Canning food to preserve in jars is a good way to keep fruits and vegetables edible and tasty for longer periods. But the jars needed for canning are not cheap. Canning jars from Ball or Kerr make up the second most expensive investment in canning next to the pressure canner. Since the goal in canning is the preserving or keeping of food in the jars there is always a need for more empty jars. Since these jars are made to last for years, purchasing them used will save you quite a bit of money.
Look for garage sales in rural areas. You are more likely to find a stash of canning jars and supplies in areas where people grow their own fruits and vegetables. Sometimes, circumstances cause these people to sell off their entire supply of canning tools. Whatever the reason, they have to dispose of jars, lids and sometimes even pressure canners as well.
Contact local thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army stores and flea markets on the outskirts of town. Ask if they have any available for sale. When a garage sale does not work to get rid of loads of canning jars, rather than toss them out, some people will donate them to charitable organizations. Often, you can find pint and quart-sized jars for pennies on the dollar.
Check out retail stores clearance specials when canning season is over. Canning takes place during the fall for harvested fruits and vegetables. During the winter, when people are eating canned goods, the retail giants in rural areas will have clearance specials on pectin, rings, lids, canners and jars. Wal-Mart has even started making their own brand of canning jars that are cheaper than the name brands. Rather than store hundreds of glass jars for next season, they mark them down to get them out of the store to make room for other merchandise.
Talk to your friends and family. Tell them to keep their eyes out for canning jars. Now you have more than just two eyes looking for fantastic deals all over town. Talk to friends and family members who frequent garage sales and flea markets.
Wash and reuse jars of products you purchase for use at home. Only use these jars in water bath canning, which does not use the pressure canner as these types of jars may explode in the high heat and pressure. These jars can be used for jellies or pickling.
Search online resources. Craigslist, Oodle and Kijiji have many items for sale and you can easily search those sites for people selling canning jars. You can also post an ad looking for canning jars.
Click on the “Like” button on Ball Canning Jars' Facebook page. They will often have free giveaways of jars, pectin and other canning equipment. Be the first to respond to one of their posts and you could win a case of jars for free.