Canning in Vintage Jars

June 9, 2009(updated on September 20, 2021)

When I first started becoming truly enthralled with canning, I began to look beyond the standard Mason/Ball/Kerr jars available. I discovered the Weck jars that are typically used in Europe, but was put off a bit by the price tag and the fact that they are often hard to actually get (I did break down and order a half dozen from Lehman’s, but with shipping, they cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 a jar. That is far too much for the volume of canning I typically do).


However, when I took a close look at the way in which the Weck jars seal, I realized that they are practically identical to the vintage bailing wire canning jars that were popular in this country through most of the 20th century. The glass lids on the Weck jars seal via a rubber gasket. Through the hot water process, everything is held in place by a couple of metal clips. The glass lids on the vintage jars seal via a rubber gasket.

During canning, the lid is held in place by the metal wire that locks up over the lid. The thing that makes the vintage jars even better than the Weck jars is that you have an easy way to keep the jar closed after you’ve opened it, via the bailing wire. When you use the Weck jars, you have to keep replacing the metal clips (or get a set of their plastic lids).


So once I figured out that the jars I already had (and had gotten for free when helping a friend of a friend clean out her mother’s basement) would do the exact same job as the spendy ones, I got down to work. I ordered a set of rubber gaskets from Lehman’s for just over three bucks (they’re the only ones who still seem to carry them) and made a canning plan.

I did a mixed berry jam, because I’ve been endeavoring to clean out my freezer, in preparation for the coming onslaught of produce and still had some frozen fruit from last summer. I supplemented my frozen strawberries and raspberries with some fresh (but cheap and decidedly not local) strawberries (I made up for it the following week by hand-picking 13 pounds of local strawberries and making the best jam I’ve ever tasted. That recipe is coming later this week).


When canning with these jars, most of the steps are the same as with the screw-top jars. You clean your jars, lids and seals well, prepare your jam and fill the jars. Once the jars are filled, you wipe the tops clean and the apply the rubber seals and top with the glass lids (of course, making sure that your vintage jars and lids are without chips, cracks or other damage).

Like when you can with conventional mason jars, you need to leave some space for the air to escape. To do this, you don’t lock the wire down all the way. You close it so that it’s closed, but pointing up, not down (if this doesn’t make sense, just get an old bailing wire jar and start opening and closing it. You’ll soon notice the two closure positions).

Process jars as usual. When time has elapsed, remove the jars from the water, being careful not to tip them (these jars are mostly glass, which means that if you get the jam on the top of the lid, you’ll see it, and if you’re a bit of a perfectionist, the residue that will stick to the lid will vex you). At this point, grab a tea towel and lock the wires into the tightest position with the wire pointed downwards. This presses the rubber gasket more firmly into contact with the rim of the jar and ensures a good seal.

These jars are in the fully locked, post-process position.

The next day, when the jars are all cool, unlock the bailing wire. The lid should not move in the slightest. Test your seal by picking the jar up by the glass lid (don’t go crazy, just lift an inch or two above the countertop). It should hold fast. If it doesn’t, your seal is no good. If it holds, leave the wire unlocked and store as you would any other sealed jar.

5 from 3 votes

Mixed Berry Jam


  • 8 cups chopped mixed berries if frozen, let defrost thoroughly with their juice
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean split and scraped
  • 2 lemons zested and juiced
  • 2 packets liquid pectin


  • Pour the fruit into a large, wide pot (give yourself at least 8-9 quarts). Add sugar, vanilla bean seeds and vanilla been pod and stir to combine.
  • Once, the sugar has begun to dissolve, set the pot over high heat and bring to boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium-high and cook at a gentle bubble for 15-20 minutes, until the jam begins to look syrupy.
  • Bring up to a rolling boil and add the lemon juice, zest and pectin. Let boil for an additional five minutes and check the set with either the saucer test or the sheet test.
  • Ladle into prepared jars, clean rims, apply lids and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes (remember that you don’t start timing until the water has reached a boil).

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5 from 3 votes (1 rating without comment)

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136 thoughts on "Canning in Vintage Jars"

  • Lovely pictures and tasty sounding jam. What an informative post. Makes me want to get into canning even more than I already do. thanks!

    Luna, I’m so glad that I’ve got you wanting to leap into canning even more! If you have any questions, feel free to ask! -Marisa

    1. i dont know what website means,but i just wanted to say i luv the lehman’s catalog i use it all the time.

