Plastic Freezer Bags versus Glass Canning Jars

November 11, 2008 – 7:44 pm

Some years ago, more years than I’d like to count, I did a lot of cooking and freezing.  Well, I’ve started to freeze meals ahead again, cooking double recipes and freezing half, freezing fresh fruit and vegetables when in season, and all that good stuff.  I removed a meal from the freezer the other day, a meal that was all nicely contained in a zippered freezer bag, thawed out the soup, and thew the bag away.  Stop! 

I stood there looking in the garbage, deciding if 1) the bag could be washed and reused, and 2) if the bag could be recycled.  Either prospect wasn’t very appealing to me.  I have washed used plastic food bags but, after being used in freezing, they never are really free of grease which means they can’t possibly be clean.  Plus, how long does plastic last and is it safe to reuse?  And to recycle yet another plastic bag seemed like a question I just didn’t have time to research or debate. 

Then a memory rose out of the clear blue, back to those years that I did a great deal of “putting by” meals in the freezer.  Something I remembered made me step back just a bit.  Back then I didn’t worry about what to do with the container I used to freeze my meal in because it was glass.  Yes, I routinely used glass canning jars to freeze food.  And now I remember why.  I loved it!

I know what you’re thinking; that’s way too expensive.  But, let’s talk about quality first.  As I recall, freezer burn was not even discussed.  I never saw it.  I froze everything from fresh peaches to diced chicken and the finished product was always superior to anything I’ve ever frozen in a bag.  The seal is supreme and glass is impervious.  Yes, you’re saying, but getting back to the cost…

Okay, I agree that your initial expense may seem daunting.  Just for a ball park figure, a case of 12 jars in an 8 oz wide mouth size would run you about $10.00, and a similar case of 16 oz jars would be about $12.00 or so.  Now for 12 lids and bands, that’s about $7.00.  The rubber rings for the seal can be reused as well, if you’re not canning the food, just freezing it, and those run about $3.00 for a dozen.  Your start-up cost just for 24 assorted jars would be around $42.00.  I know, that’s a whole bunch of money to lay out for freezer containers, especially when you compare them to the cost of freezer bags.  But, aside from breakage, a bent lid every so often, or worn out ring, it’s a one-time investment.  If you throw out even one quart size freezer bag a day for a year, you’ve thrown away around $43.00.  That’s your money in the trash, never to be recovered. 

Seeing as you are such a smart shopper and a frugal fanatic, you may want to give this a try.  Do a little homework yourself and you’ll discover many wholesale and resale shops that offer glass canning jars at a reduced price.  You may even luck out at a garage sale somewhere.  Now that I remember using canning jars to freeze, I just might be enticed to start freezing more for my family, too, because those glass canning jars just look so pretty all stacked up in the freezer.

  1. 2 Responses to “Plastic Freezer Bags versus Glass Canning Jars”

  2. Just ran across this article and, as a penny-pinching mom of 6, wanted to encourage everyone down the “jar” road. I also wanted to add that it is VERY easy to find dozens of canning jars for $1 a dozen or less at yard sales, thrift shops, swap meets and even Craigslist. I just picked up 10 dozen on the side of the road in a dump pile! I sold half for $1 a dozen, so I basically ended up with my lids and jars for free! Just keep your eyes peeled, the old glass jars work just as well, and can be washed and boiled, making them ans clean (and sterile) as new! Thanks!

    By Jessa Youngblood on Apr 24, 2009

  3. Hey Jessa!
    Thank you so much for your input and great information. I had totally forgotten about Craigslist as a possible source. Thanks! I can’t believe you picked some up on the side of the road. That’s incredibly lucky! I’ve been watching the yard sales but haven’t come up with many. But, now I’ll start watching a bit closer, and even keep my eyes open for those dump piles along the road! Great information, thanks again!

    By Mom on Apr 24, 2009

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