Keeping your freezer filled with homemade broth is a fantastic way to keep your home stocked with healthy convenience food. But after stewing and brewing all that broth, you need a simple, nontoxic way to store it.
Plastic containers can work fine in a pinch, but plastic food storage does come with some concerns about leeching chemicals. Pressure canning the broth in glass jars in another option, but requires more work and attention.
Filling up a glass jar and popping it in the freezer, though? Now that’s a whole lot simpler. And we like simple around here, don’t we busy mommas?
But here’s the thing with freezing in glass: it’s really, really easy to end up with broken jars if you aren’t careful.
In fact, I was freezing in glass for the longest time, often finding myself disappointed because I’d open the freezer and find yet another precious mason jar cracked and broken, even though I thought I did everything right.
Turns out I wasn’t doing everything right, and once I started following these 5 tips, I stopped finding broken jars.
The next time you’ve got a batch of broth to freeze, or maybe even a double recipe of soup, follow these simple steps and enjoy a freezer full of unbroken glass jars!
Disclosure: I’ve included affiliate links in this post for products that can help you freeze in glass jars more easily. Your cost through these links is never increased though I can earn a commission on purchases. Thanks!
Simple Tips for Freezing in Glass
1. Cool Your Broth
A great place to start is to cool your broth before ladling into the jars, then completely cool the jars of broth in the fridge before freezing.
This does two things:
- It won’t shock the jars when you fill them with broth (that means giving them such a huge temperature change that the glass shatters), and
- You won’t burn yourself by ladling hot broth into jars and spilling on yourself. Not that such a thing could ever happen in my kitchen.
2. Fill With Less Broth Than You Think
This is a really easy mistake to make and was my biggest mistake in the past.
I used to leave 1-2 inches of headspace in the jars when filling them up with broth, thinking that there was plenty of room for it to expand while freezing. But most of them would still break and crack. I was stumped.
Turns out that it isn’t the top of the jar you need to be mindful of when filling your jars. It’s the shoulders.
Anytime you freeze in a glass jar that has shoulders, you have to make sure that the broth stays below the shoulders while it freezes and expands. That means that the broth should be 2-3 inches below the shoulders before you stick it in the freezer.
3. Use Wide Mouth Mason Jars
Instead of using regular jars and worrying about the shoulders, you can use wide mouth mason jars.
Bonus tip: many brands of organic or natural peanut butter are sold in wide mouth glass jars, which are perfect for freezing smaller amounts of broth! You can even get the labels and adhesive off of the jars when repurposing them with this simple 2-ingredient cleaning paste.
These wide mouth jars really are the best for freezing broth. Since they lack the shoulders that most jars have, the jar isn’t put under pressure when the broth freezes and expands. I don’t have many of these, but I do reach for them first when I go to freeze broth.
Someone even told me that they stick warm broth right in the freezer in wide mouth jars with nary a glass casualty.
4. Cap Loosely
When jars are tightly capped before freezing, they tend to break more often. If you just loosely place the lids on until the broth is totally frozen, the jars hold up better. (These lids are especially handy when storing food in jars.)
Once the broth is frozen, you can tighten the lids if you remember. It’s not a big deal if you forget, though. I rarely think to do it!
5. Leave Space Between Jars in the Freezer
For some reason, jars that are touching when placed in the freezer seem to break more readily, as well. This problem has another simple solution: just leave a little space between the jars when placing in the freezer.
There are great tips in the comments section, so give them a scan if you want more ideas! Some of my favorites:
- Place your jars in a cardboard box (like the one mason jar sets are sold in) before putting in the freezer. This allows you to easily keep some distance between them and can also be handy if you use a chest freezer. Or use a JarBox, a genius product!
- Slip your jars into clean socks before putting them in the freezer. This prevents them from bumping against each other and breaking that way.
- Try Glasslock storage containers. The glass is tempered, so it’s stronger and better able to handle temperature changes. They are pricier than canning or repurposed jars, but might be an investment you’d like to make since you can also cook with them.
- Stick with jars that are designated as freezer-safe, like these pint-and-a-half wide mouth jars, or use smaller size jars like wide mouth pint, half-pint, and 4-ounce.