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Never, Ever Use Mason Jars for Baking and Avoid This Dangerous Problem

If you've spend a few minutes on the popular pinning site, Pinterest, there's no doubt you have come across a plethora of mason jar baking recipes. From chicken pot pie to quick bread and even cinnamon rolls, cute and fun individual meals are featured in the glass jars. And however aesthetically pleasing it may look (yes, we totally think they are so cute) it seems that baking in these jars are unsafe and can cause a lot of harm. When you bake in mason jars, you run the risk of a dangerous problem.

It seems to make sense to cook in a mason jar. In fact, back in the 1920s, oven canning was the newest trend in the canning world. It seemed like the easiest way to preserve the food getting canned without dealing with a hot water bath. However research showed that oven temperatures never got as hot to destroy all of the bacteria in the jars. According to Healthy Canning:

Using the oven method is NOT a recommended method of canning for green beans or any other food. It is dangerous because dry heat is slow to penetrate into jars (so recommended process times would not be enough), temperatures inside ovens vary (so a standard process time would be indeterminable), and no reliable, research-based safe process times have been developed for oven canning.

But that wasn't all. Sometimes the jars would get too hot and just explode. Healthy Canning also noted how one member of their canning group shared a story about her mother's experience with oven canning. The jar exploded, sending her mother to the hospital for two months.

Why You Should Never Cook in a Mason Jar

So while it's unsafe to can in the oven, it's also risky to bake in mason jars. Unlike glass baking dishes like Pyrex which are produced with tempered glass made to withstand heat, canning jars are made with annealed glass. Annealed glass tends to break more easily due to thermal shock. Like pouring boiling water over ice. The ice immediately shatters and pops.

The same principal is applied to glass. If the oven gets hot too rapidly the jars will shatter and pop. And unlike safety glass which breaks into chunks, annealed glass sprays like splinters which can lead to injury. 

Our friends at Ball and Kerr also weigh in on the matter:

"We do not recommend baking in any size or shape of Ball or Kerr canning jars. The glass used for Ball and Kerr canning jars is not tempered for oven use and is not meant to be used in baking projects. The jars are safe to use for home canning recipes, cold or room temperature food storage, crafting, and cold beverages. The jars should not be used as bakeware, as most bakeware is tempered and can withstand greater temperature differentials."

Not all is lost though. There are hundreds of mason jar recipes that you can create that are not baked in the oven. Take a look at some of our favorites:

1. No Bake Key Lime Pie

Make up this classic Floridian dessert by layering the crust and filling it in a mason jar. Top the pie with some whipped topping (like cool whip) and a sliced key lime.

Get the recipe here. 

2. S'mores in a Jar

If you are craving the girl scout classic, this dessert fits the bill. Whip up a chocolate ganache using Hershey's chocolate and top this parfait with toasted marshmallows. Campfire not included.

Get the recipe here.

3. Watermelon Cake

Aren't these watermelon cakes just darling? The secret to making these mason jar cakes is baking the cakes in a sheet pan then cutting them into circle before placing them in the jars. It's just like baking a cake in a mason jar without the risk!

Get the recipe here. 

4. Tiramisu in a Jar

Just like the watermelon cakes, this Tiramisu bakes its angel food cake in a sheet pan then cuts it to fit. This recipe also uses kahlua for an extra special kick.

Get the recipe here. 

5. Strawberry Shortcakes 

Light and fluffy, these pint-size strawberry shortcakes are made with homemade shortcake and sliced strawberries.

Get the recipe here. 
wide-open-eats-video-channelThis article was originally published on June 27, 2018.

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