Protect your canning jar investment

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Protect your canning jars from breakage with these tips. | www.TheSurvivalMom.comI have a problem. Well, I have more than one but this one plagues me on a continual basis.  In my house we have 16 feet.  160 toes and a TON of socks.  So many socks that I’ve given up on sorting and mating them.  Instead they just get tossed into the sock bin.  If someone needs socks, they must go to ‘the bin’.

So how did my sock bin end up helping me protect my canning jars? Here’s the whole story.

It’s not a pleasant thing to go to the bin in search of a pair of matching socks because it means several minutes of searching for two that match. The bin is the bane of my existence.  It stares at me whenever I walk past taunting me. “SORT ME” it says. Being the stubborn soul that I am, it gets ‘dissed’ by me nearly every time.

…Until this last time. Not sure why it won this time around, but it was particularly persuasive.  It could have been that my 9 year old daughter was sucked in by  it’s tendrils or just that it was time.  So I sat down and started sorting.

My infamous sock bin.
My infamous sock bin.

Now this is not just a little bin. Seriously, my 11 year old could get in this bin with the lid closed, and often we’d see a cat or two perched on top of the sea of socks. I dug in and was determined to tackle this monster.

You might be wondering why you’ve had to sit through my sock tale.  Well for one, I want the world to know that “I SORTED THE SOCK BIN”  (taking a bow). This is a huge accomplishment, and secondly, the ones that didn’t find a mate still have a food storage related purpose, a useful life left in them.

Protecting your canning jar investment with socks, of all things!

We are going to recycle those socks into something that can help protect our investment.  We put a lot of time, energy and money into our food storage when we bottle something.  This can all be for naught if these jars get knocked around at all.  Glass likes to break if bumped too hard.

TIP: Have you ever thought of canning, or bottling, meat?

I live in earthquake country and at some point, the ground on which I stand is going to start shaking.  If my bottles aren’t ready for that shaking, I’m going to have a big mess and HUGE loss on my hands.

Here is the simple process I used to transform those mismatched socks into something I could use.

Step #1: Cut sock into four parts as shown.

Tutorial for transforming a mismatched sock into a canning jar protector.
Cut sock into 4 parts as shown.

Step #2: Toss out the toe and heel portions of the cut-apart sock and save the other two sections for use.

Tutorial for transforming a mismatched sock into a canning jar protector.
These are the sock parts you want to keep.


Step #3: Use the sock parts as illustrated to help protect your canning jars.

Tutorial for transforming a mismatched sock into a canning jar protector.

Tutorial for transforming a mismatched sock into a canning jar protector.

Other techniques I’ve discovered for protecting jars

Now there are some great commercial products on the market but I don’t have a ton of money to spend on those, If you do, great!  but I’d rather spend that money on more food for my family. So here are some easy and cheap ways.

Bottle box: Save the boxes that the jars came in,  The cardboard dividers will provide some protection from breakage.

Rubberbands:  Remember this post?  Well here’s another use for rubberbands.  Stretch the wide ones around the top and bottom of the jar to keep them from bumping around in the box.

Socks:  store your jars in socks, one long tube sock and protect 2 quart jars,   or cut them up in to tubes of various sizes to put on the jars.  They can even be rolled up to create even more buffer space or to secure them more snugly into a box.

Old towels:  Put the jars in a box with space in between and stuff the spaces with old towels or rag strips.

Bubble wrap:  Wrap your jars in bubble wrap or the packaging that comes in your mail order boxes.

Apple boxes:  Go to the grocery store and talk to your produce guy.  Apples sometimes come packed with puffy paper sheets in between them,  These are GREAT to wrap around the bottles…and the boxes themselves are a perfect size to fit at least 15 jars.

Sweaters: Wouldn’t that be cute for our jars to wear sweaters? There are some on Pinterest if you are into that type of thing.  I’m not going to the trouble to ‘dress’ my jars like those… but one thing my mom did was to take some left-over fleece from another project and sew it into a tube.  Then she cut the tube into about 6 inch sections.  Each of these were slipped over a jar to prevent that jar-to-jar contact in the box.

So get creative with your jars…or just stuff socks but do something to protect that investment.  Do you so something different with yours?  I’d love to hear other great ideas.

New to canning? You must own a copy of Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving!

If you want to check out products you can buy, rather than make, that will protect your canning jars, take a look at these:

19 thoughts on “Protect your canning jar investment”

  1. Socks cost plenty, too. Don’t lose them – use sock locks! Never have to match a pair of socks again! Make it mandatory for every person in the house to use them! Tell them they can’t have socks to wear unless they use these wonderful things! They will last forever; I have never lost any sock locks, either. You can color code them if you want so you know what belongs whom! I have used them for at least 35 years, maybe longer, and I have never. lost. a. sock! The original ones are the best, and they never wear out or break.

