Availability and pricing updated: 10/19/2020
The pandemic has created some unexpected shortages, and the increased demand during fall canning season has strained the supply system. This is frustrating for annual canners. But at the same time, it's exciting that so many people are getting into it for the first time or picking it up again.
With a shortage, prices go up. Unless you're familiar with typical prices, it's hard to know if a retailer is overcharging. Below is how much canning jars, lids, and pectin normally cost, without a pandemic.
- Jars are usually around $0.50 - $0.75 each, including the metal bands and lids. Anything over $1.00 is overpriced. During covid, I see a lot of resellers listing for $2-$3 per jar.
- Lids are usually around $2.00 for 12
- Pectin is normally $1 or less per ounce
Where to buy canning jars & lids
Canning jars, lids, and pectin are all hard to find now. Big retailers (Walmart and Target) are either sold out, or allow 3rd parties to sell at ridiculous markups (like Amazon).
The best place to find canning jars and lids are at garden and farm supply stores. The typical canner is a gardener or homesteader, so these places already had a large inventory. Many of these stores are local and don't offer online shipping, but some do.
I've found several resources that (at least right now) have both supply and fair enough prices. None of the links are affiliate links - this post is here solely to help my fellow food-loving friends.
Last updated: 10/19/2020
Webstaurant Store has Ball canning jars
They target restaurant owners, but canning supplies are sold in amounts that a home canner would use as well. Currently, their prices are a little higher than usual, but not terrible.
- Canning supplies product page
- 4 oz regular mouth jars, sold by the case, includes rings and lids. $0.66 per jar
- 8 oz regular mouth jars in vintage aqua, sold in packs of 4, includes rings and lids. $1.92 each
- (Now sold out) 16 oz regular mouth jars in vintage aqua,
sold in packs of 4, includes rings and lids. $2.12 each
- (Now sold out) 16 oz regular mouth 'spiral' jars,
sold in packs of 4, includes rings and lids. $2.20 each
Target currently has a few things in stock for shipping
Many of their products are listed as 'not available online' but you can check to see if they are available for pickup in store. A few things are still available for shipping:
- 4 oz regular mouth jelly jar including bands and lids, 12 count for $8.39 ($0.70 each)
- 8 oz regular mouth jar including bands and lids, 12 count for $10.99 ($0.92 each)
- Super cute 13.5 oz 'Italian' canning jars, $2.99 each
- Ball Classic Pectin for $6.49 (4.7oz container) - this is 30-50% higher than 'regular' prices
- Canning jars & lids inventory list: check their list for in-store pickup or shipping
Uline has jars
Uline is a shipping supply store, but they happen to have Ball canning jars. Most are listed as out of stock until December or January, but there are still some options.
- 4 oz regular mouth jars including bands and lids: 12 count for $14.40 ($1.20 each)
- 8 oz regular mouth jars including bands and lids: 12 count for $14.40 ($1.20 each)
- 8 oz wide mouth jars including bands and lids: 12 count for $18.00 ($1.50 each)
- 16 oz regular mouth jars including bands and lids: 12 count for $16.20 ($1.35 each)
- Regular mouth lids and bands: 12 count for $6.60, but must buy two boxes for a total of $13.20. The lids+bands are $0.55 each. The regular lids (without bands) are sold out.
- Full list of canning jars & lids, in case they come back in stock.
Menards has jars & lids in-store
If you have a Menards near you, you might have luck buying jars and lids in-person. They don't offer shipping on them right now. They do have pectin in stock for shipping.
- Several jar sizes, all under $1.00 per jar (including lids and rings)
- Regular mouth lids, $2.09 for 12. Sold in store only.
- Ball Classic fruit pectin, $4.48 for 4.7 oz jar. Ship to home, or ship to store options available.
- Several other pectins available, for in-store and online shipping.
Tractor Supply Co has pint jars
There doesn't seem to be many options, but they currently have (Now Sold Out) 16 oz regular mouth jars
(sold as sets of 12) for $9.99.
Don't buy 'storage jars'
There are cute, usually small jars by Mason and Ball labeled Storage Jars. These are not meant for canning.
Can't find jars? Try freezing instead
Jams & other food go through the canning process to make them safe for storage at room temperature. But if you're storing something in the freezer, it doesn't have to go through the same sterilization process.
Freezing your jam (etc) doesn't require the glass jars and special lids, either. You can use a plastic container.
For more freezer jam information, visit The Cafe Sucre Farine for resources.
Do you have a good source for canning supplies not listed here? Leave a comment to help other people.
Looking for other canning-related ideas or help? Check out these resources.