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Inexpensive canning jars [Moved from Home Cooking Board]

In NorCal here and already feedling the pinch of $3.92/gallon of gas and the expense of fresh produce. I'm growing and canning my own vegatables from the yard. Does anyone know where to find cheap canning jars? Thanks

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  1. I found all of my canning supplies at hardware stores.

      1. Check out your local Ace Hardware. My friend is an owner of one and she tells me they're very popular.

        1. For my home jam-making project, I buy jars either at Rainbow or Cole Hardware, depending on which part of town I'm in when I realize I need them.

          1. You might also try your local thrift store-- I saw about 20 at the Daly City Goodwill the other day for $.50/each.

              1. As an alternative to an extremely time consuming search at thrift stores, I found that Smart N' Final had the best price when I was canning. This is compared to major supermarket chains, Ace Hardware, and neighborhood mom and pop shops. I didn't check IKEA or Costco.

                1. Try Big Lots or any of the Dollar stores - Dollar General, Family Dollar, etc. They all carry them. The brand is typically Golden Harvest.

                  1. I live in Sonoma county, and found my canning jars last year at two main spots...the Big Lots store in Santa Rosa, near the JC, and the hardware store in Sebastopol (I think they may be an ACE...the one in the Fiesta parking lot, with the giant gopher sculpture out front. *gryn*). Some of the jars I got from the hardware store were priced better than at Big Lots or other stores I'd looked in. I'm pretty sure the hardware store always has them, and I didn't see any in Big Lots when I was in there about a month ago. You might also want to check the Grocery Outlet in Santa Rosa, Petaluma or Rohnert Park. Oh, and you can also often get them with a post to your local Freecycle mailing list. Check out http://www.freecycle.org/

                    1. Given the increased interest in home canning and preservation, I'm wondering if there are any updates for this thread.

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        In the East Bay, I will purchase from:
                        Longs in the Pleasant Valley Complex, Oakland
                        Orchard Hardware, Berkeley - they also have the new plastic lids for storage
                        Berkeley Bowl East (under the berry table)
                        generally the prices are within 0.25 of each other

                        1. re: mochimunchie

                          All of those, definitely (the Longs has the great Ball short and squat half pint jars), as well as BBWest and Ace Hardware on Grand. Ace consistently has the best prices.

                          1. re: JasmineG

                            Ace Hardware stores have a special until 9/7 for 12 quart jars @ $9.99 and 12 pint jars @ $8.99, both wide and regular mouth. That's a buck off the regular price.

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              Excellent, thanks I needed more quart jars anyway!

                            2. re: JasmineG

                              Oh, and forgot to mention that Orchard had little half pint jars. First time I ever saw these - would be good for jam or jelly gift.

                              1. re: mochimunchie

                                Orchard has always had those. I've used them for years for little one-serving size brandied cherries. Orchard always seems to have the biggest variety of canning jars.

                                1. re: rworange

                                  Are they half-pint or half-cup? Aren't half-pint jars pretty standard?

                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                    Actually I bought both from Orchard ... so long ago it was when I was living on the Peninsual and they just cut down some of Olson's cherry trees to build Orchard and condos. Over the years since then, it seems everytime I need canning jars Orchard is my usual to-go place.

                                    I was at Berkeley Bowl West today. They carry canning jars and supplies at the end of Aisle 4 (the bread aisle) on the end near the organic produce. Those prices are for a dozen regular mouth. Add a dollar for wide mouth.

                                    Not to lose any non-cooking creds, I use them mainly for storing flour, rice, etc ... not to mention berries.

                                    They carry 8 oz (11.75), half pint (9.95) , pint (10.45) and quart jars (12.65).

                                  2. re: rworange

                                    oh sorry - they are 4 oz not half pint.
                                    I just bought some 1/2 pint (8 oz) for $9.99

                                    1. re: mochimunchie

                                      Cool. I'm not sure I've ever seen 4 oz. canning jars!

                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                        They have the 4 ounce all the time at Ace and Longs, they're fun to use for making small batches of jam (and then you can use the 4 ounce for the jam at the bottom of the pot) and a few of them makes a nice gift.