  • Please submit my name to win the jar. It looks delicious! I love your easy to follow directions on canning. I’ve been wanting to can myself for some time now and I might just give it a try now! πŸ™‚

    Eliza, a girl with culinary talents such as yours should definitely try canning. Any time you have a question, let me know! -Marisa

  • I swear that you must be reading my mind. I just picked up an old Mason jar (just clear) this weekend that requires a rubber seal and wondered where you get them. But since I only have one, I’ll probably hold out on using it for canning anything quite yet. I mostly bought it because it was pretty and only $1. πŸ™‚

    Andi, those types of jars, even without the rubber seal, are good for holding things like nuts and raisins. -Marisa

  • Oooh, I’ll take a shot! I love the sound of a runny jam…especially in yogurt with some oats? Yes please. Once local berries are ripe, I might be hitting up your blog with canning questions!

    Kickpleat, we are on the very same wavelength. This morning I ate that exact runny jam with yogurt, oats, banana and pecans. Also, please send any questions you have my way, I’d be happy to answer them! -Marisa

  • I was looking at the link you posted a week ago for small batch strawberry jam and thinking of making it tomorrow or the day after. Is your recipe also small-batch friendly at all?

    (and, yes, I’d love a shot at the mixed berry jam)

    Livia, you could divide this recipe in half very easily and it would make a nice, small batch. The only sticking point with dividing it further is the pectin, as you’re sort of stuck with the amount in each packet. However, you could also try your hand at jam-making without pectin. You’d need to extend the cooking times, but it is possible. -Marisa

  • I would like a shot at trying this delicious looking jam please!

    Wylin, you are in the running! -Marisa

  • Well, of COURSE I want a shot at mixed berry jam/syrup, and it is so cool that you were able to use those old jars! I’m glad I invited you to the house-clean-out-free-for-all that day!

    Fran, I’m so glad you invited me that day as well! I am still totally in love with all the cookbooks I brought home with me as well! -Marisa

  • I grew up in an orphanage where we made jam in these old jars! We canned in large quanties, but used small jars when we ran out of cans. Especially making pickles; which we did in the old large crocks filled with spices and brine and left sitting for days. What a reminder of my childhood! THANKS Marisa!

    Pat, you’re so welcome! Sounds like you had an interesting childhood! -Marisa

  • Mmm…strawberry jam is my favorite! I made a batch with blueberries in it once; I’d love to try some with raspberry!

    Tim, it’s really good stuff. -Marisa

  • I want a shot at winning this jar of yummy. Question, are the rubber rings reuseable or do you need to replace it with a fresh ring each time you reuse the jar?

    e, unfortunately, you can’t reuse the rubber rings. They become a bit compressed during the canning process (which is a good thing, as it means your food will be safe to eat) but that means that they also lose the springiness which allows for a good seal. However, they cost less than $3 for a dozen, which makes them pretty darn cheap (and cheaper in comparison to the rings and lids that you get at the grocery store). -Marisa

  • hi marisa,
    this is such a great idea! i love, love, love the look of those old jars but don’t have any because i figured i couldn’t really use them to can. now i am inspired to go out and look for some. i must admit i not versed at looking for them.

    can you give us some pointers on places to find them?


    Tigress, I’d start with your local thrift and antique stores. Many garage sales will yield a few. You can also often buy boxed lots of them on ebay for cheap. If you find the jars without the glass lids, you can also typically get replacements on ebay that aren’t too pricey. -Marisa

  • Love those jars…I think I might’ve found a friend to try canning with me! I’m also interested in the answer e’s question.

    Stephanie, I’m so glad you found a canning buddy! Check out e’s comment above for the answer to her question! -Marisa

  • My grandmother used to have glass-top Ball jars, and she’d use them to put up all manner of foods. I used to love wandering around her enormous pantry (she lived in an old farmhouse), “shopping” for our noon-time meal (called dinner, in true rural-American style).

    Rebecca, what a lovely memory to have! I also shopped in my grandmother’s pantry as a kid, but hers was lined with canned food from the grocery store and was in the garage, so it wasn’t quite so picturesque. -Marisa

  • Pick me! Pick me! Oh please, pick me!

    Wait, I don’t want to sound needy.

    See you in September when I learn how to put up tomatoes with you at Fosters.

    Oh yay, I’m delighted to hear that you’re going to be in the tomato class in September! -Marisa

  • Ooh, I love it! I’m always picking up those old jars when I find them in good condition. Now I know where I can get new seals, and also that I can use them for canning! Sweet post!

