Country Living Series

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Miscellaneous pix

Washing eggs. I sell eggs to our local feedstore in exchange for credit on chicken feed, but the fussy buyers don't like a speck o' dirt on the eggs. And believe me, in winter there's a lot of dirt. So I wash the eggs.

Chicken footprints in the snow. I thought it looked like something out of Dinotopia.

Can't help it. It's just so durn cute how she crams herself into that chair...

I've been wanting to can some soup in order to have some pre-made meals handy, so I washed the jars...

...and made a double batch of navy bean soup.

But the double batch only filled eight pint jars. My canner holds eighteen pint jars. So I canned up some chili and some split pea soup that had been hanging around the freezer. Oh, and just one jar's worth of leftover spaghetti sauce from the fridge. When canning a mixed batch like this, go with the item that requires the longest canning time. In this case, these spent 75 minutes in the canner.

A note on that little half-pint jar of chili. I reused the lid. What I mean is, canning lids are supposed to be used just once and then discarded. I often keep used canning lids because I use canning jars to store dried stuff, and a used lid is fine for that. But somewhere I heard that you can re-use lids to pressure can. I've been experimenting a bit, and while I won't say it's gospel, I have not yet had a failure (meaning, the jar didn't seal) with a used lid. I'm careful not to bend a lid when I remove it from a jar so it has the potential to be re-used.

If this works - meaning, if I can re-use my lids at least once - this effectively doubles my stash of lids. Whoo-hoo!

I'll experiment with triple-using lids too, as the opportunity arises...


  1. I've read that if you boil used canning lids for 10 minutes in water with 1T of baking soda, they will work just fine. Never tried it though.

  2. Hello Patrice,

    Here's something you might be interested in that we use all the time. We dry foods and then we put them in Mason jars as you do. Then we vacuum out the air using a Pump N Seal gadget.

    You have to make a tiny hole in the jar lid and put a piece of tape over the hole, then you pump out the air. It draws the lid down tight over the jar rim and seals it up good.

    Basically, you keep an eye on the lid, and if it "pops" back up you know the seal didn't take.

    You have to be careful when sealing liquids not to pour in the liquid too close to the top of the jar. The vacuum will draw the liquid up, and sometimes it even gets into the pump. You don't want to do that!

    We don't use it for long-term liquid storage of course. We use it to pump the air out of the leftover healthy carrot and green juices that my wife makes that we put in jars for using the same day or, at the latest, the very next day. As you know, oxidation is one of the main enemies of fresh juices.

    This gadget is about $29 I think, but I'm betting you can get one cheaper from eBay or somewhere like that.


  3. Oooh, boiling canning lids with baking soda - I'll have to give that a try!

    And Dave, I managed to find one of those vacuum thingies at a yard sale. Haven't tried it yet, but I never thought to use it with canning jars for dried stuff. Great idea.

    - Patrice

  4. When I teach canning classes I warn people not to reuse lids because in the process of removing them from canning jars a small dent needs to be created to release the vacuum seal. Sometimes you can not see the dent and think the lid is reuseable but it is there. I just don't have faith that boiling lids in baking soda will be able to take care of the dent in the seal. Used again they might not seal adequately. These days with new bacteria mutating all the time I want my food as safe as possible. Our Moms and Grandmas had fewer oogie boogies (scientific word for bacteria and viruses)to contend with.
    I suggest you mark used lids with a magic marker and use them for dry good or leftovers that will be stored for shorter periods of time.

    I am wondering if I could shingle my roof with them? Just kidding.

  5. My mom reuses lids almost indefinitely if they look o.k. Only occasionally does a jar not seal. In those instances, unsealed jars simply become dinner or dessert in the next couple days.

  6. I don't think there is such a thing as *new* bacterium, I think it's a matter of, we know about them now, but they didn't know about them then.

    Just my two cents.

    My grandmother always reused her lids. I can't help but think the new cautions about reusing lids is more of "nanny" telling us what to do because there were a few people who didn't bother to check that the seal was good, ate the tainted canned good and got sick.


  7. Nothing like commenting on an old post, but I am slowly working my way through the archives.

    I ran across a reference to these lids in a Countryside article and they seem like a good investment.

    Re-usable canning lids...