Should you use your canning rings (aka screw bands) as mini baking dishes to bake in?
We can see at least two aspects to consider:
- Food safety: is the metal (or whatever coating the metal might have on it) safe to be in direct contact with food? After all, canning rings are not designed to be in contact with food — that’s why you never have to worry about sterilizing them.
- Canning ring safety: after their being used in dry heat, will they still function well for their main gig, which is holding canning lids securely with the right balance of loose and tight during the canning process, or, will the dry heat impact their integrity, perhaps warping them?
In any event, the answer depends on whom you ask, it seems.
Whom did we ask about baking in canning rings
We asked both Ball and Bernardin. The chances are extremely high that both their canning rings come off the same production line.
The question we asked was,
It’s become quite ‘hip’ to bake in your canning jar screw bands. Is this something you support as being food safe, or, is it maybe something you would recommend against?”
Ball said, “no.”
Although this looks cool, we advise that people do not bake in the screw bands because they have not been tested for baking. The bands were not made for that kind of heat.”1
Bernardin said, “yes.”
Baking using only the screw bands is ok, but if using the lid / flat disc, this could affect the underside / sealant. And of course, jars in oven is always a no.”2
What if you are still going to do it anyway
From a baking quality point of view, be aware that on the inner surface of the canning ring, there are tons of little grooves designed specially to grip and hold onto something. That includes any dough or substance you put inside of there. So, the chances of what you are attempting to bake in the canning ring becoming stuck can be quite high.
Consequently, always spray the inside of the canning rings extremely well with cooking spray.
And like good bread pans, it’s probably best to never wash them unless food gets stuck to them and they need to be soaked and scrubbed (or just toss them at that point.) Instead, if you use them for something such as rolls or buns, consider using the same ones over and over and let them build up a stick proof “finish” as you would with a bread pan. Store them in a sealed plastic baggie. And if using the canning rings in an oven does impact the integrity of the canning rings for canning, storing the “baking ones” that way would have the side benefit of keeping them separate.
In our view one key thing to think of is perhaps that the grooves inside a canning ring really are designed to catch, grip and hold onto stuff. No one would actually pay money for any other baking dish that would do that: all other baking dishes are smooth sided, for a reason.
The other is the metal. Some bloggers who would rail on against cooking in aluminum or microwaving in plastic are merrily baking away in these rings without knowing the composition of them or their coating.
That being said, we get that they can be the ideal size for some things for occasional use.
And are Ball and Bernardin’s answers based on food safety, or canning ring integrity? And which answer is the one to go with?
We’ve presented the issues to think of, and the answers we got: the decision is over to you.