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This article was updated on 1st Oct 2015 I have found some reasonably priced preserving jars called frutta del prato (that's the name on the lid) which are not only fair quality but don’t look too bad either, therefore, as give-aways they make a great gift. I will tell more about these jars shortly after I have my gripe about Mason jars so please bear with me…

Something which has really annoyed me over the years when it comes to preserving food like jams, pickles, chutneys, etc, is the expense and sometimes lack of availability of preserving jars.

It seems like just because preserving your own food is cheap and easy along comes a trend and product to make it expensive to do.

Frutta del prato cheap preserving jar good value (image above)

If you Google preserving jars it's likely you'll find someone or some article singing the praises of Mason jars like it's the only jar you're allowed to use for storing your preserves. Trouble is, this holy trendy Mason jar is as expensive as sin!

So why are Mason jars so expensive? Is it because they are just such a well-made glass jar with its incredibly ingenious two piece lid or is it a con? I believe Mason jars are expensive because they are trendy not because they are good and people who buy them are ripping themselves off because there are other much cheaper jar solutions which work just as well.

So why are they trendy then? Probably due to some dominant players in the cooking and preserving industry hard selling Mason jars to their adoring fans like it’s the jar you just have to use. Then, down the promo chain these so called experts get quoted and written about how they only use Mason jars and before you know it you’re on the outer if you aren’t using them.

Mason jars are a pretty good product (I’m not saying otherwise) but at Spotlight prices – they’ve got to be kidding! We go through the trouble of growing our own produce, making our own preserves, and then all the cost savings is taken up by an expensive glass jar with a red checker lid. That’s just not cricket…

So I’ve been on a quest to find a better way of bottling my preserves which not only works but is also much cheaper. Yes, I do collect glass jars and reuse them until the lid is stuffed and that works ok but trying to collect glass jars and save the lids isn’t the most reliable way to ensure I have enough jars available on bottling day.

Therefore, I’ve been looking for glass jars that I can buy commercially which do the job but are also cheap to buy. Honestly, I didn’t have to look too far and I found a pile of cheap preserving jars (300 mil) at my local dollar shop in this case it was Sam’s Warehouse.

Now not everything a person buys from these outlets are top quality but I thought I should give these jars a try simply because the selling price was very reasonable! I could buy a pack of 12 x 300 mil preserving jars for $12.99 or $1.08 per jar – lids and all.

Great alternative preserving jar to save money (image above)

On the other hand, Mason jars at my local Spotlight store sell for $16.99 per set of 6 x 250 mil jars or $2.83 per jar. Just a set of 6 lids for Mason jars cost $7.99 or $1.33 per lid – per lid, no joke…

The price difference between the “no name” jars (50 mil larger) and a Mason jar couldn’t be more stark. This means a home-made preserve already costs nearly $3 before the jar gets even filled and when you think how much a standard preserve costs in the supermarket (about $3 – $4) suddenly home-made preserves are becoming an expensive exercise.

However, at just over a dollar a jar for the “no name - frutta del prato” brand, home-made preserves seem like a pretty good option especially as gifts. In my mind, the sums added up and I knew Mason jars were not for me.

But how do the much cheaper brand preserving jars perform against the acclaimed Mason jars? Well, I can say from the start both the no name jars and Manson jars I've seen are made in China (probably at the same factory) so there’s no manufacturing advantages in this case.

I’ve used both jars with hot and cold preserves and have found no significant difference in make quality or in sealing of the lids. In fact, I prefer the one piece lids on the cheaper jars over the two piece lids on the Mason jars because I find the two piece lids fiddly and annoying to use in a practical sense whereas with a one piece lid when you remove it there’s nothing else to remove – if you know what I mean.

One of the other funny things I have noticed at my local Spotlight store is they don’t sell the cheaper jars but they do sell replacement lids for the cheaper frutta del prato jars (image right) at… wait for it… $1.00 per lid which is cheaper than Mason jar lids but still expensive. Why would anyone buy lids at a dollar each when they could buy the full jar and lid for an extra 8 cents? Not me Freddy.   

Nope, I do think Mason jars are one big con job and I’ll never buy another set – ever! From now on, my preserving jars will be el cheapo dollar shop purchases and if I want to make them look all cute for gifts there’s plenty of crafty ways to dress-up a plain jar – my wife’s great at it.

So if you are on the hunt for a better bargain on your preserving jars then checkout your local dollar shop and buy some of the no name cheaper varieties like the lid named frutta del prato rather than the overrated Mason jars, honestly, it won’t cost much and you’ve got nothing to lose by giving them a go.

If you’d like to chat more about preserving jars or just preserving food in general, then pop over to our forum at Self Sufficient Culture and in the preserving section is where we can discuss this subject in depth.

