Ode to a Canning Jar (How to Get Your Canning Jars Back!)

by Dorothy Reinhold on January 11, 2011

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When I can or preserve something in those special canning jars, and give the preserves away as a gift, I would like to get the jars back afterwards.

Why? They’re pricy, and truthfully, once the recipient eats the jam and the jar remains, she or he will find that the two-part lid isn’t so great for everyday storage and use, putting in and out of the dishwasher, etc. Sure, it works as a normal jar as long as you have both lid pieces, but once the insert is misplaced, you basically have a cute jar with a metal rim and a great big hole in the lid.

So yes, I want them back! I can sterilize them and reuse them. The recipient is most likely going to throw them away like any old jar. My money, down the drain.

I came up with a way to get my jars back. It couldn’t be easier!

I stuck a label with a little poem on the jar, to let recipients know I wanted the jar back. My husband wrote the poem for me after I complained about the cost of buying canning jars and how I bet most people throw them out and don’t realize they can be used again. The poem goes like this:

A canning jar is truly something,
A special gift that keeps on giving.
When it’s empty, don’t despair,
Please send it back for another share!
*(And the lids, too!)

My little poem above asks for the lids back, for convenience. Canners may actually not reuse the flat metal insert to the lids a second time for safety reasons, but they can use the rims again. I find that most non-canners don’t distinguish between lids and rims, so it is just easier to ask for the lid back and you’ll get the whole thing intact.

How to get your canning jars back! on Punk   Domestics

Voila, jars back!

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Sky K. February 4, 2011 at 9:58 am

Love this idea. Around the holidays I make “straight from the can” cookies for all my neighbors. 2011 will see this poem stuck to all those cans!


Kathleen January 20, 2011 at 10:42 am

Really great idea!


Dorothy January 20, 2011 at 11:02 am

Thanks, Kathleen! Necessity is the mother of invention!


Gudrun January 13, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Cute poem. I have my family trained pretty well to give the jars back. Also, I don’t give away any of the truly special jars in my collection, then I don’t worry about not getting them back 🙂


Elaine January 12, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I’m finding lots of interesting canning jars at Goodwill. Saves money and I don’t worry about getting them back.


Dorothy January 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Goodwill….GREAT idea!


Jennifer January 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm

So does it work? And do you have trouble getting the label off before you sterilize the jars for your next round? I have always avoided putting stickers on the glass because I wasn’t sure I could get the residue off, but I would really like my jars back!


Dorothy January 13, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Jennifer, yes, it works and gets my jars back from friends and neighbors! The labels either come off, or I soak them a little while and then they come off. If any have been stubborn, they slide off in the boiling water sterilization bath anyway. I haven’t found that to be a problem. Hope you try it!


Jennifer January 13, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Definitely going to try it. And the tip about Goodwill is golden!


Chefette January 14, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Jennifer, you can either put some dish detergent directly on the label, rub it in, then scrape it off w/ thumbnail or blade, or you can get the label & residue off more easily with Goo Gone. (I use Goo Gone spray, then wash jars in hot soapy water before sterilizing them.) And thanks for the tip about Goodwill!


Kim January 11, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Very clever. 🙂



Diana January 11, 2011 at 9:03 pm

That’s a cute poem. I do see my jars disappear, but since family is about 500 miles away, I’m not likely to get them back.


Nancy@acommunaltable January 11, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I love the poem… brilliant idea!! I recently checked out some canning jars and you are right… they are a bit pricey!!!!


chef louise January 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm

there is nothing more special than receiving a homemade gift in a jar… i would gladly give it back! i love the poem, so cute
chef louise


shira January 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm

What a great idea! I’m pretty new to canning, but I’m getting a little addicted – and it’s already getting expensive…


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