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.