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If you love canning as I do, you probably think I’m a heretic.
But seriously, on occasion, you need to inspect and perhaps dispose of some of your canning jars and lids. If you have any canning jars with minor cracks or chips, at some point, they will shatter during canning because of the heat or thermal differential. So set them aside now before harvest season begins. If you can’t bear to recycle your damaged jars completely and they just have a small chip in them, use them to hold pens or pencils or rulers or something else in your house. Or use them for decoration atop your kitchen cabinets or on shelves. I don’t recommend using chipped or cracked canning jars for storing any kind of food–even dry food like rice or pasta–because of the obvious food safety issue. If you don’t have any chipped or cracked jars (yay!) or when you are finished setting those aside, organize the remaining ones by size and mouth size.
Then sort through your metal canning lids and toss any that have been used. I keep my new lids in their original boxes so that I don’t have to worry whether a lid has been used. (I am not a rebel canner and do not support rebel canning in any way, including reusing lids.) I do freeze juices and other things in jars, but I do not keep used metal lids for freezing; I use these plastic jar lids. I highly recommend them.
I wish I could afford to put all of my jars in JarBoxes, these plastic containers that are meant for storing jars. One day!
Time required: Less than 30 minutes.