  • The jam looks delish, but I thought it was considered unsafe to use anything but the regular mason flats/rings combo. I have thought about using my glass top jars, but everywhere I read says no. (and I have a slight fear of the canning police showing up at my door) πŸ™‚

    Tara, your question deserves a post of its own. I’ll have it up later today. -Marisa

  • All my jams are runny! Better to stir into yogurt or pour over ice cream!

    Pam, I always give jars of jam to my down-the-hall, elderly neighbor, Charlie. His favorite thing to do with them is eat them over ice cream and he too appreciates the runny jams! -Marisa

  • I really love the look of those vintage jars. I’m just diving into canning this summer and I’ve been planning on buying jars like those, but I had no idea that they’re so expensive. Yikes!

    Thanks for the post. πŸ™‚

  • That’s great to know about the Weck rubber seals — I have loads of vintage canning jars without seals, and haven’t used them for any canning. I’m off to order now.

  • My boyfriend got me a yogurt maker and I’m always looking for new, delicious things to mix into my yogurt. I would love to win a jar of your mixed berry jam so sign me up!

  • awesome! I did some canning 2 summers ago (peaches, apple butter, and a praline syrup), and really want to get back into it this year. i made some refrigerator pickles 2 nights ago and am gonna crack them open tonight to see how it went. It’s sort of a recipe test run, as I’m also trying to grow my own pickling cucumbers in my little patio ‘victory garden’. fingers crossed!

  • I love your blog and the jam sounds delish. I ordered canning supplies, but alas, the canning rack I got is too big for the 2 pots I already own. Bummer. But as soon as I figure out a solution to this problem, I’ll make my gramma proud and get to canning!

  • Looks delicious. Just bought some jars a few weeks ago to make some pickled okra and at some point plan to try jams as well. Spooned over cottage cheese sounds great. Glad to have found this site!

  • I am really excited to start to get into canning. I need to slowly start investing in the supplies before the markets just get hit with produce. Thanks for sharing. I just found your blog from The Kitchn and I love it already!

  • Hey Marisa, I remember my Granny Bartlett canning using hot liquid parafin wax to pour over what went into the jar. Have you pondered that technique at all? I remember great fun in opening a new jar and tipping off the cooled parafin and licking the bottom of it for some straight jam flavor.

  • My mom used to have some of these jars when I was little. They were awesome. Miss that little house too. :/

    Great post!

  • the jam looks great! i’m gearing up to do some preserving, once i eat my fill of the produce we’re getting!

  • Thank you so much for this post. I, like you, got very excited with canning, and canned BBQ sauce that I made, peppers, and even tried my hand at marmalade. The vintage jars have always been very appealing to me, and I do believe I’ll be trying them out, once I acquire some.

  • Hi, I have a ton of these jars and lids and plan to get rubbers from Lehmans. I put shelled indian corn in them for my grandkids to sell along with the pumkins and gourds. Some of my wire bails are in bad shape do you have any idea about getting replacements. Thanks,Bill

  • This is the first time I’ve come across your site, and I must say it got me really excited and impressed! Didn’t know that anyone still did home canning these days, what more with the vintage jars that were really created for that purpose! Fun!!

  • Love the jars! I am going to look into getting some. Less waste with the bands and not the throw away lids. Like that idea as well. The jam will be getting done some time soon here, sounds nummy.

  • I realize I’m late to the party here, but my local Ace carries the rubbers. They are may or may not be Ball brand, but they’re out there!

  • I know the FDA frowns on using the Glass topped Jars. Nuts to them!

    They say they might not seal as well! I have the reverse problem.
    I have a really hard time unsealing my jars. I have to wedge a sharp
    knife in under/over the seal to break the vacuum!

    I also think you can re-use the seals. When you boil them (don’t boil them very much!)
    they will become pliable and more or less snap back to their original shape.
    As long as the will hold a vacuum, they are good.

    I’d like to find a better way to open them without possibly damaging the seal.

    Also when I but them in the canner, I put the wire bail over the lid,
    put don’t lock the bail/lid down. That lets to hot air/vapor escape the jar,
    but keeps the water bath out of the jar. I snap the bail down after I
    take the jars out of the bath.

    Jaimes Beam.

    1. Hi Jaimes,
      I saw your post and thought I’d share my discovery. If you pull on the tab of the rubber gasket, it breaks the seal and the jars open quite easily!

