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What is a Jar Lifter?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2016
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Just about anyone who has ever been involved in the home canning of fruits and vegetables are familiar with a jar lifter. Designed as a means of safely removing jars from a canner or pressure cooker, the jar lifter is a metallic set of tongs that include heat resistant coatings to protect the fingers. Generally, a jar lifter is constructed to allow an easy grip of either the lid on the jar or as a means of gripping the body of the glass jar. Here is some more information on how to use a jar lifter, as well as where to purchase one.

Hot water is an essential tool in the canning process. Glass jars are usually heated and sterilized in the canner before placing cooked fruits or vegetables into the jars. Obviously, the jars will be extremely hot to the touch. Rather than gripping the wet jar with an oven mitt, it is much safer to use a jar lifter. Generally, the jar lifter is made of a heavy metal that can withstand the heat, such as tempered steel. In order to protect the hands of the user, there is usually some sort of coating found on the arms of the jar lifter.

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Models from the late 19th century and early 20th century tended to use arms that were constructed of wood that had been sealed for heat resistance, with tongs attached to the wood. Modern jar lifters are normally made completely of steel and will include a strong and durable synthetic coating over the body of the jar lifter to prevent the chance of burns.

Using a jar lifter is a fairly straightforward process. When canning fruit or vegetables, sterilize the jars first. After sterilization, remove the jars from the water with the use of the jar lifter. This is accomplished by using the lifter to grip the sides of each jar. The coating on the jar lifter helps to create a solid grip, in spite of the fact that the glass is wet. After filling the jar and screwing the lid into place, use the jar lifter to pick up the jar and return it to the canner. Gripping the sides of the lid makes it easy to maneuver the jar back into place. When it is time to remove the jar of canned fruit or vegetables from the water, simply use the jar lifter to grip the sides of the jar or the lid and transfer the finished product to a spot for cooling and drying.

Purchasing a jar lifter is usually an easy task. Many hardware stores will carry several different sizes of the jar lifter, often to match the sizes of the canners that are carried in stock. Kitchen specialty shops are another option, although the models of the jar lifter found in these retail shops may be a little more expensive. For persons who life in the country, the jar lifter and other canning supplies are often found at seed and county exchange stores. Generally, the jar lifter does not cost a great deal of money, although there are some models that may be rather costly. A good rule of thumb is to remember that you should never have to pay more for a jar lifter than the cost of a set of twelve canning jars. When it comes to canning fruits and vegetables, a jar lifter is a great little tool to have around the kitchen.

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