Jars for Sous Vide

Hi guys,
I want to make some desserts and pickles in a jar sous vide.
But I don’t know which type of jar is ok to use, since I can’t find the 2 part lid mason jars in my area.
Do I have to use the 2 part lid jars?
Can I use just regular vacuums sealed jars? or just 1 part lid glass jar?
TNX ahead

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I am not totally familiar with all of the different jars out there, but some community members might know - @JenWhetham @sharonhg @MrTimmy @GordonCharlton @Bigdinthebigd @Kquim @iPa64

Where are you? Perhaps there is someone here from your region who can give you a lead.

Ball jars are American made but available internationally. I think they’re the most common brand of Mason jars these days.

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I’ve always just used 2 part lid mason jars by Bernardin, that you can find just about anywhere in Canada, and they’ve always worked for me. I’ve never tried 1 part lid jars or vacuum jars I’d be curious to see how they work out though!

Edit: I’ve also used the seals multiple times and they still remain water tight even after hours on end of submerged cooking.

As the community here is international, we find that sometimes names of items, food, cuts of meat, etc, don’t always mean the same thing to all of us. I personally don’t know what you mean by “1 part lid glass jar”. I think what you might mean by “regular vacuum sealed jar” is similar to a commercial jar that you find in the market, that comes filled with preserves, condiments or whatever.

Some other types of jars and lids will, and some won’t, so a link to a google image would be helpful here before offering advice if these jars other than a mason jar with a 2-part lid would work or not.

Thank you for replying. by 1 part jar I mean that the lid can’t separate into the cover and the screw on part, the lid comes as one whole piece(like a screw on lid)
And this is what I mean by vacuumed sealed jars- goo.gl/jKfTh

@bonimeo The links do not work for me.

Have you looked on Amazon or other shopping sites? They should be easy to order.

Thanks for the links, like @john.jcb, only one of them worked for me though. The first one came up and it appears that this is what is being described for mason jars

The second link lead to a help page about google maps crashing.

In regards to the 1-piece lids: Canning is possible with the mason jars and the 1-piece lids. Just don’t screw the lid on too tight (no different than a 2-piece lid). The main reason for the 2-piece lids is cost and resources, in an ideal world, the lid insert (flat part) gets replaced after every use in water bath or pressure canning, the bands (screw down part) gets re-used over and over. A pack of 10 lid inserts is very cheap in the US. Keeping the logic of the “only use the seal once”, the 1-piece lids get expensive if you are canning a lot of things year after year. I’ve used 1- piece lids for canned stuff that I’ll be giving away and I know it will only get used once.

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Thank You Very Much

I plan on cooking everything that will fill a mason jar without voids (or where enough liquid to fill the voids would be acceptable) in jars and not bags. I really don’t like the long term contact with plastic under elevated temperatures. Plus, of course, we are discarding vastly too much plastic already (not a concern for plastics that are recycled). If enough liquid to fill the voids (to ensure solid heat conduction) would be unacceptable then, yeah, you’d really need a plastic bag for solid contact with the water.

Mason jars are made to withstand higher temperatures than you get in sous vide cooking and far higher pressures as well. The seals should work well submerged IF properly used. The only potential problem is if the contents heat up and then later cool down (which should not happen as the jars should be removed when the cooking ends) which could cause a relative vacuum in the jar which could suck in water IF the seal wasn’t properly applied. Mason jar seals are designed to seal a full vacuum perfectly for many years so only a damaged lid or improper use could cause a problem. Sous vides only operate at temperatures below boiling (and most don’t even get all that close to it) so even if a jar was tightly sealed there should not be any danger of explosion.

Is it really necessary to completely submerge the jars? If the part of the jar filled with food was completely below water level, the only part of the food failing to draw heat directly from conduction would be the center of the top of the food. But with all of the rest of it absorbing heat very efficiently thru conduction, the slight lag in temperature gain near the center of the top of the food would be pretty insignificant, IMHO and highly unlikely to have any discernible effect. It would get just as warm as all the rest except perhaps a very short time behind it. Since sous vide cooking allows highly variable extensions of time past the minimum just adding a bit to the minimum time would completely compensate for any difference PROVIDED that there was a lid over the container. Without a lid to keep warm the air around the part of the jar above water, maybe there might be a continuous slight temperature difference. And that could be a problem in sous vide cooking.

Just My Heretical Opinion

PS RE one part mason jar lids: they are designed to hold vacuums under the same pressures and time periods as the regular lids. The one important difference is that with the one jar lids you cannot test the quality of the seal the same way as you do with bands and lids (by taking off the band and seeing if the lid still holds firmly). But just a bit of care of checking the lids for any damage or corrosion and taking care in tightening them firmly should be adequate. You don’t plan on relying on the vacuum for up to decades as with canning and very slight leaks are not going to be a major and probably not even a noticeable problem whereas slight leaks in canning can have literally fatal result (which is why mason jars are really heavily OVER engineered for use in sous vides!)