  • Can you mix peaches in this recipe too? I have a ton of peaches still frozen from last summer that I am trying to find uses for! Thanks! πŸ™‚

  • Thanks for the info…I just bought 30 of the glass top bailing wire type quart jars for five bucks….so relieved to hear you can seal em like the newer ones. Can’t wait for my garden to start producing!!

  • both the large and small seals are $2.49 a dozen at the local hardware store, I have found them at Ace and Aubuchon’s

    I get the jars all the time in the glass recycling dumpster at the local “mall” (aka the dump) , sometimes there will be a box full with (omg) lids, left sitting beside the dumpster.. like a gift πŸ™‚ I take them all home, sort them and keep all usable parts, jars, lids bails and caps, I take back what is not usable

    when checking for cracks and chips the only not so obvious thing I have found is where the wire fits into the glass jar, they should all be snapped shut with a seal in place (empty) to make sure the arm does not fall off! toss those jars, lids with chips can be used on craft projects so I save them in a separate area from the usable ones and these jars sell sell sell when filled with bread and butter pickles at the flea market and craft fairs in my area, I think it gives people a peaceful feeling when they walk away with something they remember getting from grandma or a dear great aunt when they were a child. I know it makes me think of both whenever my canner comes out, they taught me how to use it 40 years ago, and I am grateful they were so kind πŸ™‚

  • I am totally convinced that I have to try some jams in these or in Weck jars. I have a few bail jars, but no rubbers right now. I am glad to find a source for the rubbers via your post. I love your blog.

  • I was reading “Putting Food By” (a great resource), and they also mentioned that the bails should be half closed when they go in the canning bath, and then fully locked after they have been removed. It’s the same principle as tightening the two part lids to “finger tight.” I have about 75 of these, and just ordered my rings through the local hardware store. Can’t wait to get to work with them!

  • I purchased a one gall Ball jug with a spicket and a glass lid at a second-hand store. It was missing the wire bail and I am having great difficulty locating a replacement for the bail. The circumference of my jug is 14″. Do you have any suggestions as to where I might be able to purchase a replacement bail?

  • i canned using italian glass jars i found at a garage sale. i too am having the same problem as jaimes– i can’t break the seal! i’ve tried to pull on the tab as krista recommends, but unfortunately i lined up the tab with where the bail clips into place, so i having the dickens of a time! in the interest of preventing a bodily injury as i try to unpry this seal with a knife, might any folks have any ideas of what to try next? thanks. πŸ™‚

  • Of course you had a post on these! And thank you for having one. Our lovely neighbor is moving and I was gifted with her boxes of vintage jars. Four boxes. Big boxes. Full of blues, bigs, litlles and a smattering of odd little itty bitties. I am thrilled.

    Thanks again!

  • I have lots of old vintage jars and would love to use them. I was just wondering how to use them when I do salsa? I would love it if you could let me know.

    1. You can reuse them a few times, but check them thoroughly before each reuse, to ensure that they’re free from cracks or tears.

  • Hi there, I was fortunate to come across a few old ball jars with the attached glass lids ($2 each!!). However they have been stored for years closed with the rubber seal compressed on there. It is stuck. Short of chipping it off, do you have any advice?

  • I agree and can see no difference other than price of these vs the Weck. They both have lids, gaskets and ring/wire bale. You remove the ring of the Weck and loosen the bale both can be watched and tested for a bad seal. I see no safety issues at all and intend to use mine.

  • Hi, I have a bunch of vintage ball jars… a few dozen. I am planning on replacing the rubber gaskets through the same seller. But, what am I to do about the rusty wires? I cannot seem to find replacements anywhere! Can you help?

    1. You just can’t get new wires. You can either pull them off the jars and scrub them, or you can just live with them. They don’t come into contact with the food, so they won’t impact the safety of your food.

      1. You can use Ospho (phosphoric acid), which is a rust inhibitor. Wear rubber gloves, steel wool the wires, wipe with a rag, brush the wires with the Ospho and then wipe again with a rag. Allow to dry thoroughly (I usually leave them overnight) then was is soapy water and dry. This will turn your wire black, but it will stop the rust and protect the functionality of your jar wires.

