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Elaine Lemm

Do Not Reuse Jam Jars. What?

By October 11, 2012

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The news in the UK is currently awash with reports that reusing old glass jars for home made preserves could be breaking EU (European Union) laws and warnings have been sent out to that effect. Apparently, this practice is dangerous and anyone reusing old jars for jams, jellies, chutney et al, then selling them could risk fines of up to 5000 (this is only if you are selling the jams not giving them to friends or keeping for your own use).

 sterilize jam jars

I don't usually engage in debates of this type, but this one made me hopping mad because it is ridiculous. Yes, I acknowledge it is important to sterilise any jars used for preserves to remove any bacteria, yeasts or fungi to protect the food you put into the jar. Heating them in the oven, the microwave or washing in a hot wash in a dishwasher, however, will do this. The jam, chutney, marmalade or whatever you are potting should be very hot, (equally, so should the jars to make sure they don't shatter)and these preserves will have reached temperatures around 104C - 106C, so little chance any bug would survive in temperatures that high. I don't recommend using old jam jar lids if they are damaged or rusty, they should be thrown away as they may not make a good seal. Instead, use wax discs and cellophane or buy new lids. Otherwise, you are good to go if you have correctly followed the instructions for sterilisation.

I have been make jams, pickles and chutneys always using old jars for 40 years and never a problem and am curious to what do you think about (yet another) "bonkers" directive? Do let me know.

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October 11, 2012 at 9:48 am
(1) Anne Thompson says:

Totally agree, with your thoughts, preserves are just that preserved and if jars are cleaned properly and sterilised there is no problem for home use.

October 13, 2012 at 6:28 am
(2) Sam BILTON says:

What a load of rubbish! Considering we are always being encouraged to recycle to cut down on landfill waste this directive is ridiculous. What better way is there to recycle jam jars than using them again for further preserves? It’s not going to stop me from reusing jars!

October 16, 2012 at 1:47 pm
(3) Anna Lupton says:

I agree whole heartedly with you ,Elaine. What else am I going to put my bean chutney in. I always have a great feeling of satisfactory when I see my glass jars – all different shapes and sizes lined up on the pantry shelf with home-made pickles, chutneys and jams . That’s what home made is all about. It just wouldn’t look the same in regimented new jars. I am sure this silly law will have sent many a W I meeting into turmoil.

October 16, 2012 at 1:55 pm
(4) Karen says:

Just forwarded this article to my friends in the UK… this is ridiculous and another paranoid law created over there….

October 16, 2012 at 2:05 pm
(5) Lynn says:

I agree completely, Elaine. I inherited some jam jars that are over 40 years old and are still very much usable. After checking for cracks, chips and other safety issues, if there are none, the jars get washed and sanitized in the dishwasher and then in goes the jam. Granted, my preserves are for home use or simply for gifts. New jars can be rather pricey these days. I try to use what jars are on hand before I buy a batch of new ones.

October 16, 2012 at 11:03 pm
(6) paul hayward says:

sounds like the jam compamies are scared people will make there own instead of buying, stupid law as far as im concerned, hope it doesnt come in out here in australia. makes me sad to say im british still am and allways will be.

October 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm
(7) Joan D. says:

It’s called the game of “Follow the Money”! That’s all this is about. It’s about any “hook” they can get you to give them your money by buying, buying, and buying! Short and simple, spelled “scamming the public”. It’s the new way of the world today; every where!!

October 17, 2012 at 9:45 pm
(8) pete thomas says:

I totally agree with you I would definatly reuse jam jars:)

April 26, 2013 at 5:18 am
(9) frugal living says:

I have never come across something so silly my gran has been reusing old jam jars for years and has never had any problems in fact it was my gran who got me into living a frugal lifestyle and i thank her for all the little tips over years like reusing jam jars.

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