Edit: Even though I do stand by my article - I recommend you scroll down and read the comments about others opinions on these cheaper jars because there are obviously people out there with experience in preserving jars and they make a very good argument against the cheaper types so it's worth reading their view. May I say, thanks for the input and if you wish to share your experience or views please do so!  

Mark Valencia - Editor SSM

Look, and see the Earth through her eyes...

Mark Valencia

Mark is the Founder of Self Sufficient Me - you can read more on our About Page and subscribe to his YouTube Channel here.

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Comments (12)

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Thank You Patti ... I do a lot of canning from our garden and I was Actually just given a lot of canning Jars Most Mason Ball or Kerr i would say there are about 20 or so jars from a friend that's neighbor moved... I did notice this One
Frutta...

Thank You Patti ... I do a lot of canning from our garden and I was Actually just given a lot of canning Jars Most Mason Ball or Kerr i would say there are about 20 or so jars from a friend that's neighbor moved... I did notice this One
Frutta del prato in the bunch so I said let me google that and see if it is a safe save for canning It all Came back positive until I read your reply... Now I will take your advice & beware of this product I have plenty other jars to can so I will put this aside I do have a Screw on top that fits snugly so will use this as I do to store contents in fridge ...:tongue: Thank You Again Dear !!!
P.S. FYI: I prefer Ball Mason Jars also & Can Get a 12 Pack wide mouth Quarts w/ Lids for 11.00 at the Dollar General when they are in season ... Jams & Pints Much less ...

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Thanks Patty for your advice you obviously have a lot of experience in canning and comments from people like you are gold!

Cheers :smile:

Comment was last edited about 3 years ago by Mark Valencia Mark Valencia
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Don't cheap out on your lids. That might be the undoing of a lot of effort you put into the canning you do. Just my two cents.

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While these jars are less costly.....IF someone gives you some jars for canning without lids AND you have only used Mason jars and you try a ring and lid YOU WILL lose whatever you attempt to can in these frutta del prato jars SO buyers beware...

While these jars are less costly.....IF someone gives you some jars for canning without lids AND you have only used Mason jars and you try a ring and lid YOU WILL lose whatever you attempt to can in these frutta del prato jars SO buyers beware is all I have to say. We lost a jar of juice because we obviously do not look all over jars given to us for odd stuff........WE will from here on out and we have tossed this one jar we had.

NOW are you aware that Classico Italian Sauces are jarred in Mason Jars? They are and THEY are canning safe. They use a regular Mason Ring and Lid. I reuse my rings until they get misshapen or look weird BUT I always changes my lids each time I can.

That's my take on these lesser costly jars.

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Hi Stacey, thanks for the info and it certainly does help! Savings like this in storage costs makes the end result of homemade preserves all the more sweeter. Cheers

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Hi there, I have been buying lids which appears to be a universal size for 36cents each from COSPACK on Lewis rd, Wantirna Vic. I hope this helps! No min order either to go in and collect (not sure of online prices though)

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Hi Paul, thanks for the info - $1 for a pint jar! OMG that's GREAT I wish I could find the pint jars here. Unfortunately, I can't give you an answer on replacement lids but if someone knows about or could invent some kind of universal lid to fit...

Hi Paul, thanks for the info - $1 for a pint jar! OMG that's GREAT I wish I could find the pint jars here. Unfortunately, I can't give you an answer on replacement lids but if someone knows about or could invent some kind of universal lid to fit most jars they would make a fortune.

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Frutta del prato are made by DALIAN XY HOUSEWARE CO.,LTD. in Dalian China. 30,000 minimum order @ 19 cents a pop. they advertise on Alibaba.com, their own website is chinese only! I can get them here in Thailand for about a dollar a pint jar, i'm...

Frutta del prato are made by DALIAN XY HOUSEWARE CO.,LTD. in Dalian China. 30,000 minimum order @ 19 cents a pop. they advertise on Alibaba.com, their own website is chinese only! I can get them here in Thailand for about a dollar a pint jar, i'm off to a bottle supplier to see if i can get replacement lids. I can get Ball jars out here $3 for a pint, $3.50 for a quart but have to import lids. if i can get replacement lids here ill save a fortune! can anyone tell me of cheap lids to fit a ball jar? -

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Those larger jars are a good size! Yes, I agree it's what's inside the jar that counts and paying too much for jars just adds extra cost unnecessarily. Thanks for commenting Jodie

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I got some from woolies for my beetroot, they were $2.50 each. My mum used the little ones for her relish, I'll be getting them. I won't pay a fortune for jars that inevitably get given away, and it's what's inside the jar that's special.

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