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Preserving jars in the UK

 
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Where do people in the UK buy their jars from? I want to learn how to pickle and maybe preserve some jam over the next couple of weeks and I want to try to find a good deal on jars.

I know most people in the US use Ball jars and I've found a few companies that sell Le Parfait over here though they seem more expensive. I try to avoid Amazon as I don't like how the company treats its employees but they seem to be the cheapest that I can find so far. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!
 
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Hi Addy,

We got our jars for free by putting a request out on Nextdoor - I don't know if you have that in your neighbourhood but it's a kind of low-key, local social media. A lovely old lady gave us her collection of old Kilner jars, some of which are about 100 years old.

In the process of cataloging them (to understand what we had been given and to find spares) I built a little website: Vintage Kilner Jars. If you end up with old jars, you might find it useful.

I have also had success buying cheap Kilner and similar jars from Wilko. I imagine they still sell them - although I did hear that they might be going into administration, so perhaps best to try them soon!

We tend to 'can' preserves in reused jars that we save ourselves, ask for on Facebook/Nextdoor or save on recycling day. With a good wash (a dishwasher would be ideal, as it gets so hot, but we don't have one) and a stint in the oven (start from cold, set to 120 degrees, leave them in there for 20 minutes) they are perfectly sterile. We make sure the lids are sterilised in boiling water and add the contents whilst it and the jar are hot.

A final thought is that honey jars come with screw caps and you can buy these, and spare lids, from honey suppliers (e.g. Thorns or Maisemore). They jars aren't cheap but the replacement lids are too bad and I suspect you could get a few uses out of one before the seal fails.

If you find any good sources, do let us know!
 
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Buy jam jars!?

I actually do use almost exclusively reused jars and lids. which 9/10 work perfectly fine as long as they are sterilised properly. Are you wanting to water bath treat your preserves (as in the US?) in which case you may need canning lids etc.

Lakeland would be the obvious place to go for new jars. It looks like they do mail order too. In my experience they are not particularly cheap, but generally pretty good quality.

There are various other mail order companies, but I've never tried any. If I ever do get my kitchen certified I would have to investigate because the expectations are different for jam for sale.

I've not had much experience with pickles however. I do make chutney and the acid in these can affect the lids for reuse, and sometimes leaves a smell in the jar too. Jars do tend to be in standard sizes and it is possible to buy just the lids if you know what size/style you have (which is where buying new gives an advantage).
 
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Hi, yeah - same. I reuse jars where possible but for canning in the pressure cooker I use Kilner. I’ve been buying mine from Dunelm - wait for the sales - and I buy replacement lids through eBay.
 
Addy Fletcher
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I've saved jars over the last couple of years, but most of them are being used to store my herbs and spices or make oil infusions. There's also a part of me that's a bit worried that I won't sterilise them properly as I don't have a dish washer. I'll research it more and also try out the oven technique Luke mentioned.
 
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The cellphone covers work really well. Create an airtight seal but you need to use the jam or other preserve fairly quickly after opening https://www.lovejars.co.uk/shop/catalogue/jam-making-equipment/jampot-covers/

https://www.greedygourmet.com/condiments/equipment/wax-discs/
 
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I also reuse jars and lids, and I "can" after a fashion:  using my stock pot with a cloth folded underneath, I'll put my sealed jars in and fill it with boiling water up to their shoulders (about 3/4 of the way up the jars) and boil them like that for 10 minutes.  I take the jars out and let them cool on my counter;  the lids usually all pop as they cool to show they've sealed--any that don't I will put in the fridge to eat right away (though this doesn't happen most years).

I'm kind of paranoid about botulism, so the only preserves I make this way are jams and whole fruit preserves;  I know that the acid and sugar content is too high for botulism to grow in these, and any other spoilage is easy to see/smell.  
 
G Freden
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Oh yes, and for pickling, I got some kilner type jars from ikea;  they are 1.8L capacity and hold about a dozen gherkins each :)  I also bought two 3.3L glass jars with separate lids too--one is full of a mixture of veg and spices, fermenting on my counter.  Obviously these don't seal like the jam jars, but I only expect them to live in the fridge and get eaten this year.  I've had a couple of the larger jars for several years now, and went and bought several more this summer.
 
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I re-use jars for jam and chutney as much as I can, but if not I buy from the local farm store.  I used to have some kilner-type jars, but found them too awkward in use and filling.  Ordinary jam jars, well washed, filled with boiling water and left to stand on the draining board, then emptied and put in a warm oven to dry out before filling, and the lids are boiled in a pan.
 
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