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Weck jars

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Weck jars

Post  plantoid on 12/13/2013, 11:01 am

WECK JARS

I’ve finally moved into the 21 st Century Laughing  and started purchasing things needed for canning under steam pressure of 5, 10 or 15 pounds above normal atmospheric pressure ( 14.7 psi at sea level  ).  This may be also  be expressed as a metric numbers or Si units so you may need to do a bit of converting the numbers  ..Just make sure your maths are correct.

Canning at the incorrect pressure or too short a period can lead to food poisoning or  What a Face even death if this badly canned food is consumed , that said there is nothing difficult about canning.
Nowadays it is recommended that you purchase a purpose made pressure canner rather than try and use high domed or standard kitchen pressure cooker pans.

The first thing was to decide upon the canner.  Being UK based I had to look at the likelihood of not getting a canner that needed any seals,  if such a beast was possible . For pressure canning in the UK is definitely a minority sport, spare parts would be rarer than an honest politician .
Here most folks have a junk food shop of some sort within a few miles of their home.  Nearly all the big national chains of food stores have home deliveries for less than the cost of the fuel needed to take the car and shop in the actual shop.  So you can see most folk never bother to pressure can up food.  Heck it seems that most are far too lazy to even attempt to think about having a garden let alone actually constructing one. Each to their own….        I know the reasons I want to can my own food & it’s not because I’m an eccentric Englishman . Shocked 

I’ve been following numerous websites concerned with canning foodstuffs and quickly realized there are a lot of half-baked ideas from early in the last century that still persist .  So the first thing was to locate a decent book as up-to-date as possible about canning and certainly it should not be older than five years old as things do change ......usually for the better.
This took me to lots of US government websites which was a very worthwhile journey for these sites only give out what works and won’t kill you.

In these researches I came across references to the Ball Blue canning and preserving book for it seems that’s where most of the recipes came from in the first place.
I now have such a book  on order.  I found about nine different pressure canner types available for purchase , some so old that they  predated even the last century and were so pitted with holes , all they would have been good for was a boat anchor when  filled with concrete.
Because of the spares angle previously mentioned I settled for the All American pressure canner as there are no butyl seals or gaskets on it. It seals by the fact that the precision machined faces of the lid and the canner make an air tight seal when the canner gets warm. This is great so long as no one damages the precision faces or lets them corrode away.

The next problem was that trying to purchase from the manufacturers was exceedingly expensive  and in any case they didn’t seem willing  to ship the goods outside of the USA .
Other sources of procurement were not quite so expensive but shipping to the UK was nigh on twice the cost of the canner.

For many months I’ve had a big picture of a 21 & ½ quart All American Pressure Canner stuck on one of  our big fridge freezer doors as I’m a firm believer of , “ Strong belief triggers the mind to find the way “.
For weeks and weeks I’ve be up searching the internet for a lower price hoping someone would wake up to the fact that they aren’t selling their canners worldwide because they are killing the sales due to excessive carriage costs.

Then one day about two weeks ago I noticed a massive price drop not only in the canners but also in the carriage costs. The shipping was far more realistic and a lot less than the canners. ( a few emails to these merchants off different computer terminals using different names  also helps  Rolling Eyes  Laughing )
So I settled  down and ordered a 21& ½ quart APC it’s arrived into the UK this afternoon according to the auto track system it was placed in.

Next ........ What jars would I be using?   My Mum used to use Kilner jars with glass tops, orange rubber sealing rings & brassy looking cadmium plated keeper screw down rings.   She often had problems with them not sealing well and as I recently found out, they are not easily found in the UK outside of museums.
I saw the modern replacement version of the Kilner jar and decided against it as the glass is so thin, they still need keeper rings, the old glass lids have been replaced with a one time use throw away tin plate one sprayed with food grade plastic on the inside with an integral seal moulded in the rim .
Just like the older jars you have to get the tension on the seal just right or else if screwed down too tight the pressure in the jar would build up and blow the jar or if you didn’t get it tight enough to make the one way steam escape valve, it would drag air back in as the jar cooled and be about as much use as a chocolate frying pan. There is a fairly new device from the Masons jar stable that is like a torque wrench to set all the keeper rings to the same tension to correctly compress the seal sufficiently for it to work as a one way pressure valve.. it may or may not fit modern Kilner jars.