Outlier - Erratum: Mason jars are NOT engineered for sous vide cooking, period. They are engineered for Pressure Cooking or water baths at high temperatures. On the other hand, sous vide cooking relies on the absence of air while submerged under mildly hot water. A very different approach.

I was talking about using mason jars for [the stresses encountered in] sous vide, not for canning. Exact same temperatures and almost exactly the same time (see following discussion), only the container would be different… Mason jars are over engineered for sous vides. What that means is that, while they are not engineered for the purpose of sous vide cooking, the specifications for canning they were explicitly engineered for are far more demanding than what is required for sous vide. That’s what I meant by “over engineered”.

Canning is done at much higher temperatures than sous vides, none of which go to such high temperatures. Canning also creates pretty much of a complete vacuum in the space above the food and sous vides inherently can’t create remotely as strong a vacuum. Sous vides can only heat air to expand and drive some (but not all) of it out. But canning creates steam and while a small bit of steam also remains in the jar, when it cools it reduces in volume much more than air (due to condensation) and thus leaves a much lower pressure. On both temperature and vacuum the stresses that mason jars are engineered to withstand are much higher than a sous vide can generate.

Canning is tottally different from sous vide processing but I was not talking about using a sous vide for canning. I was talking about using mason jars as containers for sous vide cooking.

Given the long periods of time involved, the difference in the heat conductivity of glass and of a plastic bag will not have any significant effect. Because mason jars are about 3 1/2" square, the heat will have to travel a bit farther to reach the center. But not as much as you’d think because as it goes inwards the width of the front shrinks (because the heat front coming in from both sides makes it along the diagonals. The result is that the heat front gets narrower and therefore travels faster. The result is that the time it would take the heat front to reach the center of a 1 quart/liter mason jar is about the same it would for a bag about an inch and a half thick. I’m just starting out in sous vide cooking but I believe that an inch and a half thick or more is very common for the contents of sous vide bags. Sous vide bags are so wide that the heat wave coming in from the edges have no effect on the time it takes the wave from the sides to reach the center (at least near the middle of the bag. So I’d argue that the time to heat the center of a mason jar would be about the same as the time for the center of a bag about 1 1/5 to 2 inches. IF I can ever get the low water alarm from blocking all attempts to cook I will actually test this (using temperature probes to the center).

Of course the downside from some points of view is that mason jars are totally reusable whereas plastic bags are usually used only once and therefore are a source of significant additional sales.
If I can ever get my low-water alarm from inappropriately going off and blocking every attempt at cooking, I will post observations on I will mason jars work for sous vide. None of the suggestions Enola support made in their reply to my first email worked and I’m still waiting for a reply to the email I sent them last weekend.

Does anyone have any suggestions about what to do about the low-water alarm going off despite the water level being only a half inch below the maximum line, the outlet pointed directly away from the wall of the container, there being a couple of inches of free space below the end cap and having tried multiple times resetting the ANOVA and using both the manual approach and two different smart phones (and deleting and reinstalling the app on both multiple times)? Both smartphones successfully connected and set both the time and temperature but, just as when doing it manually, a second or two after pushing the play button to start the low water alarm goes on and neither the circulation nor heat ever do. (also drying the disassembled Anova thoroughly (12+ hours in a very warm and dry room) between every attempt)

Do you cover the container? I started getting erratic behaviour on occasion until I began covering the pot with some spare foil coated bubble wrap (aka Reflectix) to contain the water vapour. I noticed it tended to happen more with higher temperatures often found with mason jar cooking. Worth a try.

I appreciate the suggestion. However that cannot possibly be the problem in my case, because I start with tap temperature water (because I’m just testing the device – I plan on starting with preheated water save time When I actually cook) and the heater and circulator don’t even have time to go on before the low-water alarm goes off and prevents that.

It’s possible that the real problem is that the circulator motor or Heating element or defective or have a faulty connection in the low-water alarm goes off when one of them is not working. I still have not received a reply from my second email to ANOVA support informing them that their first set of suggestions did not work. I plan on talking to them live today in the perhaps unlikely event I can get to them given the probable pre-Thanksgiving rush. It looks very doubtful that I will be able to use my Anova to prepare anything for Thanksgiving. So much for impressing the relatives with sous vide cooking.

Has anyone used jars OTHER THAN Mason jars? (Example: Anchor Hocking True Seal.)

I have seen instances of people using Weck jars, the kind with the glass clip on lids.

But mostly folk use the canning jars with the 2 part lids.