will make beautiful gifts (and, if returned by the recipient, I will refill with something from next season).
I found a couple big, round Weck jars at a thrift store a few years ago and have been coveting them ever since. I need to keep working on my marmalade technique, since my first attempt didn’t go so well, so I would use those jars for more marmalade!
My boyfriend’s parents have a Myer’s lemon tree that is giving fruit right now. I would love to make lemon curd.
I think I would have to make something pretty, the vanilla bean meyer lemon marmalade I’ve been planning to make would be perfect!
I love these jars. Thank for the tut. I think that i also would do something pretty. Because of the time of year i would do a marmalade with a red color.
I would whip up a batch of home made nutella & peanut butter swirl (since we can’t buy it here anymore 🙁 )
Thank you for another informative post! I have lusted after those gorgeous Weck jars for a while but was totally perplexed as to how one would can with them. They’re classy.
And as for the next jam I’d make, it’d have to be strawberry, since they’re just about to come into season. Oh yum.
I’ve finally made the decision to learn how to can and I’m excited to try as many recipes as possible! But perhaps most excited for pickles :-).
Wow! These are beautiful. I’d really like to can my own tuna, and maybe try some salmon or other fish as well.
I have always longed for these jars. They are so beautiful. I would like to make some beautiful kimchi gift jars for friends. Thanks so much for this wonderful giveaway and your blog! Yea!
Oh my g-d, I love those jars! And how nice that at least one country has figured a way out of this BPA mess. 😛
The first thing I’d can in them? Easy. Pink grapefruit marmalade. Mmmmmmmm.
OH! I just fell in love with these beautiful jars! I would love to make some wonderfully vibrant strawberry jam with them! Love your blog btw 😉
I would love to have these jars smiling in my cabinet! Most likely I would use for james and jellies. 🙂
These seem like great fridge storage jars. I’d love to use them to can some of the plethora of root vegetables I have now. One more dinner of roasted root vegetables and I just won’t make it to spring.
first thing — something w/the meyer lemons in my fridge!
I would can homemade catsup. I am still experimenting to find a home-made recipe that’s got a similar flavor profile to Heinz, but lacks the HFCS etc.
In the meantime, I’ve made some really interesting variations!
I think marmalade would be fitting, a new recipe for a new jar 🙂
Beautiful jars! They would certainly have to hold something with a beautiful, vibrant color, like raspberry jam.
My o my how I would can anything or everything with these little beauties! But I am dieng to make an Ancho Butter recipe I ran across…. maybe if I dont win I will break down and order some!?
The first thing I would can is banana jam and muscadine jelly. Crossing my fingers!
Rhubarb jam would go in my jars! It’s my favourite, and last year’s is long gone. I’ve never seen Weck jars for sale in Canada, which is a shame.
I’ve never done canning on my own, and just discovered your site. I would love to start with some awesome equipment!
This is the summer I finally plan to pickle! Pickle pickle pickle! No cucumber will be safe from my pickling grasp! And they would look soooo lovely in these jars.
I would make marmalade, there is nothing prettier than marmalade 🙂
I would use the weck jars and your apple ginger jam. I made it for Christmas gifts this last year and my Grandma said it reminded her of her mother’s apple ginger jam, that was made as gifts.
I LOVE these jars and have been obsessing over them for awhile. I can just see them lined up in my pantry, how awesome they would look. Since spring is finally just around the corner I would like to pickle asparagus!
I adore these jars! They have such a sweet nostalgic look to them! I cannot decide whether I would make my jalapeno jelly (which we enjoy on toasted bagels with cream cheese) or my red pepper apricot chutney with candied ginger (I think this would look so pretty in one of the jars). So do I go with appearance or with practicality??? So hard to decide! Thanks for telling me about these, they may have to go on my birthday wish list…
The Weck jars are so pretty! I’d make a nice red wine jelly because my parents and husband are crazy about it!
I would probably make some strawberry jam, once strawberries come in season. Or, I have been purusing some dried fig jams too that would be nice in these.
Oh I’d make pickled radishes, string beans, and beets. After that batch canned, I’d make cara cara orange marmalade with a sprig of rosemary. Oh I hope, I hope, I hope!!!
Thanks so much for the informative post. It’s great to learn about new techniques for canning- especially when they aren’t so “new” afterall! Even with fresh snow falling tonight in BFLO, I am thinking ahead to spring… and canning yummy rhubarb jam in Weck jars would be a huge treat!
Pickled asparagus, or maybe wait wait wait for berries and do a nice clear jelly.
I had heard the rings could be reused, but your post says they are one-time only use. Where can I find that information showing they are one time use?
You mean the rubber seals? It’s in the Weck documentation. https://weckjars.com/canningnotes/
thanks for this very clear post! We moved to Europe and mason jars aren’t affordably available here. I’m excited about my fresh batch of your Salted Caramel Pear Butter in Weck jars
All these comments make me so sad. I just received my order of 22 ‘tulip’ style liter and half liter Weck jars. I wish they were easier to buy in wherever you all live! They are just so great for canning or cupboard storage. It makes so much sense having a reusable glass lid, with just the rubber ring to replace. It is just so much more eco than Ball metal lids or the screw type lids. Cheaper too! I am getting into proper canning now for the first time, and I’d be lying if I said my love affair with jars didn’t have something to do with it! Luckily, I’m living in Germany and can have all of these Weck jars shipped to my door. Maybe that *isn’t* a good thing. lol! Happy canning, All!!
I’d like to reuse my seals in the cupboard for dry storage after they’ve been used for canning, but they always stretch out when I remove the lids on sealed jars. Any tips for gently removing them or reshaping them?
Often, a soak in just boiled water can help them find their shape again.
Does anyone know how to open a Wek jar after the tab has been torn off?
Carefully wedge the tip of a butter knife in between the lid and the jar. That should do it.