I found a square jar version of a clip over lid  Kilner preserving jar & ordered 24 , did a few trials …..EUKKK!  
Described as a jar suitable for dry goods , pickles & hot water bath preserving for bottled food they were sadly lacking. The problem was that the quality control was so bad jars were being sent out from the factory . They had massively distorted sealing faces on the jar rim . In numerous case I could slide four standard business cards under the rim when an inverted jar was sat on a sheet of thick flat glass.  Consequently I didn’t have a hope in hell of getting the jars to seal.
As a result of the poor quality nine out of the 24 jars are now consigned to the garage as bit's and bobs storage jars. The remaining 15 jars that did seal correctly are likely to follow when emptied, if I can't off load them on eBay .

I managed to get hold of a couple of the American version of the Kilner jar called ” Mason jars “ & was very disappointed to find that they are almost identical to the modern thin walled Kilner one ,they use the same sealing method as well .
.
I then came across a Weck jar for preserving food, I eventually managed to secure a sample of five used ones off eBay.
They consist of a heavy precision glass lid with a unique sealing face  ,  a heavy walled jar again with the precision sealing face   a thin orange butyl rubber seal and four press on stainless steel lid securing clips per jar that are removed once the jar has been sealed for 24 hrs.
 
These Weck jars are fairly expensive to buy and have to be shipped in from the factory in Germany .
Remember that “Strong belief triggers the mind to find the way “, thing I was harping on about?      
  Well a week ago  I found a site that has reduced the prices by 50% or more and has also offered multiple items purchased as a total weight pack rather than individual pack costing's.
A few weeks ago this was not the case , perhaps the home pickling and preserving season has come to a unprofitable seasonal end.  Wink 

What should have normally cost me over £650 (970 $ USD) was less than £300 (450 $ USD),
so I robbed the piggy banks and got them.  They arrived by courier yesterday,  in three very strong and large boxes.   I got Munchkin to unpack the boxes outside and bring the smaller packs into the kitchen for me to check for damages as we couldn’t sack barrow them in through the door.
Nothing was broken or chipped despite the couple of thousands of miles they have travelled.

As you can see I’ve done a few pictures of the jars and how they are assembled etc. .
I’ve also taken the liberty of showing my filling funnels and food grade the plastic jug I’ve used for filling jars, none of that using a silly ladle to try and fill jars for me thank you .

You can get a slightly different pair of hot jar lifting tongs to the commonly available ones that will fit the Weck jars very nicely .  These have two small legs on each side to fit under the bottom of the jar sealing lip. They seem far better to me than struggling with the old Kilner jar tongs which didn’t really fit well (the old tongs are shown  in one of the pictures) . I’ve sent away to eBay Germany for a pair of these real WECK jar tongs .

When the canner arrives and I get doing things with it I’ll add to the thread.

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Re: Weck jars

Post  plantoid on 12/13/2013, 12:12 pm

The range of jars I've now got



The thick seal face on the jar


The lid sealing face


A stainless steel wide mouth filler funnel on a 1 litre Weck jar


A smaller necked aluminium funnel for filing small 1/4 litre jars




Starting to press the sealing clip down




The components that the jars are made up from .



Taking the clips off is a two handed job or else they fly off and hide under the refrigerator ( guess how I know this  Embarassed )

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Re: Weck jars

Post  sanderson on 12/13/2013, 12:38 pm

Wow, that was almost a tutorial in canning. thanks  Very Happy 

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Re: Weck jars

Post  plantoid on 12/13/2013, 2:34 pm

And there's more  Laughing 

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Re: Weck jars

Post  bnoles on 12/13/2013, 3:13 pm

Nice post David and I look forward to following the continuations. Thanks for taking the time.

