Monday, February 3, 2014

Sad Story

I said that I would share both my successes and my failures here.  This is the story of a failure.  A failure that looks like this:


That's two quarts of delicious homemade pea soup, chock full of our home-grown produce, that now has to go in the trash.  We can't even feed it to the chickens for fear of glass shards.


I thought I was being so clever!  I would freeze in glass, and there would be no danger of holes developing, like when I use ziplocks and they rub against one another in the freezer.  I could thaw in the microwave without worrying about plastic chemicals leaching into the food!  I left plenty of headroom for the freeing soup to expand, and I even used a piece of plastic wrap instead of a metal cap for even more expansion insurance.  THIS WASN'T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN!

I thought my mistake might have been in putting the soup in the freezer warm, and I planned to try again, but refrigerate first.  Good thing I thought to Google it, because it turns out Michael at Critical MAS had already tried every solution I had thought of, and after a pile of broken jars, finally gone to the source.  Jarden Home Brands, maker of pretty much every canning jar you're likely to use, had this to say:
  1. You should only use straight jars and not those with rounded shoulders. “Jars with rounded shoulders inhibit the expansion of the food, allowing the food to take on the shape of the jar in the freezing process. Foods freezing and taking on the shape of the jar places undo stress on the rounded shoulders and can cause breakage.”
  2. Not every canning jar is ready for the freezer. “Only use Ball Can-or-Freeze regular half-pint and wide-mouth pint jars, Ball and Kerr Quilted Crystal Jelly Jars in 4, 8, and 12 ounce sizes, Kerr regular and wide-mouth half pint, and wide-mouth pint jars. Why? “These jars are designed for freezer use since they are wider at the top than at the bottom and have tapered sides. This shape allows food to expand straight upward as it freezes.”
 It would not have occurred to me in a million years that the freezing food would bind up on the shoulder and crack the jar from there, so thanks for doing the legwork, Chris.

Now, my problem is that those specially shaped freezing jars only come in half-pints and pints, and we're firmly a quarts-of-soup kind of household.  For now, I've frozen my latest batch in big plastic yogurt containers, but if you've got a lead on awesome freezer-safe jars in big sizes, I'd love to hear about it.

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