    2. I just got into these jars this year, I have in mind to oil the bail so as to not have any more rust. Vegetable oil will work but it never drys and will remain sticky, I have been burning Waste Vegetable Oil / WVO in my 1980 V W Rabbit for fuel for about 6 years. I have thought I might make some type of a jig to make these wire bail with – have not done it yet – but it is on my mind. I am a rancher / farmer / old guy and seem to have less time each year – ha ha. I don’t KNOW what type of wire to use – yet, but I thought this might help someone. I am certain there will be a learning curve, I am also thinking on making a machine to form canning bands for the old glass lids which I have a bunch of, frankly I don’t know where to begin. Partially because I presume it would be financially prohibitive. I have made some jar rubbers from food grade rubber and a gasket cutter, I just got the first batch too big, they stuck out some from the edge of the lid and the band pulled the seal off when removed – so i was unable to check the seal. Need more food grade silicone and the end of the month came slower than the end of the money. I have no doubt they will work, if anyone wants more information let me know, if you don’t get an answer you may have fallen through the cracks – send another. I dump about 3-4,000 unopened emails per month, lots of things get lost here. Put Jar Rubbers in the subject line, I might notice that. If you want to let me know how to go about making screw on bands for glass lids I would like to know that as well. I am James Elmer πŸ™‚

      1. James Elmer, GASKETS FOR VINTAGE JARS: were you ever able to carry through with making the gaskets out of food grade silicone or good grade rubber. Things have come full circle and another generation is getting into Homesteading. I have many of the glass jars and now dollartree are coming out with small jars, however I am having problems with getting them to seal. Also, for jams and jellies, at one time we use paraffin to seal, but now it is not advised. Between all these idea, maybe you will come up with some ideas. Priscilla

    3. Put the wire bails in a container of molasses and let sit for a week. Remove and rinse. Your bails will be clean as new. This is an old trick car restoration guys use.

  • I’ve acquired some Crown jars and bought new rubber seals, but I’m not having much success in getting the jars to seal. I’m keeping the mouths of the jars clean and the rubber seals are clean and so are the glass tops. Is there something I’m missing? Should I be tightening the screw band after removing the jars from the hot water?

    1. If your jar rubbers are sticking out past the glass lid, they may well be touching the band and being pulled off when you take off the band, or not letting the lid seal to begin with. I cut some rubbers myself, and got them sticking out slightly, it is my theory when the vaccuum pulls down on the rubber it flattens it even more making the rubber tight against the band. Some of mine did that. You don’t want to have the rubber being wider than the glass lid INSERT, I bought some jar rubbers on ebay and they stuck out past the glass about 1/32 or 1/16,” when I put the lid on it did not go on easy. On bail tops it HAS to be wider, I have learned there are lots of sizes of jar rubbers, I am now making my own, I buy food grade silicone and cut them out with a gasket cutter – both bought on ebay. You will want your blade to stick down 1/16,” if that is the thickness of your gasket material / food grade silicone, if it is more you will cut holes in your cutting board, I used my wife’s plastic or nylon cutting board, there is one side she does not like so I use that side. I use a diamond steel sharpener to touch up my blades. I could not buy small / regular mouth gaskets for the glass lid inserts, nor for the wide mouth glass lid inserts. I bought some Canadian rubbers, that fit fine on Canadian jar inserts / medium mouth, it is a real tussle to stretch them over the wide mouth inserts – but it can be done. You can buy small Weck jar rubbers from Lehman’s that may work for small mouth glass inserts, but the ones I got have tabs and those MUST be cut off before using them for small mouth / regular GLASS inserts and screw on bands, still they stick out from the edge of the GLASS INSERT, I have not tried them yet but I expect trouble. Back to the gasket cutter ! I am James Elmer πŸ™‚

      1. The gaskets I bought on Ebay were made by an individual contracting for gaskets and they stuck out beyond the width of the glass lid, when I cut mine out I made them the same size, which was too big. I might be able to use them for Zinc caps.?! I don’t know where to buy gaskets / jar rubbers for the small or wide mouth glass inserts – you can buy Canadian size for glass inserts, like I said above, it is a real tussle to stretch them out for wide mouth, BUT it can be done.

    2. With the Crown jars you first tighten the metal band, then untighten it about a 1/4”, then firmly tighten after processing. They work on the same principle as the older american zinc lids and rubbers worked.

    3. Did you boil the rubber rings? Then apply to clean jar. Put on glass lid and clamp down to seal. My Mom did that and the seal should work.

  • I am new to canning and am curious about the following jars I found.
    I think they are adorable and want to preserve some apple butter in them to give as Christmas gifts. Could you please let me know if I could use your same method as described in this post if I were to use these jars? They are clamp top, so I’m not sure if they’re meant for canning.

    Thank you so much! Your blog is adorable and so helpful!

    1. Those jars may not be rated for boiling water bath canning. You’d need to check with the manufacturer before you try canning in them.

