Jars break. It happens to the very best of us. While it’s impossible to prevent it from happening 100% of the time, here are a few things you can do to minimize breakage as much as possible.
- Avoid using metal utensils inside your jars. A quick dip of a spoon should be okay, but when you’re down to your last dregs, use a silicone spatula to capture the last drops of jam instead of scraping with a butter knife. This cuts down on the small scratches that can eventually lead to weak points.
- Store your jars out of extreme weather. If you live in a climate with hot summers and cold winters, your garage is not the best place for jars. An insulated porch or basement is better.
- Don’t can in the jars you use for leftover storage or as drinking vessels. The kind of wear that jars experience when they’re used every day extracts a toll that they don’t see when used for canning. They end up being weaker and more prone to breakage in the canning pot.
- Quick temperature changes are the enemy. If you freeze in jars, make sure to defrost in the fridge. When canning, remember that the jars must be hot before you add more hot liquid. Never submerge a cold jar in a boiling canning pot, it will break.
- During processing, control your boil. A gentle boil is just fine, and the jars won’t bang around from the force of the water.
- Choose your canning pot wisely. If you’re canning a small batch, find a smaller pot to process in. Two or three jars in a giant pot are more apt to break.
- Use a canning rack. It ensures that the jars aren’t in direct contact with the heat of your stove.
- Never can jars that are only half full. They will float around the pot and are more prone to breakage. Find an appropriately sized jar or keep them in the fridge.