6 Best Pickling Jars | Recommended By A 50-Year Canner

After many years of making pickles with different recipes and different kinds of jars, I have finally found the combination that results in pickles that my family loves, are relatively easy to make, and that store well for the long term. First, let me give you my list of the best jars for making pickles.

Five of the best jars for making pickles are all Mason-type canning jars with Ball lids and rings in the following sizes:

  1. Pint-size regular mouth.
  2. Pint-size wide mouth.
  3. 12-ounce regular mouth.
  4. Quart regular mouth.
  5. Quart large mouth.
  6. Humble House Sauerkrock 2-quart ceramic fermentation crock jar. 

The primary reason I selected the first 5 of the above-mentioned jars is that according to the National Center For Home Food Preservation, we should make sure that we are using only Mason-type canning jars because these are the jars that are made specifically for home canning.

Now, let me explain why I selected these particular jars as the best for making pickles.

1. Pint Regular Mouth Ball Canning Jars

This particular jar which is a 16-oz Ball regular mouth canning jar, is my preference for canning everything. The exception is jam and jelly, for which I primarily use 8-oz jars, although I do make a limited amount of jam and jelly in pints.

16-oz is just my favorite size canning jar since this size fits the amount that I normally use at any one time.

When making pickles, most people use the wide-mouth version of this jar, but since I normally make pickles in slices, the regular mouth jar will work just fine, and they take up less space in the pantry.

These jars are easy to work with, are easy to wash and sterilize, and with the separate lids and rings, they can be reused an unlimited number of times unless they are somehow damaged.

Also, any jar that has Ball or Mason printed on them will be my choice because both names are trusted among canners and because they are recommended by the National Center For Home Food Preparation.

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2. Pint Wide Mouth Mason Canning Jars

Any time that I make pickles by cutting the cucumbers into spears or pickle them whole, this is the jar I use because regular mouth jars are not as easy to pack with larger pieces like spears and whole gherkins. This jar is also the best for canning things like beets or other fruits, vegetables, or meats that are canned in larger pieces because it is so much easier to fill the jars and remove the food from them as well.

Like the regular mouth pints that use separate lids and rings, these jars are easy to clean and sterilize, and are much easier to handle and use than canning jars with the bail top lids that have built-in rubber gaskets.

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3. Quart Regular Mouth Mason Canning Jars

If you are cooking for a larger family or if your family just uses a lot of pickles, quart-size jars are your best bet. And, if you make all your pickles in slices, this is the perfect jar for you. Also, if you can a lot of soups or smaller vegetables like peas and corn, then this is the perfect jar for you. The regular mouth will be easy enough to fill.

Quart size regular mouth Mason canning jars are easy to clean and sterilize and fit better in your pantry than the wide-mouth jars that take up more space. I always prefer canning jars that use the standard one-use lids and reusable rings because I have had greater success with this type of lid.

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4. Quart Wide Mouth Mason Canning Jars

This is the perfect size canning jar for pickling larger items like cucumber spears or whole gherkins, and even whole beets and pickled cauliflower are easier to can in the wide-mouth jars.

These jars are easy to clean, leakproof, and very versatile. This size is perfect for canning soups, syrups, and foods canned in larger pieces like pickles cut into spears or gherkins, whole beets, and meat chunks. The wide mouth makes filling the jars much faster and easier and has greater ease of removing the food from the jars when it is time to use it.

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5. Ball 12-Oz Regular Mouth Canning Jars

This jar is perfect for a lot of specialized canning projects like honey and jam and jelly, as well as for making pickles that are sliced. This size is also great for those of us who just don’t use that many pickles. In addition, these jars are perfect for making homemade gifts like hot chocolate and dessert mixes.

This jar is also easy to clean and sterilize and uses single-use lids and reusable rings.

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6. Humble House Sauerkrock 2-Quart Fermentation Crock Jar

Even though this sauerkraut fermentation jar wouldn’t be considered a pickling jar by most people, according to Wikipedia, pickling is “The process of preserving or extending the shelf life of food by either anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar.” 

So the process of making sauerkraut by fermentation is also a pickling method, and this fermentation jar is my recommendation as the perfect jar for making sauerkraut.

This jar comes with 2 full coverage food weights, is lead-free, easy to clean, and has an airlock to keep out dust, dirt, or any foreign matter.

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Best Pickling Lids

I recommend using single-use lids, like these found on Amazon, which come in either regular or wide-mouth sizes. I have had greater success with these lids than those that are either one-piece lids or off-brand lids.

Although I don’t have anything negative to say about the one-piece lids because I have used them successfully. However, according to the National Center For Home Food Preparation, there has not been enough testing done “to determine if they are allowing enough air to escape and create a safe vacuum-type seal.” 

Best Pickle Recipe

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, I have found what I consider to be the absolute best pickle recipe. Of course, not everyone likes the same kind of pickles. Some like sweet pickles and some like dill, and some like pickles that are spicy, while others do not.

So I should preface this by saying this is the best sweet pickle recipe I have ever used, and I have gotten rave reviews from everyone who has tried them.

This best pickle recipe is the one that is printed on packages of Mrs. Wages Pickling Lime. Here is a video of me showing the process:

Shelf Life Of Pickles

If stored properly, homemade pickles will have the following shelf life:

Canned Pickles

Unopened- Most sources say that unopened jars of homemade pickles will stay good for 2 years past their expiration date, but those sources also say that the shelf life of homemade pickles is 6 months to a year. So, are they saying that homemade pickles will last for 3 years if unopened and stored properly? Kind of confusing, isn’t it? 

Well, my experience has been that homemade pickles will stay good for at least 5 years. But, let me also say that for them to last that long, they must have been made by a tested and approved recipe like the one posted above, made by following approved canning guidelines, and they must be stored properly in a cool, dry area that is away from any heat or light source and is not exposed to drastic temperature changes.

Opened- Once homemade pickles have been opened, they will last at least 2 years in the refrigerator if kept tightly sealed after use and if they are not cross-contaminated by contact with other foods.

Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator pickles must be kept refrigerated at all times, even unopened because they have not been through the canning process to preserve them for long-time storage. They will remain good in the refrigerator for up to 6 months, unopened, and about 6 weeks after opening. 

How To Tell When Pickles Are Spoiled

The best methods of determining that pickles are spoiled are:

  • If the seal has failed.
  • If there is any leakage around the lid.
  • If the pickles have an unpleasant odor.
  • If the pickles are discolored.
  • If there is any mold growing on the pickles.

If you detect any signs of spoilage on the pickles, discard them immediately without tasting them.

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Jelly Grandma

Anne James

Anne James has a wealth of experience in a wide array of interests and is an expert in quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, mixing drinks (bartending), and making jelly. Anne has a professional canning business, has been featured in the local newspaper as well as on the Hershey website, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is. With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass. Amazingly, she doesn’t need to reference many resources due to her vast wealth of experience. She IS the source. Anne wants nothing more than to pass on her extensive knowledge to the next generations, whether that be family or anyone visiting her website, her YouTube channel, or survivalfreedom.com.

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