Are Wide Mouth Mason Jars Worth the Premium?
I’ll jump right to the chase and piss of a bunch of folks – Nope. Now for the good reasons to back that statement up.
The price premium is significant – in Canada at least wide mouth mason’s cost nearly double what a regular mouth generic mason jar would run. The latter at this time are going for just under eight and nine dollars a dozen for half and full liter sizes at the local Walmart. Widemouth jars for the same sizes run thirteen and fifteen dollars.
So, cost is one factor, but more important to me is logistics. I do a lot of preserving, and I like having loads of standard sized jars. For me that means half and one liter sized golden harvest regular mouth mason jars and loads of the same size of tattler lids and gaskets.
That means when I get working I don’t have to fool around with an assortment of jar sizes or look to match lids and rings to jars – it might seem like not such a bid deal, but when you do a lot of canning it can add up to frustration that you could otherwise avoid.
The other factor at play here is that I’ve never found wide mouth jars to be a really significant advantage. Usually they would find more use with canned fish and meats, but I’ve always found regular mouth mason jars to be just fine – though I do make an exception to my focus on standardizing on half and full liter jars to include 250ml regualr mouth jars for canning up salmon as I find this to be the perfect size. My other canned meats and stock work just fine in the larger regular mouth masons.
The other area in which wide mouth masons seem to dominate is pickles, but here I actually prefer regular mouth masons for reasons beyond logistics and cost. The majority of my pickles are made using lactic fermentation – which requires you to keep the material submerged in the brine. I can fill a regular mouth mason with the spices, garlic, grape leaves and pickling cucumbers or zuchinni slices and then wedge in another cucumber just below the narrow neck of the regular mouth jar. When the brine is added to halfway up the jar neck this keeps all of the material submerged, allowing me to ferment the pickles right in the jars. Note, while I use tattler lids for these I don’t fasten them down tightly so that they can vent the fermentation gasses – you don’t want your pickle jars blowing up.
I really enjoy preserving the bounty around us – and while it can be a significant amount of work a few techniques such as standardizing jar sizes can make processing days much easier.