Thursday, August 9, 2012

Freezing in Canning Jars

Canning jars are amazingly useful. They are heat and cold resistent, have an airtight seal, and are vitually indestructible.
Dry goods stored in canning jars stay fresh and bug-free. Leftovers in the refrigerator are safe from leaching chemicals. The jars are easy to clean, non-staining, inexpensive, readily available and microwavable.
The best part, is that food frozen in canning jars can be stored for months and still tastes absolutely fresh.
The picture above is of 3 different soups stored in quart sized jars in my freezer. there are 3 more jars behind each of those, all containing a different soup or stew. Every evening, I put the leftovers from dinner in the freezer in a jar, write the name of the dish on the top with a sharpy and pop it in the freezer. I select a jar from my stash and leave it on the counter to thaw. At lunchtime, I warm it up and serve it. Voila, fast, healthy, yummy food in second.
#1 Use clean jars and fresh lids. Unlike canning, you don't need to sterilize you jars and lids can be reused. But the lids do wear out after a few uses. If the rubber seal is feeling dry, stiff or rough, toss the lid. You can buy boxes of replacement lids for a couple of dollars. Rubbing alcohol will remove sharpy from
#2 Leave a bit of room at the top. Liquid expands when it freezes. If your jar is too full, the glass will crack. Leave at least an inch of airspace.
#3 Cool it down before popping it in the freezer.
#4 Never mix cold water and hot glass. It will shatter.
#5 Label your jars, either the tops or the glass, with a sharpy marker. Rubbing alcohol will remove it. Sticky labels and chalkboard paint are unnecessary. You can see clearly though a room temperature jar, but once it freezes, everything looks pretty much the same. Avoid surprises. Label everything.


  1. I was using quart jars for freezing chicken stock, but no matter what I did, they kept cracking! Finally when I went to buy new jars, I noticed on the box of jars that the pint jars and smaller are considered freezer-safe, but the quart jars are not. I switched to freezing chicken stock in Ziploc bags. I recently bought some of the polypropylene plastic Ball freezer jars (quarts) but haven't used them for stock yet.

  2. Huh. I have only had them crack when I overfill them. I am always careful to let them cool completely before putting them in the freezer. Were yours warm, perhaps?