      1. I have these same jars and have asked them online if they are safe for boiling and for directions on how to use for canning. They were listed as canning jars on webrestaurant but after an extensive internet search (while waiting for a reply) I have found no information for use, not even on the national canning site (which needs an update). Have either of you found more information since this was posted? I am all ready to make rhubarb rosemary jam….

  • I been canning for years and my sister gave me a sweet & cute round jar with peaches .ok now my brain went into gear I ordered the metal clip down to put strawberry jam and will share as Christmas gifts this year. I was reading on a wed site how to do there all new with new seals. Does the seals need new ones each time used in canning?

    1. Probably not, but it would be a good idea to turn the gasket over each time so as to NOT build up a memory in the rubber.

  • I know canning season is about over here,but getting thinking about next season…I have some of the wire jars gotten from an old house before it was destroyed.I have a few glass tops.I was wondering how they worked and your info on this site was helpful..I do need to get some rubber rings..I know…A question…..I have some……

    I think they are zinc lids which are glass on the inside of them..Do these require rubber rings??How do I test the sealing process with these?? Information will be appreciated. Thank you!

    1. Arlene, it’s not recommended that you use those zinc lids. The good news is that those jars typically work with standard two-piece rings. The reason they don’t recommend those lids is that there is no reliable way to test that the seals are good.

    1. I wouldn’t advise it, simply because the stock of available jars in this style are so old. They’re all certain to have seen a lot of use in their lifespan and so will probably be more prone to breakage.

      1. I’m wondering the same thing. I would really like to know if anyone has tried it. I’ve noticed with the old jars that I have (might be different than others jars) that they are not only in great shape, but the glass is actually thicker and more durable than the current new style Ball jars.

        Just wondering if there are any updates to this question of pressure canning with them.

        1. Hi. I pressure can with mine. They aren’t wire bail but glass lid with zinc band. I remove the band for storage. Love them but I have a 1/8-1/4 seal failure rate when canning fatty things, like baked beans with a slice of bacon in each jar. I’m thinking this would happen with snap lids too. I tend to overfill.

          1. I pressure can green beans in my wire bail glass jars every year. I occasionally get a failure and think it is my fault not the jar’s. I can purchase new red rubbers at my local grocery store. Oh, and I also pressure can applesauce. My wires are very rusty and corroded. I just ignore this but I wish I could renew them. The problem is, some are so bad, there is not much original steel left. I don’t understand why these lost favor.

    2. My mother (who learned canning from her mother in the 1930’s) only used the wire bail jars for tomatoes and fruit in a hot water bath. But by the time I came along, the regular metal lids were here and she did other canning in those types of cans. As I recall, it was because the rubber seals were getting hard to find, along with the fact we ate Hellman’s Mayonnaise by the quart. Most of the jars I still have in my cellar are mayo type jars that we used for canning–we NEVER threw out a mayonnaise jar! πŸ™‚ I still use the old mayo jars. So take that for what it’s worth.

      I will say, glass does get harder with age, and I assume harder also means more brittle so where it once might have “bounced” it would now break in a given situation where you knock it into something. I don’t know about the qualities it has when pressure and heat is applied, though. If the jar is solid and the rubber seals you have are good, I wouldn’t be afraid to try it.

      If you have a very old jar that may have bubbles in the glass, I’ve read do not pressure can with these. The bubbles make weak areas, and it makes sense to use those for storage where you aren’t sealing them in canning situations anymore.

      My mother always said that food lasts longer in the old bail style jars, because there is no metal lid to get rusty (our cellars were generally dampish). And that’s true. If the liquid in the jar can keep the rubber seal from drying out, the food inside will stay sealed for years. There are still cans of tomatoes my mother canned 40 years ago sitting in my cellar that look fine. I won’t ever eat them, but I leave them to remember those times.

  • Thanks for these instructions!! I have been looking for instructions since I found out IKEA markets their korken line as canning appropriate and sells replacement rubber gaskets!

  • Just used two of these jars, one Weck and one unknown brand, to can some pear halves. Never used them before even though we brought many back from a tour in Germany a few years ago, mostly I had just put dry beans etc in them but I had the gaskets new from IKEA and ran out of large mouth jars. I process other screw-lid jars 20 minutes so I did the same for these. I noticed bubbles escaping past the gaskets all during processing. Is it normal to see these bubbles? Also it is obvious that the pressure building inside a screw lid jar will increase the temperature beyond boiling, just like in a pressure cooker, but the gasket type may be loosing the pressure and therefore not building to as high temperature. Is it over 160 F is the question, enough to kill germs? In any case the tops were tightly sealed when they cooled so I am happy with that. Thanks for sharing your knowledge of these old jars with us, it really gave me confidence to proceed.

