Attention canners: supply shortage?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Have you been finding your favorite canning supplies missing from your local supply stores?

I had an unsuccessful trip today: I didn’t find small canning jars. My favorite Portland canning store Mirador, reported that Ball has run out of canning jar stock- and this is after they doubled their production for 2008. New jars won’t be in till after the new year! So much for my early start on making my tiny Christmas present jams.

This is my first year canning and preserving. I find it fascinating that I am part of a trend of food preservation interest.

Yeah- not finding supplies is a pain, but I’m also happy that more people are testing the waters of self sufficiency in their kitchens.

14 Comments

posted November 16th, 2008 at 4:03 pm

I agree with your premise that people are canning more of their own food this year, just from the number of calls we received on the Oregon-wide MFP hotline from new canners. I’ve been canning for the past 3-4 years, and a Master Food Preserver since June, so I’m more in tune with the canning jar underground than I ever have been, heh. Half-pint jars are always at a premium because people don’t return them like they often do with pints and quarts. I go through many more boxes of half-pints than other sizes. A couple of weeks ago, BiMart had half-pints and the mini jars still on sale here in Eugene. Do you guys have BiMarts up there? Another possibility is Goodwill, both for jars in boxes and jars on the shelf. I’ve had great success there.

I should mention one more thing — I’ve had grave complaints when I make the tiny jam jars for presents. Give the people more jam!! ;)

Have fun,
Eugenia

posted November 16th, 2008 at 5:57 pm

It’s likely a very local thing- yes, demand has increased, but not a lot of people in urban areas can things. There was certainly no lack of canning supplies in rural South Carolina when I was there in the late summer.

I agree with Eugenia- check Bi-Mart. If you are really desperate, that horrible Arkansas-based big box store probably has a ton of them too.

We are also collecting them after we use ‘em up- we only have a few, but you are welcome to them!

posted November 16th, 2008 at 10:08 pm

I also just learned to can this year and have put away about 4 dozen jars of varying sizes. Safey has jars (1/2 to 1 pint) for $16/doz and they’re $8/doz at my local store. But my best find was from an old neighbor lady in Seaside and got 5 doz. quart and 1/2 gal. jars with lids from her for free.

I’d loaned my canner to a friend who thought I GAVE it to her and she in turn gave it to her friend for making goats milk soap. BUt it turns out that my mom had an old canner I now posess.

The hardware stores in Humboldt did have a waiting list for pressure cookers, though. So beginning tuna canners have had a harder time of it.

My favorite concept is canning food that’d otherwise go to waste: apples from abandoned trees, blackberry jam, huckleberry jam, spiced pears…

posted November 17th, 2008 at 5:29 am

As a last resort, I’ve seen canning supplies in Target and I’ve heard they stock them at Walmart as well. I’ve been the lucky recipient of some fantastic homemade jelly over the summer, with the promise that next year they’ll let me help. Happy canning!

- Melissa
posted November 17th, 2008 at 9:53 am

New Seasons in Beaverton still has tons of jars.

posted November 17th, 2008 at 4:10 pm

My local hardware store gets their stock of canning supplies in March and displays them all in a GIANT stack at the entrance – and then it seems like they don’t restock for the rest of the year. It is kind of fun to watch the pile dwindle, but when I go in in September, I think, wow, I better buy some extra cans for apple butter before they sell out!

posted November 17th, 2008 at 5:32 pm

I have 2 cases of the half pints, brand new, that I won’t be using this year – get a hold of me and you can have them at cost.

- Mary Kay
posted November 18th, 2008 at 12:50 am

Canning supplies this year have been really scarce. I drove all over town looking for pint jars a few months back. Try the WinCo on 102nd or the one on 122nd – both have had large stocks even when no one else had more than lids on hand.

- Kathy
posted November 18th, 2008 at 11:14 am

I had the same problem and eventually gave up after 4 stores. I went home and started going through my cupboards and found my old hoard of baby food jars. It worked well enough for the jams I gave as presents. I just prefaced that they needed to be stored in the refrigerator. I only have 4 jars left and people clamoring for more.

- Julia
posted November 18th, 2008 at 12:17 pm

I’ve never canned anything on my own but would love to learn! Good luck finding the supplies you need.

posted November 21st, 2008 at 10:42 am

I ran into the exact same predicament last year and had to resort to tupperwear. I got smaller sizes and gave people an assortment of jams and condiments BEFORE the holiday meals commenced and told them that whichever one they wanted I would send them a larger canned version after the new year. It got RAVE reviews. People liked having the choice and the extra items on hand during the busy holiday season. It went so well I plan on taking a similar approach with the vodka infusions I am making this year.

If you’re dead set on canning try second hand stores and dollar stores.

Cheers!

- emma
posted November 30th, 2008 at 11:56 am

I did try Wal*Mart for rings and lids the week before Thanksgiving for the cranberry/apple relish I was putting up. Not only did they not have any canning supplies, they told me that they won’t until Spring because the supplies are considered SEASONAL.

In the end I tried the supermarket across town and they had rings and lids, but no jars.

Like Emma, I’ve had good luck in the summer at dollar stores. Guess I’ll have to remember that next year!

- shannon
posted July 4th, 2009 at 12:24 am

Hi,

I found what you said interesting re: running out of canning supplies. I
just finished an 8 week class here in southern oregon dealing with
food preservation (like mastergardeners but food instead). a scientist
from the extension spoke and told us in a tele conference with the manufactureres
and other scientists, the manufactureres said that they sold out unexpectedly last year and expect to this year due to various changes in the food climate, ie permaculture, slow food, locavores, etc. plus the economy. Perhaps we need to stock up?!

Em

PS: will check the dollar stores myself. right now there are alot of jars in stock
around here…but its more rural.

- Em Gomez
posted May 29th, 2010 at 7:47 am

This is 2 years later from the original post, but this is now going to my first year canning (though grew up in the house watching my mother can and doing all the tedious jobs that have to be done….anyone need a cherry pitter, I am your woman!) My mom always told us kids that if we took a jar of anything that we HAD to bring the jar back, if we gave a jar to anyone that they had to bring it back, and if your friends want something canned or a portion of what you can that the deal is that they have to supply the jars that they are to have filled! If they want to help out that is even better too.
I am really excited about canning this year and I hope that I have a better chance of finding supplies in the City then it sounded like 2 years ago. I am in the process of just getting my racks, funnels, jar lifters, and granny-ware so lets hope next pay check jars in are abundance! Peach Lavender Jam here I come!!!

Peach lavender sounds wonderful!
I think the suppliers have picked up the pace by now. I say crossing my fingers… :)

–McAuliflower

- Chenoa

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