Bernardin was started by Alfred Louis Bernardin in 1881 in Evansville, Indiana. The company invented two famous bottle caps: the wire one still used today to hold champagne corks on, and, the standard beer and pop bottle cap also still in use today. In 1994, the company became a part of what is now the Newell Corporation, joining Ball, Kerr and Golden Harvest as a sister company.
Bernardin’s public face is Executive Chef Emerie Brine, which could explain why Bernardin’s home canning recipes often have that gourmet flair to them. In 2016, Ball introduced many of those Bernardin elements into its All New book.
Overview of Bernardin
Bernardin is the brand name under which Newell (formerly Jarden) distributes its home canning products in Canada: similar products and branding appearance appear in the States under the Ball name. The two are sister companies. In fact, the Newell Corporation owns the four leading (as of 2017) home preserving supplies and equipment companies in North America: Ball, Bernardin, Golden Harvest and Kerr.
All the supplies sold with the Bernardin name on them have been made in the States since 2001. ”Alltrista shut Bernardin’s lid plant in Toronto in the fall of 2001 and consolidated production at its Muncie, Ind., plant.” Chipello, Christopher J. Canadians Blow Their Tops As Canning Lids Get the Can. Wall Street Journal. 21 January 2003. Accessed March 2015 at https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB1043099833887518344
Many times, the packaging on a box will say “Bernardin” while the actual item itself will have “Ball” stamped on it.
Bernardin continues to produce in Canada a home canning recipe book under the Bernardin name, called the “Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving.”
Bernardin is not associated with the New York restaurant called “Le Bernardin.”
Bernardin as a reputable source for safe canning
Bernardin’s canning guides follow USDA standards, meeting or exceeding them.
The back of Bernardin’s “Guide to Home Preserving” (2013 edition), says, “Heat processing home canning information and recommendations contained in the book conform to guidelines established by food authorities in Canada and the United States (USDA) at the time of publication.” Bernardin has its own testing facilities to ensure recipes meet USDA standards.
Bernardin staff write the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving” for the American market. The lead writer is Judi Kingry, who is an American now living in Canada.
Not many American home canners are as aware of Bernardin as Canadians naturally are as a reliable source of safe guidance, but as some highly-knowledgeable American home canners have said, Bernardin is a Newell company, and if we can’t trust Newell guidance, we are all in a lot of trouble.
Some of Bernardin’s canning recommendations are more conservative than the USDA. For instance:
(1) they require lemon juice be added to applesauce for safety:
Adding sugar to applesauce is optional…. However, lemon juice is not an optional addition. Lemon juice is added … to assure the acidity of the finished product, since different varieties and harvesting conditions can produce apples of lower acidity.”  Kingry, Judi and Lauren Devine. Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Robert Rose Inc. 2015. Page 182. Note, though, that Bernardin doesn’t call for lemon juice when canning apple slices on their own. Perhaps it was density issues about the mashed apple that concerned them. Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Bernardin Ltd. 2013, page 38.
(2) Bernardin also recommends against canning green tomatoes alone, for healthy safety reasons:
While green (unripe) tomatoes can be safely used as an ingredient in many home canning recipes, we don’t recommend preserving them as a stand-alone item. Green tomatoes contain a compound called solanine, which can be toxic if consumed in large amounts. Moreover, solanine — like other alkaloids, such as caffeine — contributes an astringent taste to foods that must be balanced by sweeter fruits, vegetables or sugar. The darker the green, the higher the tomato’s solanine content. The safest strategy is to use only pale green tomatoes or those tinged with red. If you have a supply of green tomatoes, you can ripen them considerably by placing them in a brown paper bag or between layers of newspaper until the intense green pales.”  Bernardin Complete, Page 352.
One thing to note about Bernardin is that they do give a processing time for water-bathed canned tomato products packed in water with added acid for 1.5 litre (1 1/2 US quart) jars. Generally any jar size larger than 1 litre (1 US quart) is verboten these days, but Bernardin has tested times for the slightly larger size:
1.5 litre jars are available only in Canada. These jars may be used to process tomatoes in a boiling-water canner, but only in those recipes for which a specific time is stated for this size of jar. 1.5 L jars are not recommended for processing tomatoes or any food in a pressure canner, as suitable heat processing studies to determine safe processing times have not been established.”  Kingry, Judi and Lauren Devine. Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Robert Rose Inc. 2015. Page 355.
Why does Newell retain the Bernardin name and not just label it all Ball?
Newell may be retaining the Bernardin name for the following reasons:
- The preserving jars are adjusted to metric sizes for the Canadian market. In effect, the “pint” jar sold in Canada is actually about 2 tablespoons larger than the pint jars Jarden sells in the States (500 ml in Canada vs 473 ml in the States; 1 tablespoon is 15 ml). Branding the jars with a different name entirely would help to keep the metric sizes separate from the smaller jars that the Americans get;
- The Bernardin books are dual metric and imperial measures — handy for those who like metric. Sadly and irritatingly though, some say, Bernardin has adopted the faux American metric of measuring solid ingredients such as chopped veg, sugar, etc, in ml, instead of in weight as real metric actually would.
Where is Bernardin?
Bernardin is located in Newell’s industrial complex in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.
How to contact Bernardin
Miscellaneous Tips and Tricks from Bernardin
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||”Alltrista shut Bernardin’s lid plant in Toronto in the fall of 2001 and consolidated production at its Muncie, Ind., plant.” Chipello, Christopher J. Canadians Blow Their Tops As Canning Lids Get the Can. Wall Street Journal. 21 January 2003. Accessed March 2015 at https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB1043099833887518344|
|2.||↑||Kingry, Judi and Lauren Devine. Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Robert Rose Inc. 2015. Page 182.|
|3.||↑||Note, though, that Bernardin doesn’t call for lemon juice when canning apple slices on their own. Perhaps it was density issues about the mashed apple that concerned them. Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Bernardin Ltd. 2013, page 38.|
|4.||↑||Bernardin Complete, Page 352.|
|5.||↑||Kingry, Judi and Lauren Devine. Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Robert Rose Inc. 2015. Page 355.|
|6.||↑||The 1 litre is actually labelled as 946 ml, which is exactly 1 US quart|