    1. It’s entirely normal to see air bubbles escaping from the jars during processing. It happens with conventional mason jars as well. And mason jars do not raise the temperature above boiling. If you developed that kind of pressure, the jars would explode. The boiling water gets to 212 degrees F, which is plenty.

  • will be stocking these jars (new), new bails, plus we will have a shaker top available as an option to the traditional glass top used for canning. They will be in stock in early October 2015. There is a lot of talk about replacement bails, and use of vintage jars here…The Jars that will be available are new, but identical to most popular vintage jars.

    1. I am so new to this… I have just gotten a boat load of these type of jars and also another name brand that starts with an A. but a lot of my wire bails are gross.. and almost hard to use because of the rust. but is there or will there be a replacement type of some sort that will let us use the reg type of lids you see now adays ? to swith over the vintage glass lids with wire bail to the new type of lids that are everwhere ? does that make any sense ? thanks

  • My mother only canned with vintage jars called Crown sealers. I have dozens of jars. I’ve used them regularly. I agree with Anthony m santon I from April 2015. Fill jars to 1/4 inch from the top, wipe top of jars thoroughly, place new rubber seal on jars, put on sterilized glass tops then screw on lids. Tighten lid then back off 1/4″. Process in water bath for required time. Remove from bath and tighten finger tight. Bubbles will escape during processing. I live in Ontario, Canada. I purchase the rubber rings from the Home Hardware store in our town. Look online (home for them and I’m sure you can purchase them. Many women in our community have used them for years. Your choice as to what you use. People new to canning would be better to use newer glass jars.

    1. Those are not canning jars. They are simply storage jars. They’re good for spices and small amounts of dry goods, but that’s it.

  • I am not new to canning but I just became the proud owner of close to 200 old jars like these in various sizes 1/2 gal. to 1/2 pt. and have a few that are still in the original boxes unopened, I would like to find out the value of them, I know some of them are in the time period of 1933-1962 by the ball logo. but haven’t got to check all of them, also some of them are Atlas brand, Thank you.

    1. I see these being sold on E-bay for as much as $5 each. I don’t know it any are being purchased. I do know the green glass jars go for more money. Do a search on E-bay for your jar type.

  • I know with the metal lids you can only use them once for canning. So my question is can you reuse the rubber gaskets more than once for canning or should you replace those each time? I’m having a hard time finding the answer to that. Thanks!

    1. I have reused the rubber gaskets. Essentially you want to make sure that they still have some elasticity. If they don’t bounce back from the compression of canning, then they are done.

  • I have about 200 Atlas Ez Seal jars. (Glass top with bail wire). No chips or cracks in them. Wires even look great. Can these be used for pressure canning in?

  • I have old rubber seals still in the box. Can I boil them and will they soften for using for canning? Also can I can meats with these jars?

    1. You should look them over carefully to make sure none have cracks or chip. Then test their flexibility. If they still seem quite elastic, they should be okay to use for high acid foods. I wouldn’t trust vintage jars in a pressure canner.

  • I trust vintage jars in my pressure canner! In fact I have tested this and they work beautifully! Have done this for years and no problems…….. even using the ones with air bubbles. They were made to be used in pressure cookers. Does glass become more brittle with age? I don’t think anyone has proved that. These jars are much thicker than modern jars. Make sure the rims and lids are free of chips and use good rubber gaskets. Get the rubbers that have a pull tab on them for easy opening. Just pull the tab to open. No knives please! I keep my bail wires in good shape with steel wool and white vinegar and always put a little in the pressure cooker. It keeps the pressure cooker shiny and the bail wires like new. Use common sense. If a jar is having an issue sealing it will act different than all of the other jars when cooling. For example, when removing them from the pressure cooker they will be bubbling away (inside the jars) for hours after processing. A jar that isn’t sealing well will not be bubbling or will stop long before other jars. The next day I wash the jars in Dawn soap and hot water to get any grease off with the bail wires loosened to double check. You will know right away if there is an issue. It’s not guess work. They don’t become “unsealed” mysteriously months later, in fact I believe the seals on the bail wire jars are much stronger than the modern ball lids. I love finding an old jar and putting it back into service. People are just fascinated when they see my canned chicken, soups beef, sauces, etc in these old jars. My favorite jars to use are bail wire (quart and pint) I have lot’s of the clear and blue ones. Also love the old blue jars with the rounded shoulders. These often, amazingly, still have a smooth ridge because zinc lids were used to seal these and protected the jars. When I use a modern lid on them they seal really well. I know “putting food by” says the old jars have been through the battle and need to be retired” but I think they were made for the battle field and don’t appreciate age discrimination just like me! Can away, canners!!!