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                          They are a little fancier these years with a cut glass sort of exterior they call quilted. It seems they are always more expensive than the half-pints. Anyway, while I was at Wal-mart today I took a look at prices. The brand is mainly Kerr with prices running from $6.82 for for regular mouth pints to $9 for wide-mouth quarts. The 4oz jars were $7. These were all packs of a dozen jars

                            3. Does anyone know where you can get Weck canning jars?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Kmanlove

                                This post on the Cookware board reports finding Weck at Heath Ceramics in LA. If you happen to call the Heath store in Sausalito, pls let us know what you find out.

                                1. re: Kmanlove

                                  Can't remember if they are Weck, but Sur La Table has some expensive canning jars.

                                2. Walmart sells quart-size regular-mouth Mason jars by the case and wide-mouth 4oz Mason jars in packages of six. They also sell packages of lids only. What I haven't found, however, are the white plastic lids to replace the 2-part metal lids on the quart-size jars.

                                  I prefer the white plastic lids because I use my jars for storage, not canning. Walmart used to sell them, but they no longer carry the plastic lids. I've looked for them at Target and various hardware stores to no avail. Anyone know where I can find the white plastic replacement lids?

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: cvhound

                                    I just found those white lids at Orchard on Ashby in Berkeley. Bought a couple packs
                                    Regular size, 8 pk for 3.99 and Wide for 4.79.

                                    1. re: mochimunchie

                                      Thanks so much for that intel, Mochi! Will have to see if the Orchard stores out my way carry the lids. Unfortunately, we rarely venture out to Berkely these days, but may have to make the trek for the lids. Thanks again!

                                      1. re: cvhound

                                        Any Orchard store in the area should be able to order anything that any other store stocks.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          Right. Same with Ace -- you can order something off the website and pick it up at the store sometimes, too.

                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                            Though different Ace stores have different pricing; the canning jars at the Grand Ave Ace are consistently a dollar or so cheaper than at the University Ave Ace store.

                                      2. re: cvhound

                                        I got curious and went to the Mountain View Walmart today to price canning supplies. They had:

                                        Kerr jars, cases of 12:
                                        4 oz "quilted," $7.70
                                        8 oz "quilted," $7.50
                                        8 oz regular, $7.12
                                        16 oz wide-mouth, $8.82

                                        Golden Harvest, 16 oz regular mouth jars, case of 12, $6.82

                                        Ball, 8 oz wide-mouth fancy jars, package of 4, $3.78

                                        Wide-mouth lids, package of 12, $2.12 -- they didn't have any regular size lids
                                        Regular pectin, 2-pack, $2.28
                                        No-sugar pectin (that is, for making low-sugar jams and jellies), $1.56
                                        Liquid pectin, package of 2 3-oz envelopes, $2.68

                                        All of this is significantly cheaper than Orchard, where I have been buying my canning supplies (for example, at Orchard I paid $11 for a dozen Kerr wide-mouth pint jars). On the other hand, the Orchard in Palo Alto has a better selection of lids and other canning paraphernalia, as well as quart jars, which Walmart did not have.

                                        1. re: jlafler

                                          Plus, as far as I know, Orchard isn't eeeevil.

                                        2. re: cvhound

                                          I can report that my friends bought the white plastic lids at an Ace hardware store in Palo Alto and another at Wisnow (sp?) Ace in San Mateo.

                                        3. A couple of other good, cheap sources:

                                          Garage sales, especially estate sales. Just check the rims of the jars to make sure they're not chipped. Ditto craigslist. Garage sales are also good sources of equipment (I got my kettle, jar lifter, wide-mouth funnel, etc. at a garage sale).

                                          Friends. When you give away preserves, ask for the jars to be returned. Or just ask if people have any canning jars hanging around their cupboards.

                                          Of course, these sources work better in the dead of winter. Right now it's canning season, so fewer people are getting rid of jars and there is more competition for them, but if you stock up throughout the year you'll have them when you're ready to can.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: jlafler

                                            One other 'free' source ... fancy stuff from farmers markets ... usually jam/jelly jars or pickles.