When canning at home, it is important to always use the proper equipment. Glass canning jars, also known as mason jars, are some of the most commonly used containers for storing preserved goods. To ensure a properly sealed mason jar, it is essential to select a tight-fitting lid. Mason jars are available in many sizes, ranging from 1/2 pint to one gallon. Although they come in so many sizes, mason jars have two universal types of lids. Both have screw-top designs. The smaller mason jar lids are commonly named regular-mouth, and the larger lids are called wide-mouth. Mason jars of every capacity are available in both sizes of lids. To determine what type of lid you need, you must first measure the mouth of your jar. After that, you should be able to easily purchase the correct type of lid to fit.
Measure your jar opening across the widest point. Write down this measurement on a piece of paper for quick reference. A jar with an opening of about 2 3/8 inches will need a regular-mouth lid. A jar that has an opening of about 3 inches will need a wide-mouth lid.
Take your jar measurement to a local hardware or home goods store, and ask to be directed to the home canning section. Select the lids that will best fit your jar, based on your measurement. A store associate may help you if you are still unsure of what size lid you need.
Visit an online supplier if you are unable to find jar lids locally. Home canning is not as popular as it once was, and fewer stores tend to carry supplies.
It is perfectly safe to can food in clean, used jars. However, you should avoid reusing the same lids, as they are unlikely to effectively seal the jar.
Do not attempt to can food in a jar that other food was purchased in, such as a peanut butter or pickle jar. The lids of these jars are not meant to be reused, and will not seal properly. These jars are also likely to break during heat processing, as they are made of thinner glass. Also, lids designed for mason jars are unlikely to properly fit these types of food jars, making sealing them nearly impossible.