(5 Min. Read)
At Wondrwood, we get a lot of questions about whether cork stopper style glass jars are suitable for longterm storing, canning and preserving of foods, oils and other liquids.
Here's the thing - the short and uncomplicated answer is yes - but there are definitely a couple of things you need to look out for in your jars before you choose them, especially when it comes to canning and preserving foods.
So, what better way to answer all of your burning questions than to give you a list of the pros and cons of each topic? This way you can decide for yourself what is right for your exact needs and preferences.
We also included a list of tips for success that you can apply to get the best results when storing, preserving and canning various foods and liquids in glass jars with cork stopper lids.
Food Storage In Glass Jars With Cork Stopper Lids
Storing food in glass jars is convenient and can even be an aesthetic feature piece.
What's important to consider when storing food products in glass jars with stopper-style lids, is that you may need to think of how long you intend on storing the contents before using, or disposing of them.
If the cork lid closes with an air-tight seal then you don't need to worry about your food or liquid expiring, but if the seal is not air-tight, there will be a time limit on the freshness.
Pros Of Food Storage In Cork & Glass Jars:
If the cork lids on your jars have a good air-tight seal, they are just as good as any other kind of jar for long-term food storage, arguably better for some people (more on that below).
If you're using the jars and accessing the food inside them every day, the ease-of-use for opening & closing the lid with one hand each time will be a welcome timesaver and convenience.
Cork is a superb material that has been used to seal all kinds of glass and ceramic containers for thousands of years, largely due to the fact that cork does not absorb any moisture, nor does it shrink or expand over time.
Cons Of Food Storage In Cork & Glass Jars:
- If the seal on your jars is not actually air-tight, then air and moisture will inevitably enter the jar. This will spoil the food inside over time, particularly if stored in a humid environment.
- Depending on how you like to store & organise your jars, you may find the lack of stack-ability that comes with most cork lid jars a little limiting when it comes to compacting many jars into a small space. If you're interested in stackable jars, you can check out our stackable wooden-lid jars here.
- Occasionally, if left near a heat source, such as direct sunlight for several hours, a cork stopper lid might become stuck in the jar and feel all but impossible to remove, if you have found yourself in that rare but annoying predicament, we recommend reading our ultimate guide to removing stuck jar stoppers.
What To Look For In Glass Jars Intended For Food Storage:
- Food-safety (ie. free from lead, cadmium and does not leach any toxins).
- Ease of access and ease of washing.
- Ergonomics and daily use - are they something you'll want to look at and use every day?
- Limitations of the glass - can you heat and cool them rapidly without any issues?
Preserving & Canning Food In Glass Jars With Cork Stopper Lids
Nowadays, most preserving or canning of foods is done in glass jars with screw-top lids, but many people also do it in jars with cork stoppers. Usually the reasons for preserving in cork-stopper jars is for purity of flavour and/or aesthetic design preferences.
Pros Of Preserving & Canning In Cork & Glass Jars:
- Eliminates the risk of the jar contents contracting a metallic taste from a metal lid. Cork is also naturally anti-bacterial, hypo-allergenic, anti-microbial and anti-fungal.
- Depending on where you want to store or display the jars, the end result will look a lot more authentic and aesthetically pleasing in a cork-stopper jar when compared with a metal screw-on lid.
- It can sometimes make the actual canning process quicker, cleaner and easier. The absence of screw-on lids means that you can far easier manoeuvre the jar and lid with one hand while focusing on pouring the food to be preserved in with the other.
Cons Of Preserving & Canning In Cork & Glass Jars:
- If the seal is not air-tight and you don't discover this shortcoming in time, the contents will be spoiled and all of your efforts could have been for nothing if the food or liquid quickly spoils.
- You get slightly more peace of mind when canning with screw-on lids, you can stack them and transport them back-and-forth with a lower risk of a jar spilling or opening in the process.
- Writing and labelling - it's usually a little easier to write the date or contents-label on a flat lid and wash it off again than it is on a rounded cork lid. You'll either have to rely on memory, visuals, - or just sticking labels directly on to the glass rather than the lid - for cork lidded jars.
What To Look For In Jars For Canning & Preserving Food
- Consider the type of lid and what you want to achieve from the contents (flavour-purity, portability, appearances/authenticity, stack-ability).
- The shape & size of the jar opening.
- Can the actual glass withstand boiling water and/or being stored in the freezer? Borosilicate glass is always best to use as it withstands rapid temperature changes and is 100% food safe.
- The size of the jar for your particular preserves and canned foods. Typically half-pint (240ml) jars or larger suit most canning & preserving needs.
It's also important to consider the shape of the jar's opening and the shape of the cork lid if you want to use the jars for canning or preserving foods. Ideally you want a uniformly-shaped opening (eg: perfectly round) and a long enough cork stopper to make sure that it can go far enough into the jar without making it impossible to remove the lid again.
For instance, we would recommend using something more like our Cork & Glass Kitchen Bottles, or screw-topped Limited Edition Acacia Jars for canning, rather than our Tapered Jars, which have a spherical lid.
One could argue that canning in jars with screw-on lids is the more 'safe' route. While the majority of cork stopper lids out there seal perfectly airtight, if you are planning on moving the jars around a lot - perhaps transporting them frequently to various food markets or back-and-forth to your store - then screw-on lids will give you that little extra bit of peace of mind.
Canning with cork lids is arguably the more artisanal, dare we say traditional way to preserve foods - for true canning enthusiasts.
Using cork-stopper lids for canning and preserving usually provides the most pure unadulterated flavour and consistency when done correctly. It also produces something that looks the part a little more - but, to each their own, when it comes down to it, it's mostly a matter of personal preference.
One bonus of cork lid jars is that they're usually more versatile in terms of what you can use them for, whether it's just regular food storage, preserving or making centrepieces, micro-terrariums, jar gifts, jar crafts or other display pieces.
If you're looking for a list of creative ideas for your glass jars, you definitely need to check out our blog post containing 41 ways to (re) use your jars at home!