Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600497
Food may be canned in glass jars or metal containers. Metal containers can be used only once. They require special sealing equipment and are much more costly than jars.
Regular and wide-mouth Mason-type, threaded, home- canning jars with self-sealing lids are the best choice. They are available in 1/2 pint, pint, 1-1/2 pint, quart and 1/2 gallon sizes. The standard jar mouth opening is about 2-3/8 inches. Wide-mouth jars have openings of about 3 inches, making them more easily filled and emptied. Half- gallon jars may be used for canning very acid juices. With careful use and handling, Mason jars may be reused many times, requiring only new lids each time. When lids are used properly, jar seals and vacuums are excellent and jar breakage is rare.
It is recommended that mason-type jars designed for home canning be used for preserving food by pressure or boiling-water-bath canning. However, some commercial pint and quart size mayonnaise or salad dressing jars may be utilized for canning acid foods in a boiling-water canner when new 2-piece lids are used. However, you should expect more seal failures and jar breakage.
Commercial mayonnaise jars are weakened by repeated contact with metal spoons or knives used in dispensing mayonnaise. Seemingly insignificant scratches in the glass jars may cause the jars to crack or break during boiling- water canning. Commercial jars are not recommended for use in pressure processing. It is recognized that some people continue to can products successfully using commercial mayonnaise jars with new 2-piece lids. However, use of mason-type jars designed for use in home canning ensures a safe product and break-free jars during processing.
Other commercial jars with mouths that cannot be sealed with two piece canning lids are not recommended for use in canning any foods at home.