The Mason jar is one of the most popular kinds of jars in use today. Named after John Landis Mason, the Mason jar is basically a molded glass jar that is used mostly for canning food. The jar is primarily used for preserving food and canning. It comes with a screw thread on the top.
There is a metal band on the lid and when screwed down properly, it creates a strong vacuum through the disc-shaped lid that is placed against the rim of the jar. A rubber ring is placed on the underside of the lid. This is important because it helps create a seal around the lid, thus making sure that the food items inside remain protected from external elements.
In most parts of the world, the standard Mason jar is usually made of soda-lime glass. They are also available in two common shapes: a regular sized mouth and a wide mouthed version. Mason jars have become incredibly common and they can easily be found in almost every part of the world.
Before we talk about using Mason jars on the stove, it is important to first identify the main uses. In the world of home canning, food can be packed into the jar, with a bit of space left at the top. The lid is placed tightly to create a hermetic seal. Before that happens, the band is screwed loosely, allowing all steam or air inside to escape. Finally, the jar is heat sterilized by putting it in the boiling water.
In some cases, steam is also used. Finally, the jar is allowed to cool all the way down to room temperature. As the food inside begins to cool, a vacuum is created within the head space. This ultimately brings the lid closer and tightens the top properly. Eventually, this creates a vacuum that makes the food ideal for long-term storage.
Should You Heat the Food Inside?
One of the things that you might have heard about Mason jars is that they are designed to be incredibly durable. However, you should know that because they are made of glass, it doesn’t mean that they can be used for heating. Do not mistake the soda-lime glass used for Mason jars for Pyrex, which can be used for heating purposes.
First of all, you should know that glass expands when heated. This is in line with various other materials, and it also contracts when cooled. It is one of the reasons why the glass creates a tight seal when it is heat sterilized. However, you should know that when you put the jar on the stove, it might not be properly heated.
Uneven heating or cooling is a serious problem. But, what most people don’t understand here is that this causes severe stress on the material. When you take your glassware out of the dishwasher and place it in the cupboard to cool down, you don’t have to worry about it breaking apart.
However, you should know that the material is going to undergo severe stress and is likely to break when you take out the glassware directly from the dishwasher and place it under the tap for cool water to run through. But, as mentioned, you should know that there are different types of glasses, and each of them have their own pros and cons.
For instance, Pyrex, which is completely safe for use in the oven, is generally made from tempered glass. But, don’t think that you can just place the Pyrex on the top of a stove and take it off; it is going to be exposed to thermal shock and can break if it is subjected to sudden cooling right away.
The worst thing is that the glass tends to break into many small pieces. These fragments are generally not sharp, so you don’t have to worry about sustaining an injury.
On the other hand, the Mason jars are made from conventional annealed glass. When this type of glass breaks, it shatters into uneven, irregular pieces that are generally sharp. Think of them as tiny shards that are going to be scattered all over. If you are holding the jar at the time, there is a strong chance that you will end up hurting yourself.
If there is a crack in your Mason jar, you should discard it right away. However, you should know that the worst risk isn’t just the glass cracking. Instead, you should know that the steam that builds under the pressure along with the excessive thermal shock is likely to cause a small explosion.
This is going to send the contents of the jar in all directions, and you could end up with tiny shards lodged into your skin, along with serious burns. Keeping your Mason jars on the stove, or in the oven, is a bad idea, and you will end up seriously hurting yourself.
Baking directly in the vessel or heating up the food stored directly in the Mason jar is a bad idea. Instead, you should know that there is a particular method that can be used to heat up the food stored in the Mason jar.
How to Heat up Food in the Mason Jar
The simple way to do this is to first unlock the Mason jar. You have to get the food out from the Mason jar to heat it up properly. If you want to bake the food, you should take it out of the jar and place it on a baking tray. There are a bunch of different baking trays that you can buy, available in different shapes and sizes, which are suitable for use.
You should know that partially removing food from the Mason jar, and then storing the remaining food is a bad idea because the vacuum will be exposed. Instead, when you have to heat up the food, you should make sure that you take out the whole thing and then heat it up.
It is recommended that you get rid of the Mason jar when done. If you are going to heat up the food on a stove, a simple way to do so is by taking everything out from the jar and placing it in a pan or a pot. You can also put it in a microwave oven if you are going to eat it directly.
The Mason jar can then be cleaned out and used for other purposes, or you can just discard it. It’s generally a safe practice and it is going to ensure that your food isn’t tainted in case you decide to use it again. If you have to heat up the food and don’t have any other things available, the best option available to you is to just pour it out in a pan.
Never put the Mason jar directly on the stove, because there is a strong risk that the jar will shatter. The naked flame underneath is not going to allow the heat to be distributed properly, and the glass is likely to shatter, causing a mess and possible burns or injuries. These are just a few things that you should know about heating up food in a Mason jar properly.