Would that we all purchased stock in Mason jars long ago. Is there any storm that this simple product can’t weather? Amid a global health crisis that effectively killed the wedding industry—the arena in which Mason jars have enjoyed ubiquity to the point of becoming a punchline—the quarantine suddenly forced us all indoors, leading to a rise in kitchen experimentation. The humble art of canning, like sourdough before it, took off like a rocket. Faced with a chance to pivot, Mason jars simply shed their adorable burlap bows and went from wedding decor back to utility item all over again. It’s the circle of life, and it’s beautiful. But now CNN reports that everyone’s quarantine canning habits have led to a nationwide Mason jar shortage.
“There’s so many more people canning this year than have ever canned,” Oregon food preservation hotline coordinator Nellie Oehler told CNN. “We have seen a big upswing in new people trying to can.”
Sales of Mason jars have risen sharply throughout the pandemic and simply haven’t come down, and the shortage has to do in part with the lids. While the glass jars themselves can be washed and reused over and over, the two-part lid can only be used in the canning process once; after the seal is broken on a canned item, it’s unsanitary and dangerous to use the same lid again. Don’t risk botulism in the name of your new favorite homesteading hobby.
“The demand has resulted in supply constraints, extended lead times and recently limited product availability at stores and online,” said a spokesperson for Newell Brands, a manufacturer of canning jars. “We have increased glass production, found additional lid manufacturers and expanded our pack out locations to replenish stock as quickly as possible.”
Until the supply of Mason jars floweth once more, CNN suggests some alternative methods for preserving food, like dehydrating. Our suggestion: drive up to any charming country barn you can find and ask if any happy couples have left behind pallets full of centerpieces lately.