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Cleaning Old Canning Jars

Discussion in 'The Harvest: Recipes, Canning, Preserving' started by schmije, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. Sep 1, 2010
    schmije

    schmije Garden Ornament

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    We had a similar situation when we bought our property. The previous owner had thrown out a bunch of jars of who knows what into the ditch out back. Most of the jars were broken, but some were not. I have no idea how long they sat outside in the woods before we found them. I wasn't into canning yet, so I had no interest in saving them, and we threw them out. I might be a little more willing to salvage the jars now, especially if they came from Grandma, and not a stranger.
     
  2. Sep 1, 2010
    vfem

    vfem Garden Addicted

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    First of all I would risk it for 2 reasons!

    Those were your grandmas! How cool is that!? :)

    ...and second... I do believe those jars are collectible and sell for a few bucks each right now. May be worth it if you find they are collectible and then you can go buy new jars for you to can with.

    :D

    I would just open and clean them OUTSIDE in a huge bucket full of hot water, bleach and soap. Wear a face mask and only do 5-8 at a time, then take a breather....
     
  3. Sep 1, 2010
    journey11

    journey11 Garden Master

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    I would have voted for vinegar too. Full strength and let it soak a long time. I'd be afraid to use anything very poisonous on it. Bleach would be ok though. I like to dump in a cup or two of vinegar in my dishwasher's rinse cycle every so often. Keeps the hardwater deposits away.

    Worse come to worst, I guess you can always recycle them if they won't come clean. My grandpa haunts yard sales and estate sales and is always bringing me canning jars. Very cheap way to get them, since they do last forever.
     
  4. Sep 1, 2010
    hoodat

    hoodat Garden Addicted

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    Whatever you do stay away from any that have bulging lids. I hate to say this but the safest thing to do would be to chuck tham. Be extremely careful. A single drop of botulism tainted food can be deadly and even inhaling the fumes can hospitalize you.
     
  5. Sep 1, 2010
    sparkles2307

    sparkles2307 Garden Ornament

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    See, thats what I'm scared of Hoody! if the lids are bulging I will back away slowly... I might get brave if there are any that look remotely safe. The house is going to be torn down soon, and it'll kill me if I leave those in there.
     
  6. Sep 1, 2010
    ecopepper

    ecopepper Chillin' In The Garden

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    I heard you can put rice in the bottom with vinigar and it wil scrub it off as you swish it around.
     
  7. Sep 2, 2010
    hoodat

    hoodat Garden Addicted

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    There is also another possibility. If the jars sat empty in the sun for several years it might not be hard water deposits. The glass itself may have deteriorated on the outside. If it's hard water the fogging will be inside. If it's deterioration it will be on the outer surface. either way they're probably perfectly safe to use. It's just a matter of appearance.
     
  8. Sep 2, 2010
    lesa

    lesa Garden Master

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    I was gifted a bunch of very old, empty jars. No matter what I tried, some of them just didn't become clear. Bottle collectors call cloudy bottles like that- sick glass. There really is no fix to it. I was able to get a lot of the jars clean, but some I tossed...Good luck with yours, hopefully it is just hard water deposits!
     
  9. Sep 21, 2010
    ducks4you

    ducks4you Garden Master

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    Don't use this method with anything but jellies, BUT, many people used to seal their jelly in jars with paraffin. I've had a few that stored for a long time. The wax was about one inch thick, and the fruit stopped right below it.
     
  10. Sep 21, 2010
    jojo54

    jojo54 Garden Ornament

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    When we moved here, we found the cold room shelves full of preserves. We dumped them all in the garden and tilled them in, threw away the lids as they were rusted and yukky and cleaned all the jars. I've been gladly using the jars doing my jams, jellies, juice, etc.

    Saved me a fair bit of money!

    The preserves were discolored and/or mushy but no mold, etc.
     

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