Amber Glass for Canning and More

I recently noticed the new Ball amber mason jars on a store shelf.  Since Ball has sold the blue and green collection jars in recent years, I didn’t think too much about it at first glance–likely thinking, another colored canning jar.  However,  these jars are not to be dismissed as just another decorative, colored canning jar.

Amber glass blocks 99% of UV rays providing excellent protection for preserved foods and allowing them to be shelf stable for up to 18 months1. This is important because UV rays can sometimes change the components of contents by photo-oxidation.  This is the phenomena that causes beer to go “skunky.”  Amber also offers superior blue light protection;  light of any kind has a photochemical affect on food and bacteria.  By blocking harmful food-damaging UV rays and light, amber makes it possible to store foods in lighter areas or even the counter top without loss of flavor, color, or nutrients.

Thus amber is ideal for canning jars.  Besides home canning, amber jars are great for storing bulk foods, baking ingredients, oils, herbs, spices, coffee, tea, or any food item that looses quality due to UV rays.  And given the natural qualities of glass, no harmful chemicals leach into the products stored in the jars as can be the case with plastic containers.

The Ball jars are conveniently wide-mouthed and available in 16-, 32-, and 64-oz sizes.  Presently they are available in cases of four, making them more costly than regular canning jars.  When used with proper canning lids and bands, they are safe for canning in hot water bath or pressure canners.




Marlene Geiger

I am a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a BS in Home Economics Education and Extension and from Colorado State University with a MS in Textiles and Clothing. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, gardening, quilting, cooking, sewing, and sharing knowledge and experience with others.

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9 thoughts on “Amber Glass for Canning and More

  1. You’ve answered my question: why make amber jars? I do know that medicines are/were stored in amber bottles to prevent deterioration of the contents so this made perfect sense and I should have had it all figured out before I went ‘googling’ but…

    There is an *acute* shortage of canning jars, first the wide-mouth and now even the narrow. Hence, I purchased the ONLY wide-mouth ones I could find and that after half a dozen unsuccessful searches at grocery- and hardware stores. Finally smartened up and went the the farm-supply store and voila, they had 3 boxes of 4 each and I actually paid $11-something per box. I kinda’ think that’s usery but hey, I really wanted a few wide-mouth.

  2. Naomi, thanks for feedback on the blog. Isn’t 2020 something–one shortage or problem after another. Who would have thought that those of us who can every year would find the shelves wiped clean of supplies. Glad you found your jars.

  3. I just paid $30 for 4 wide mouth amber jars. Ball. Quart size. Amazon. They were the cheapest available. I needed them ASAP. Thankfully only needed 4.

  4. Thanks for the info.

    I buy coconut oil and ghee from a company that packages them in very high quality amber jars. I always keep them after product is used…I wouldn’t use them for traditional canning, but will try them with things like marinated cheese or veges that are refrigerated, especially those that require garlic.

    My Walmart actually stocks the Amber Ball jars, but I live in a very rural area where EVERYONE cans stuff. The 4-set pictured above retails for $24.68. Pretty expensive, but I get it. They also offer another brand that costs less and fits the lids, but may be of lesser quality.

    I’m going to a class to learn how to can proteins (fish, game, tallow, etc.). I think I would feel better about canning proteins in amber jars now that I understand their purpose.

    Thanks again.

  5. Do we know if these jars are painted amber or if the color is actually added to the glass. There are a lot of UV jars on the market, but the seem to be mostly painted, which seems off to me?

  6. Katie, there are decorator jars and storage/canning jars. Decorator jars are often the dipped paint type. A true canning/storage jar is colored glass.

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