Mason jars are the preferred container for homemade pickles and jams. They come in a wide variety of sizes, with optional colourful lids in place of the standard gold or silver coloured ones. I enjoy using the small jars with holiday lids as part of my Christmas gift baskets.
Before you can use a Mason jar, it must be properly sterilized to prevent bacteria from forming. You can do this one of two ways:
- Using tongs, place the jars carefully in boiling water. Allow jars to boil for 10 mins. Use tongs to remove jars.
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow jars to cook for 20 mins.
Remember when filling the jars to leave some room at the top. As the pickles cool the air will form a natural suction, and you should hear a noticeable “popping” sound as the lids seal. The center of the lid will turn inward, and you should not be able to push down on it with your finger. If you do not hear the “popping” sound and/or you are able to push down on the lid with your finger, then the jar is not properly sealed, and should not be treated as such.
People often ask me where the best place to buy your bottles is. I don’t think that I can give a definitive answer to that question. It really depends on what you’re looking for, and what’s best for me may not necessarily be best for you. I think every department and grocery store probably carries Mason jars, at least in my area. I’ve bought them from Sobeys, Canadian Tire, and Walmart, among other places.