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Weck Jars

Post  GloriaG on 12/13/2013, 10:37 pm

Hi David,

I also like Weck jars.  Here's a picture of the jam we made for our Christmas gift baskets.  They are: Carrot Cake preserves, Tomato Basil Jam and Pink Grapefuit Ginger Marmalade.


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Re: Weck jars

Post  camprn on 12/14/2013, 7:38 am

Gloria, those look really nice!  okay 

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Weck Jars

Post  GloriaG on 12/14/2013, 10:13 am

Thanks camprn,

This is the first time we've made jams for Christmas gifts and they really do look nice in the baskets with a few crumpets.  We have a few friends we need to give a small gift, and these are just the right size. 

I know the clamps are supposed to be removed for storage but we put them back for transit and included a little note saying that they need to come off for storage.

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Re: Weck jars

Post  plantoid on 12/14/2013, 7:54 pm

@GloriaG wrote:Hi David,

I also like Weck jars.  Here's a picture of the jam we made for our Christmas gift baskets.  They are: Carrot Cake preserves, Tomato Basil Jam and Pink Grapefuit Ginger Marmalade.


Gloria ,
Do you know if you can take the stainless steel lid clips off the pressure canned or hot water bathed preserved Weck jars once they have stood for 24 hrs. with out being disturbed   ........like you can remove the MASON JAR & KILNER JAR screw down rings .

I've got a feeling it's OK  to take them off  but would be happier to hear from anyone else who has used them. As I only have enough clips for 40 jars at a time and actually have around 80 jars to play with.


Ha ha ha  Laughing Laughing Laughing Wink  Clips OFF !

When jar is cold take the clips OFF and then check it has sealed before storing in a cool dark place .

I typed this post and posted it before I read that last post of yours. I'll leave it in the thread just incase someone misses it like I did .

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Weck Jars

Post  GloriaG on 12/15/2013, 12:23 am

Hi David,

Yes, you're right - clips off once the jars are cool. There are actually TWO checks to see that you have a good seal - (1) check that the little rubber tab is pointed down, if it's not your seal isn't adequate - (2) pick the jar up by the lid.  The lid needs to hold up the weight of the jar and contents. 

Actually, Weck has some good information posted on their website under a section called "Canning Notes" at - http://www.weckjars.com/canningnotes.php  I printed the each of the tab sections: "Rewards", "How Failures Occur",  "Canning Safety",  "Facts", and "Freezing in Glass". I follow their advice very closely.

I also use the USDA (United States Department of Agreculture) Canning Guide for processing specifics.  http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html    It also has a lot of good information.

Good luck!

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Re: Weck jars

Post  Goosegirl on 12/15/2013, 12:35 pm

Found this on Pinterest - Thought it was a great idea for an apron, and notice the Weck jar in the background!


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Re: Weck jars

Post  plantoid on 12/15/2013, 12:49 pm

Gloria ,
Thank you very much of the info & links .

I will go and have a play in those links in a while as well as saving them in my favourites.

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Re: Weck jars

Post  NHGardener on 9/1/2014, 7:34 am

Plantoid, do you have any other comments now that you've probably used your Weck jars more?

And does anyone else have any critiques on using Weck jars?

Do you have to buy a new rubber seal everytime you can a jar?

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Re: Weck jars

Post  Miss M on 9/1/2014, 10:25 am

@NHGardener wrote:Do you have to buy a new rubber seal everytime you can a jar?
I can't speak for the Weck jars, but I've been dabbling in Tattler reusable lids (you use them with the regular jars like Mason, Kerr, Ball, etc.). They are a two-piece lid, as well -- a BPA-free plastic lid, and a rubber seal. Both are reusable. Some people finally have to replace the rubber seals after a decade or three. I'm pretty sure these Weck seals are similarly reusable. Smile

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Re: Weck jars

Post  NHGardener on 9/1/2014, 12:32 pm

Thanks Miss M - if the rubber seals are reusable, that makes it a lot less expensive.

