can I stack small jars in the canner?

Asked August 13, 2018, 5:26 PM EDT

Howdy all, I just finished canning a bunch of quarts of this and that, and now am going to do hot peppers. Since I use pint and half pint jars for them, I was wondering if I can stack one jar on top of another in the canner to get a couple layers in the canner for more efficiency? When in the water bath like that, the weight would be pretty negligible on the jar below, I would think. But I thought I would ask what the 'expert' canners there may know. I am sure an initial rote answer would be no, but what do you know about it being done -successfully or not- any why would it not work? Thanks.

Baker County Oregon food safety home food preservation

1 Response

Thanks for contacting Ask an Expert.

Yes, you can stack the smaller canning jars in a boiling water or pressure canner, just not directly on top of each other. The processing times are based on water or steam circulation around the entire jar, so you may stagger the jars on the second layer. The lower level needs to be completely full so the second level jars don't "jiggle" and tilt into some cracks during processing. In either type of canner, assure that the jars are all level to prevent siphoning. More convenient, is to place a tray between the layers. Stores that have a wide variety of canning equipment usually separately sell the round pressure canner trays. There may be two per package and sell for about $7.00.

The stacked jars in boiling water canning still need to be submerged in water with one to two inches of water above the tallest jar in the canner. If you want to stack pints for water bath canning, you could use your taller pressure canner (22 quart size), just don't tighten the lid or close the petcock or cover the vent port with the "rocker."