Monday, June 7, 2010
Weck Canning Jars
About 10 years ago, Sir Knight (my husband) and I bought a pallet load of Weck Canning Jars. They are those beautiful canning jars that your see in the Lehman's Catalog with a glass lid and a rubber seal. We anticipated all of the jars we thought we would need for our family and bought accordingly. We bypassed Lehman's and went straight to the importer, Glashauss and had them drop ship a pallet of jars in various sizes and styles.
Here are some of the Weck styles. Back from left to right: Juice jar, 1 1/2 Liter Tulip jar, 1 Liter Tulip jar. Front from left to right: 1 Liter Deco jar, 1/2 Liter Deco jar.
Let me start off by saying that I LOVE the jars. The shape makes them by far superior to the Ball and Kerr jars we use in America. They stack nicely on top of one another and the jar openings are TRULY wide mouth. You can fit anything in them. Because of the wide jar opening, they are supremely easy to clean. You can practically put a whole roast in a liter jar without having to cut it up and canning pickles and other things that you have to pack is a cinch.
Here are Tulip jars. The one on the left is a 1 1/2 liter and the one on the right is the 1 liter.
The jars themselves are beautiful. They look pretty just sitting there. I am especially fond of the Deco jars (I call them "belly pots" because of their squatty, round shape) for jams and jellies, because they look so nice on the table. The juice jars have a carafe shape, so they too are beautiful to look at and have a very pourable shape. Another benefit is that they all come with snap on plastic lids. This is especially nice for jam, juice, jelly, pickles - anything that you open the jar and then put it into the fridge.
This is the carafe style Juice jar.
Here are the Deco jars. The one on the left is a 1 liter Deco. The one on the right is a 1/2 liter Deco. Notice the handy, snap-on plastic lid on the 1 liter Deco!
The jars seal with a natural rubber ring. According to the Weck website, the seals can only be used one time. However, I spoke with the importer of Weck jars and they said that the FDA requires them to list the rubber seals as one time use only, but in Europe people use the seals until they are no longer viable, generally about 10 years, depending on whether you water bath or pressure can. I used the seals every season for about 10 years and only had a few failures that required replacement.
Notwithstanding all of the benefits of Weck jars, I have come to the conclusion that the old standby Ball and Kerr are the way to go. The biggest problem that I have found with the Weck jars is their high failure rate. I estimate a 50% failure rate while pressure canning and about a 20% failure rate while water bath canning. Because the seals are sandwiched between the glass jar and the glass lid, and held by three or four steel clamps, they have a tendency to "spit" out the seals during processing. They are very sensitive to pressure extremes while pressure canning (if the pressure gets to 13 pounds, most of the jars will spit out their seals) and are very sensitive to how full the jar is in both pressure and water bath canning. They are not very forgiving, unlike Ball and Kerr jars.
Another major drawback of the Weck jar is their unusual shape. Although I much prefer their shape to that of the Ball and Kerr jar, they just don't fit in the canner. European canners are made differently from our canners and therefore are more suited to the Weck jars. I can fit 14 quarts (Ball or Kerr) in my canner, but can only fit 8 Weck liters in my canner. During the fall when you are scrambling to get the harvest in the difference between 14 and 8 is tremendous!
Here is the 1 liter Tulip jar next to two standard canning jars.
All in all, I would prefer the Weck jars if they fit into my canner properly and didn't have an unacceptably high failure rate. But, those factors being what they are, prompted me to return my allegiance to good old American Ball and Kerr jars.