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Re: Weck jars

Post  plantoid on 9/1/2014, 5:44 pm

Take a look at Weck's web site .

Under no circumstance should you try and reuse a WECK rubber sealing gasket once it has been sued on a jar as the oxygen in the air will have affected it on the exposed edges  and started to decay the rubber making the material start to become porous to gases.

So any hoped for seal would be a very dodgy thing to rely upon for your personal food safety and that of your kids & family etc.

 I made a bit of a mistake by purchasing over 400 four inch seals , thinking I'd use them all in 2 years .
 Ha ha .. no chance of me using them ,I've still got almost 300 1/2 , 1 & 2 litre jars .

 Thankfully I did a bit of thinking when they arrived from Germany .

I put two packs of ten unused seals in each heavy duty food grade poly plastic heat seal vac pack envelopes and sealed up all that I've not used then stored them away from heat and light outside in our log cabin office.



 I suspect that they will also have a couple of years shelf life for I can't see the seals being packed in a nitrogen gas environment that would keep them good for 20 years or more as that would stop them making sales and thus money .



 NHG ,
 I think the Weck jars with glass lids and red rubber seals are the bee's knees.
 
I've managed to can quite a lot of things, especially using the All American pressure canner as well as a simple hot water bath canning method.

 One thing that has worked very well has been  putting up 10 nor more litres at a time  of various meat and veg based stocks after going to the butchers and begging /buying all manner of soup stock bones which he  kindly cut up into four inch long lengths .
 We also have a size 2 x 4 pound chicken electric slow cooker , this has made some amazing chicken stocks. rather than risk it sitting in plastic boxes & bags out in the freezer whilst we were going to be away on holiday for a month to the erratic electricity supply we get here. ( we are on the end of a branch line and suffer massive electrical voltage spikes that trip out our switch gear almost any time of the day ).


Those stocks in the heavy Weck jars  were invaluable for we were able to take some with us on holiday and have some good cheap nourishing food made in the caravan instead of all the fast fried to death tourist muck you usually find in tourist area restaurants where you can walk in without booking them for weeks in advance .

 It has also helped keep the chest freezer and kitchen cabinet freezer reasonably free for other things like blanched veg and my home made sausages , smoked meats & fish etc.


 My only regret is that the 1 & 1/2 " by 5 inch long chunks of beef were almost cooked to death as they were more like a dry meat paste when we opened some . ( Pie fillers perhaps for this winter ? )

 I pressure canned them for 1 hr ,20 min per litre according to the way & weights mentioned in the Canning & Preserving all in one for DUMMIES

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Re: Weck jars

Post  NHGardener on 9/1/2014, 6:58 pm

Glad you like Wecks, plantoid.

So would you say the rubber seals are about $1 each? I like using glass for just about everything, but ouch that's a little pricey.

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Re: Weck jars

Post  camprn on 9/1/2014, 7:05 pm

Here they are, $0.25 each
http://www.crateandbarrel.com/weck-small-rubber-replacement-seals-sets-of-ten/s516302?a=1552

$0.28
http://mightynest.com/shop/healthy-kitchen/canning/rubber-canning-ring-replacement
https://store.kaufmann-mercantile.com/products/weck-sealing-rings-clamps-lids
http://www.crateandbarrel.com/weck-large-rubber-replacement-seals-sets-of-ten/s516433

http://www.groworganic.com/weck-rubber-ring-replacement-lg.html

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Re: Weck jars

Post  NHGardener on 9/1/2014, 7:52 pm

Thank you camp!!! Now where did I get $1 from. I think it was an eBay listing. So that's great to know!

