Vacola vs Mason vs Kilner preserving jars

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by Brewer, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. Brewer

    Brewer Junior Member

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    I'm getting into preserving, and while I plan to reuse supermarket jars as much as possible, I want to get a quantity of larger reusable jars for bulkier products. I would be interested to hear what jars folks here like to use and also hopefully get a better understanding of the options.

    've been looking into the alternatives and there are a couple of things I don't quite understand:

    1. Why is the Vacola stuff so expensive?! Used jars for $5 each without lids or seals seems insane. I'm also concerned by suggestions that the Vacola jars can be tricky to open, thereby damaging the metal lids and costing even more to 'run'.

    2. Mason jars are available here at a reasonable price, and supposedly use an integrated metal lid & seal that should be replaced each time. Sounds good, except that every search I do for Mason seals simply turns up rubber rings, not integrated lids. What am I missing?

    3. Coming from the UK, clip-top Kilner type jars seem the most familiar and traditional to me, but a lot of these jars available here are clearly intended for dry storage and not for serious preserving. Any idea what the difference is / what to look for?

    FWIW I'll be doing this over a wood stove and I'm leaning towards the clip top Kilners, but I'd be very interested to hear what others have to say.
     
  2. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    We mostly do acidic type preserving and jams which dont need to be waterbathed etc...
    We mainly use recycled jars from the shops which have pop top lids that let you know that they have sealed.
    When we start getting more fruit off our trees, we'll be preserving these in the few Agee jars(NZ) that we have.As far as I know, these are a similar sort of thing to mason jars just a slightly different shape.

    I'm looking forward to hearing how you go with this.I need a good plum sauce recipe-I thought I had found my nana's famous recipe but it wasnt.
     
  3. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    IMO
    If money and availability is no object I would go Kilner
    Less BPA and rust issues.
    I use a lot of recycled super market jars because they are cheap easy and you dont worry about giving them away and not getting them back.
    Lost all my Vacolla jars in the big move.
    I have quite a few kilners and would love more.
     
  4. Brewer

    Brewer Junior Member

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    Thanks for the replies - and I am SO happy to hear another vote for Kilner jars! I love them, but I was wondering if I'm just a sucker for their country charm.

    I have a few crates of personal belongings being shipped out from the UK in a few weeks time, and I was thinking of getting a couple of dozen sent with them. I can get them delivered there for less than similar jars cost here, and the shipping as part of a larger consignment won't add an enormous amount. Kilner make a square-bodied version which looks great and seems quite practical for putting in crates and on shelves, which doesn't seem to be available here.

    One thing that concerns me about usiing Kilners for preserving though is that it seems there is no easy way to confirm that the seal was successful - or is there? Can you just release the catch and check for a vacuum?

    Also, what size do you find most useful? I was thinking that a mix of 0.5L and 1L probably makes most sense (and because most supermarket jars are smallish, I should probably get more of the 1L jars). The smaller jars should be good for things like fruit that would normally be used in a single meal, and the 1L for bulkier things like tomatoes / passata and maybe things like preserved lemons and pickled onions that can live in the fridge for a while once opened. I'd probably continue to use supermarket jars for jams etc. Is there any advantage to getting some larger (eg 2L) jars?

    These are definitely the kind of questions that are best answered by those that have walked the walk, so I appreciate your help!
     
  5. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Why are you putting your pickled onions in the fridge just because you opened them?
    If they are done properly, they will live quite happily in your cupboard til you get around to eating them all up.
    I have a jar of pickled eggs in the cupboard that I dip into whenever I feel peckish...the only problem I have with them is I put a chilli in which was one chilli too many!!
     
  6. Brewer

    Brewer Junior Member

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    Haha, you're absolutely right. This is a bad habit that I've developed since moving to Aus and living with you lot.

    EVERYTHING seems to go in the damn fridge here - pickles, jam, mustard, eggs, beer, you name it ;o)
     
  7. Lesley W

    Lesley W Junior Member

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    I've been looking into jars recently, as I'll also want a stove top system, so this thread has been helpful.

    @Brewer it sounds like you'll be happy with your Killner, but if you need Ball Mason extras and lids in future (your point 2) here's the link to the site I found that stocks them. They also sell packets of twist lids for standard supermarket jars (from 38mm - 88mm). The site has online shopping for Australia https://www.ozfarmer.com/

    Bulk preserving: 72L jars in a single day
    If anyone ever wants to bottle 50kg of fruit in a single day, this preserving site from NZ explains a no-electricity bulk preserving using a 44 gallon (200 L) drum as a wood furnace and a 16 gallon (60 litre) drum inside as a water bath. She says "the water bath comes to the boil in 45 minutes, the jars are left to cook for 10 minutes and then the batch of jars with their fruit are removed and left to cool". Details on how to build and a photo are included on her site
    https://www.preservefruit.co.nz/index.html

    I've also been trawling eBay but am not experienced enough to see which ones are fakes and unlikely to work.
     
  8. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    For Aussies. A sales rep friend of mine just told me that Ball Mason will have all their jars, jam making equipment, the whole box and dice in Big W from next January.
     

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