Freezing Using Mason Jars

Dear Home Ec 101,

I was given a whole bunch of glass canning jars and I was wondering if I could use them to freeze things like homemade stock? I don’t own a pressure canner, but don’t want these to go to waste.

Signed,

You Really Frost My Glass

Heather says:
Some canning jars are excellent for freezing. Straight widemouth jars are safe in the freezer. Don’t forget to leave a good bit of space at the top, aka headspace, to allow for the expansion of water during freezing.

If your jars have shoulders either skip the freezer entirely or only fill them 2/3rds full. If you don’t leave a significant amount of space below the ┬ánarrowed opening, the jar may break as the water in stock expands. You see, water isn’t smart enough to know it has room above the shoulders, it simply expands in all directions. Use care, as cleaning glass fragments out of a freezer doesn’t sound like much fun.

I use extra canning jars to store items like dried beans and odd grains I have in small amounts (wild rice, quinoa, millet, etc). Not only are they functional, they are pretty, too.

Send your household questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.

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Comments

  1. Debkb says

    The other thing is not to put the lids on til they are frozen. The expansion of the liquid as it freezes will actually blow off the lid and blow up the jar!

  2. CJ says

    Why don’t you purchase a water bath canning kettle? You can find them quite cheaply at hardware stores, around $25-30. (Or check out rummage sales, thrift shops, etc.)

    • Jenny Webster says

      That is fine for some foods, but not low acid ones, they need a pressure canner. That is what brought me here. I have chicken soup I need to freeze, no pressure canner. I guess it’s time to get one :)

  3. says

    Great idea to keep grains, etc in canning jars. Especially over the “off” season. I am going to get my jars out and start using them instead of leaving small amounts in the box. Thanks for that!

  4. Amphritrite says

    Be -very careful- when freezing glass and always put it in the back of your freezer on a level surface. Glass, when it gets super-cold, has a higher capacity to shatter when dropped, and the last thing you want is frozen bits of ANYTHING mixed with glass all over your floor … or worse, on your toe.

  5. Diaper cakes Becca says

    Another benefit of freezing a lot of this is that a freezer that is FULL uses less electricy to stay cold than one that has a lot of empty spots. So….not only are you keeping your groceries fresh over the long haul, you are cutting down on your power bill and usage!

    Thanks for the tips……I, too, had forgotten about putting grains in the freezer this way to keep them fresh!

  6. Shirley says

    my lemons don’t stay fresh only 2 days they go old and how do i keep them and fruit fresh longer . tired of the waist on them Thank You
    Shirley Dean

    • annie says

      Hey Shirley. There really isn't any way to keep the lemons longer in their whole state. I've tried various methods. What you could try, though, is what I have recently done. I bought a whole bunch of organic limes (tons of juice and more flavor – healthier, too), and juiced them all. Then I immediately poured the juice into ice cube trays and froze it. I measured first to see how much each ice cube tray held, so I'd know about how much each cube would be on the flip side. Then once they were all frozen, I popped them out, and put them all in a freezer bag. Now, whenever I need fresh lime juice, I just grab a cube or two. yummy!

      • phhhhhht! says

        arabs salt lemons sugaring into citron and probably pickling, juice keeps awhile and can be frozen also dehydrated lemons migh be worth looking into as well as growing a lemon tree year round in a green house or trading lemons by mail with a guy in south america! just kidding about that last one.

  7. Linda says

    I have found that lemons stay fresher much longer in the refridgerator if you place them into a zip lock bag with a little water. The water helps keep the lemons from dehydrating. Expensive lemons stay fresh for weeks! Hope this helps!

  8. angel says

    how about cutting the lemons up into wedges or slices and freeze them on a cooky sheet. when frozen put them in a freezer bag. when you want lemon in your water just add a frozen lemon slice. a good way to get your vit.c without adding calories.

  9. jay says

    you could also make preserved lemons for tagines (ie moroccan chicken with preserved lemons and olives) and such. cut the lemons into quarters (don't cut them all the way through). generously sprinkle salt all over the cut lemons' cut surfaces. stuff a bunch into a quart size mason jar. cover completely with lemon juice (don't add water). shake for the first week or two (i actually took some to our honeymoon at point arena to shake them!). then you let them sit for six weeks or so. they keep for a long time (two years we've been married and still have some). look up the recipes online. yum!

  10. jerry says

    If you have canned items from the garden and where you have them stored gets below freezing will they break?