    Pay a kid to sort that bin and put all pairs into the sock locks. They will want to do it so they never have to do that again, because their socks will go into the laundry in sock locks, come out in sock locks, and remain there until they remove them, fold them, and put them away, stowing the empty locks in a little box that’s kept in their sock drawer for that purpose. When they remove their socks at the end of the day, they put them in the sock locks before putting them in the laundry. Do what ever it takes; its worth it. Have sock sorting day once a week until its done, denying them the thing they love to do most on a Saturday until the chore is finished. Train them, and they will take it to their families when they’re grown. Sock safety. Lock those miscreants up because a loose sock is a dangerous thing. Sock Lock tough love. It’s a good thing.

    And get yourself a Food Saver and rolls of bags. They don’t break in an earthquake. Especially not if you have dehydrated a lot of food and vac-packed it. You’ll pick up so much storage room you can have yourself a nice craft room afterwards.

  2. Apple boxes can be cut down to better hold quart or pint jars, too. Mark lines at 5 1/4″ for pints or at 7″ for quarts. Use a pair of scissors to cut from the edge to the line just marked, about 1/2″ out from the corner on all sides. Use a sharp knife to remove the small corner strip. Using a staight edge to guide, drag one of the scissor blades along the marked lines, twice on each line. Bend the “flap” down then use the sharp knife to cut through the paper backing still holding the cardboard in place. The pieces removed are easy enough to cut into dividers, & each box will hold 15 quart jars, with no wasted space. I cut notches into the ” flaps” then slide the notches into each other to make the dividers.

  3. I have never used sock locks, but I just recently heard an idea that I thought was even better. Buy everyone their own small mesh laundry bag. When they take off their socks, they go in the laundry bag and through the wash, then back to their owners. I thought this sounded so much easier than trying to put on the sock locks each time.

    1. I started doing this when my now adult children were infants. It is a wonderful way to organize the laundry, and save time. It also keeps those tiny, little, baby socks from going down the drain and causing washing machine problems. I still use ‘sock bags.’ I have one for white athletic socks and one for dark-colored socks.

  4. I live in serious Earthquake Country so this is a real concern. I use decapitated socks for my canning jars, but I don’t know many others who do. I don’t think these will help my jars survive in a 9.0 quake, but they might help in a 7.0. And it’s a thrifty use for orphan socks, which we have plenty of even with good vigilance.

    I also put my socked jars in boxes when I can, plus I put sticky rubberized shelf liner under my canning jar boxes. That would lessen sliding around in a quake. Many experts recommend this for dish shelves etc.

    At some point, we will also install a restraining lip at the bottom of these shelves, or a strip of wood across the front of the shelves. That would lessen loss from jars falling off of shelves. For now I use bungee cords instead so I have removable barriers but that only works on certain types of shelves without modifications and we don’t have these in place everywhere.

    One earthquake guide suggested bubble wrap or cushioning on the tops of canning jars because many of them will bounce upwards in a quake and break against the shelf above. I haven’t done that yet.

    We mustn’t mislead ourselves; in a *really* big quake, you’re probably going to lose most of your canning jars. That’s why it’s important to also have other types of supplies stocked. But the really big ones only come once in a blue moon; using socks, boxes, rubber shelf-liner, and shelf barriers might help preserve some of your canning supplies from smaller or moderate quakes, which is the kind most likely to happen.

  5. An absolutely brilliant idea! Who doesn’t have old socks with no mate? I love the idea that you can reuse, brighten up, and protect those mason jars. Because we all know, the empty ones never break! Thanks for this clever thought!

  6. Great idea, I have some tube socks in the giveaway box right now that I can pull back out! On the sock matching dilemma, we safety pin our socks together at the top (an idea I got from my aunt who has 12 children). When the socks need to get used, open the safety pin, take one sock out of the pin, close the pin (which is still attached to the other sock), and put them on. When it’s time to take them off, simply undue the safety pin, slip a side of the second sock onto it, close it and you’re done! Sure sometimes people comment and ask if you knew there was a safety pin on your sock but it has changed my laundry life for the better! No one has suffered any unexpected gauges yet and we’ve been doing this for a couple of years now. They are matched whether they are dirty or clean, on or off, his or hers, however! My husband likes the fact that he can just pick out the socks he wants to wear from the drawer of swimming socks and the match is trailing close behind when he pulls it out. It’s a $3 fix that will save hours of matching! Plus, you are always prepared if you ever need a safety pin…which actually happens every so often. (stepping down from the soapbox)

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  8. Margaret @ Pure Pearl Homestead

    Haha I loved “having to read through” your sock tale! It made me laugh. I think this is a wonderful idea. Personally I’ve found my mason jars to be nearly indestructible…especially when dropped but in a fight against one another I can see that one might win while the other perishes! Well, hope you can keep your sock bin to a minimum and your jars safe! ~Margaret

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  10. This is a great idea, for protecting the glass part, and I’ll probably do something similar.

    So then, how do we prevent damage to the seals in a serious earth-shake? Undamaged jars don’t do us much good if the food inside spoils. Any ideas?

  11. I have begun helping friends by canning for them… The BEST and cheapest solution for transporting canning jars is liquor boxes with dividers in them. Would work great for storage in case lots also. Most any liquor store will give you a few vodka boxes, which fit quarts well. They are super strong boxes, too.

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  13. I’m going to try this to protect the jars in the freezer. I was going to sew some fleece lined bags for each jar but this is so much easier.

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