So Ball’s Mason Jar is not as common in my country but I want to try my hand at pressure canning sambal (chili, garlic, fermented shrimp paste, no vinegar). Is there any alternative to Ball’s Mason Jar that is gold standard for pressure canning? can I utilize this glass jar to pressure cook?


4 Answers 4


The important part of the system are the lids. The ideal lids are the Mason-type (no matter which company produced them), with a flat top and a separate side piece with thread.

mason jar with lid system

Another type that works is the older Weck style jar, which consists of a glass jar with glass lid, plus rubber steal and metal clamps, no threads. This system is as safe as the Mason style lids. It might require frequent rubber replacement when pressure canning, because the gasket gets quite deformed in pressure canning as opposed to water bath canning, and in the extreme cases, some jars don't seal properly because the gasket gets sucked inside. This is not a safety issue, because it is easily recognized when it happens, and you just remove these failed-to-seal jars from your batch.

Weck jar with lid

What you cannot use is single-piece twist-off LIDS as in your picture. They are not suited for pressure canning at home.

You might be able to use these jars, if you can find ones with the proper size mouth and threads to fit Mason-style lids on them. They will either seal properly and be safe, or not withstand the pressure and break apart while being heated in the canner. You will lose some jars that way, and will have a mess on your hands to clean, but you will not get food poisoning from improperly sealed jars. See https://www.healthycanning.com/re-using-bottles-from-store-bought-products/ for some expert opinions on that.

  • 3
    I would further advice caution on jars not marked as one of the canning brands even if it seems they fit. I was gifted jars that are off by just a slight amount and tried to use them to about a 50% seal failure and I was too unsure to even use the half that did seal as at that fail rate I could not feel safe on the others.
    – dlb
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 18:44

For home pressure canning, you should always use a Mason jar (Ball is one brand, but there are others). A "Mason jar" is the kind with the two-piece lid.

When using home equipment, the two-piece lid is important because it will seal properly inside the pressure vessel. If you use a jar with a one-piece lid, such as in your photo, the lid tightness needs to be very precise, or the jars will either (a) not seal properly, or (b) explode. (Ironically, it's actually safer if they explode.) That's not practical to do in a home kitchen.

Mason jars are getting more and more difficult to find these days, in many countries. But they're essential for home pressure canning.

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    Also, do not reuse the disc part of the lid. The screw ring band and the jar can be reused, but the disc with the sealing compound should not be. This is likely because the sealant will not perform a proper seal a second time. Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 21:46

You can use random jars, but it is not advised simply because you may waste food on failures of the seal and risk illness from contamination. It is not worth the risk of injury versus the cost of the better equipment.

Canning jars come in standard sizes of mouths and lids and have wider lips for better seal. Additionally, the glass is tempered to resist the temperature extremes so they are less prone to cracking. This makes them useful for freezing liquids as well. Mind the liquid expansion if you do this.

Source: https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/general/recomm_jars_lids.html

  • Using "random jars" for canning is dangerous; please see the end of rumtscho's answer for the multiple reasons why they're dangerous and shouldn't be used.
    – Allison C
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 18:01
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    In the US when I was young it was common to reuse random jars and even reuse undamaged sealing lids. The USDA though actively fought such practices. As part of that fight many commercial use jars are made thinner as industrial equipment does not need the heavier jar, so they save money. They also reduced quality control so often the rims are not even so seal will fail even if they survive the canning. The seal compound on the lids was intentionally made thinner to prevent attempts at reuse. These changes were done to thwart attempts to reuse for safety (and reduced costs to industry.)
    – dlb
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 18:54
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    There is nothing, anywhere, in my answer that advocates for using random jars. It seems that 'is not advised' is too subtle. There is a difference between could and should.
    – Eric
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 19:21
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    Phrasing: "You can use random jars, but ..." implies that it's not totally out of the question. In common usage that phrasing implies more than just that it's physically possible. "You could use random jars, but ..." is somewhat better. Or the clearest phrasing is something like: "Don't use random jars. It is not advised ..." Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 1:49

I believe further research would change your answer. The jar the questioner pictured is certainly safe and is proven so by the fact it has already withstood the far more rigorous commercial pressure canning process.

The lids on those jars are reusable many times. But I prefer home canning with new lug lids I purchase from a wholesale company ( I use Fillmore).

The conglomerate that produces the Ball-type two-part lids makes most of the brands sold today. The internet is full of tales of woe from experienced home canners finding delayed fails in the new 18-month lids weeks after storing the jars.,

Home canning jars are annealed with different properties from tempered.

In summary there are 3 choices for pressure canning lids

1) 2-part single use flats with reusable rings (balll-type)

2 2-part flats & reuseable rubber gasket made by Tattler (wire bail or separate reuseable screw ring is needed)

3) a secret known to home canners for many years, commercial quality jars purchased at great expense with one piece ‘lug’ lids. (or reused jars from grocery store purchases, spaghetti sauce for example. These jars have already been used in commercial pressure canning so are proven safe.

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