  • I canned jelly using these hinged jars and there is condensation inside top of jar. What can I do about this? How to check if jars are sealed?

    1. Don’t worry about the condensation. It will eventually dissipate. And you can check the seals but releasing the bail and checking to see if the seal stays strong.

  • Hi there! I recently came across some vintage jars like the ones above with the over the top metal wires. Do you know how/wear I could find replacement wires or if you’ve ever had to clean the ones you’ve purchased? The ones I got have some rust wear and tear on them. Not sure if I should try to take them apart and clean them down or if someone, somewhere, sells the replacement wires. Figured I’d ask a jar-er if they know of anyone who has them somewhere.

    1. I don’t believe that anyone makes those bails anymore. You might look on eBay to see if anyone is selling some that have been salvaged from old jars. They are quite easy to pull off and put back on the jars, though, so you might try prying them off and cleaning them.

  • Are you saying you need to place the hinge-top in place over the jar, but not lock it, THEN put the jar under water for the heat treatment? Thanks in advance for your response.

    1. When you are working with a jar where the wire is still tight and you put a new rubber seal on it, you’ll find that the lid is held tightly in place even before you press the wire down to lock it. You need to leave the bail up during processing so that the air can escape. It’s tight enough that the water of the canner can’t get in and the air can vent.

  • 5 stars
    I acquired some vintage jars with glass lids that are in great shape. You answered all my questions and I’m going to use them. Any excuse to order from Lehmans is welcome, we visit the store in Kidron, OH now and then because it’s always worth the trip.

  • I’m looking at using the old style Ball jars with the glass lid/rubber seal. I remember my mom using them when I was child but I don’t remember what was canned in them. Can you can vinegar based products in them too?

  • Hi! I love your site. I have about 100 jars that were filled with tomatoes and mushrooms canned in 1960. My Mom was a great canner! I emptied them (except for a couple for souvenirs) and my brother has developed jigs to make new bail wires from stainless so they won’t rust. They work perfectly. They are individually made so each one is a bit different but he tests every one. He has made about 200 so far and I’ll only need 100 if anyone is interested.

  • I have bail type jars like in your picture. All are regular mouth size jars but I can’t seem to find the rubber seals for regular mouth. (Plenty of wide mouth size available online) Any help finding some of these seals would be great. I’m excited to try canning in these jars. Thank you (I’m in Michigan.)

  • Hi I’m new to canning and was looking to use the bail wire jars I’m just wondering if the rubber seals are one-time use like the screw top seals?

    1. You can typically reuse the rubber seals several times. The ones I have are made of very thick rubber and so are more resilient than the sealing compound on the single use lids.

  • 5 stars
    Can you advise me? I have a jar that has this type of metal and rubber closure/seal. There is so much pressure I can’t open the jar. Any thoughts?
    Loved the recipe!

    1. Have you tried wiggling a butter knife between the lid and jar? Or inverting the jar in a bowl of hot water?

  • I know this is an older post so this question is a long shot. I’ve been loving your blog and have found it super useful during this preserving season! I wanted to take a shot at canning with some of our bailing wire jars, but I’ve primarily been using a steam canner as it’s a faster and easier process for me right now. Do you know if I could use these jars in a steam canner?
    Thank you!

    1. These vintage jars process just like regular mason jars, so I don’t see why they wouldn’t work in a steam canner. Perhaps use just one in a batch when you do it the first time to ensure that it seals well before committing a whole batch to those jars.

    1. I don’t typically use these for pressure canning, simply because of their age. These are jars that haven’t been produced in a very long time and so are more likely to break in the pressure canner.

    1. You can reuse the rubber seals a few times. Just make sure to replace them when the rubber is compressed and doesn’t recover its springiness after use.

  • So when u place the wire to the down position and place it in the bath. What happens does it go all the way down when processing or does it come up due to the bubbling? Or I guess stay there? So just trying to understand the madness of this old method. Wanting to move away from ball lids

    1. You put the wire into the medium position for the processing time, but when you take the jars out of the canner, you push the wire all the way down.