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Re: Weck jars

Post  camprn on 9/1/2014, 8:33 pm

If you know anyone in the food service supply business you may find jars and rubbers cheaper.

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Re: Weck jars

Post  AtlantaMarie on 9/2/2014, 8:13 pm

If you have an Ace Hardware, you may be able to order from them.

I have several antique canning jars I inherited & got the rubbers for them from our local Ace.

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Re: Weck jars

Post  plantoid on 9/15/2014, 6:03 pm

Well , some of you know that I migrated over to Weck jars because the batch of Kilner that was being supplied to a large play in the local stores stakes had a poorly finished rim on the jars and consequently many would not seal .

After much too-ing & fro-ing I managed to get hold of a guy called Matt who was doing customer care.


Several email's with attached photos later,  he tells me his boss has approved the replacement of the faulty jars, all 11 of them.
 He also tells me to dispose of the faulty jars. But I'll have to wait till the next batch  run of jars is produced .

 I took them to the local recycling point and waited & waited & waited & waited  , sent several more emails asking where are the replacement jars, none of the emails were answered.

A week or so ago I find out he is no longer doing customer care and has been replaced by a pleasant gal called Lisa.
I tell her of my predicament, send copies of all emails and photos.... Oh so sorry this was not passed to me when Matt left. yes you can have the jars.  I ask if I can have 1/2 litre Mason ring and lid type jars instead as I no longer have any faith in their 1/2 litre clip over jars for pressure canning or hot water bottling .

48 hrs later a large box arrived by express carrier .


Whoopee the replacement mason style ring and lid seals ones  ?
  Yup it's ring and lid's ,only trouble is the jars are 1/4 of a litre instead of the 1/2 litre size.

Arragh ! Rolling Eyes  ..... LOUDLY very LOUDLY . Evil or Very Mad   I sent off an email and this time it was obviously concocted by some one senior and much more hard faces and ugly.

Dear Mr Plantoid Laughing  ,

Shocked Your contract of sale is with the shop that sold you the jars , they should sort things out , we have gifted you the smaller jars . if the shop has a problem with the jars they can sort it out with us. No


Kilner customer care . affraid



Oh Dearie Dearie me ,  I'd hate to think what the ordering department of RAYWARE is like  if that's an example of prime quality customer care. pale
 

Guess where I'm going tomorrow with sheaves of paper and photos?

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Re: Weck jars

Post  CapeCoddess on 9/16/2014, 12:51 pm

@plantoid wrote:

 I took them to the local recycling point ...

Dear Mr Plantoid Laughing  ,

Shocked Your contract of sale is with the shop that sold you the jars , they should sort things out ...
Kilner customer care . affraid
Mad

Thanks for this, David. I have no problem learning from others experiences! 

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Re: Weck jars

Post  plantoid on 9/16/2014, 5:02 pm

This lunch time, I popped into the store where I originally purchased the Kilner jars taking the sheaf of emails and macro pictures with me.
 The manageress could not have been more helpful.
 
Yes Mr Plantoid......  the law does indeed  say the initial contract is with us  , we did exchange some jars but could not fulfil the required 11 as they were finished for the canning /bottling season.


 I see that in trying to sort it out with the manufacturers they could have been much more proactive & effective.
 

OK , I'll refund the cost of all the jars on the invoice and if you want you can take 11 of the mason style jars in lieu..

I chose the 11 jars ......   

  Hmmmm let me see now , there will also be a £4 refund to you

Wow what an amazing result .  I thought because it had been going on so long I would be told no chance of getting it sorted and legally i'd have to bear the cost of the loss.

Oh yes they are also the half litre sized jars as well . cheers cheers cheers


Also had a chinwag about what I was canning , how it is prepped , what did I use to pressure can and ANSFGing.

plantoid

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Re: Weck jars

Post  sanderson on 9/16/2014, 5:06 pm

Yay!!  bounce  You did it!

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Re: Weck jars

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