Self-Sufficiency Series

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Reusable canning lids

For all of you who are concerned about any of the following (our economic future, our future food sources, "green" living, preparedness, sustainable living), boy do I have a product for you.

As most of you know, I'm an avid canner. I love canning and will can just about anything I can get my hands on. But it's always irked me that canning lids can only be used once, then discarded.

Oh sure, I've experimented with re-using canning lids with a fair amount of success. But the fact remains, canning lids are meant to be discarded. They're not designed for multiple usage.

So when I came to ramping up our preparedness efforts, a potential lack of canning lids became something of an obsession of mine. I found myself compulsively buying lids. I just took a quick inventory and learned I have 76 dozen (912) small-mouth lids, and 56 dozen (672) large mouth lids. In an active year of canning, I'll go through half of those, possibly more. If we're looking at long-term disruptions in our economy, this means I have at most a two-year supply of lids. Panic!


Nonetheless, when I caught wind of reusable canning lids made by a company called Tattler, I'll admit I was skeptical. Too good to be true, folks. That was my thought.


Apparently the genesis of these lids came about in the mid-1970's when the sudden popularity of canning with the back-to-the-land hippies resulted in a severe lid shortage across the country. The Tattler company responded to this crisis by developing a fully reusable lid.

So I emailed the company and requested a sampling of lids. They replied (no kidding) within ten minutes, and in a few days I received a dozen small-mouth and a dozen large-mouth lids to experiment with. I shared half the lids with my friend Enola Gay so we could both put them through the wringer.

The following illustrations demonstrate the directions that accompanied the lids. There are some differences between using disposable lids and using reusable lids.

I chose to can ground beef. Why ground beef? Well, first of all we have tons of it. Second, it's meat, so it requires a high processing time in a pressure canner. And third, it's greasy and nasty and would thus put the maximum amount of stress on the lids.


Browning the ground beef.


Clean jars.


Scalding the lids and rings by pouring near-boiling water over them and keeping them in water until ready for use.


I filled all the jars with meat and boiling water.



The rings should be removed first and allowed to cool for a few minutes.


Wiping the rims. Ground beef is greasy, so the rims need to be wiped carefully.


Removing the lids from the hot water.


The jars are filled, the rims are wiped. Time to put on the lids and rings.


Fitting the gaskets on the lids.


Placing lids (with gaskets) on the jars.


Lids on, ready for rings. The lids feel "thicker" than regular disposable lids when screwing down the rings.


Loosening the ring. The directions for these lids states that the rings must be tightened over the lids, then turned back a quarter-inch. I, uh, had difficulty with this very simple step (explained below).


Lids and rings on, ready to go.


Into the canner.


Once the jars came out of the canner, I immediately tightened the rings so the gaskets would complete the seal. (The jars are HOT so use a towel!) This differs from disposable lids, which don't need tightening and are best left alone for the seal to complete.


I let the jars cool overnight before removing the rings. Turns out I had one failure in this first batch (for reasons explained below).


Gently opening the lids by inserting a butter knife between the gasket and the jar rim.


I tried using a bucket lid lifter and it worked, sort of, but I was afraid I would damage the gasket. The butter knife works better.


I removed all the lids and rings and washed them. Then I put them on the same jars of meat to re-can. The manufacturers recommend flipping the gaskets over after each use so the gaskets wear evenly.

After the meat processed the second time, I happened to be standing next to the canner as the pressure was dropping when I heard a loud bang. Of course I couldn’t open the canner to find out what happened until the pressure had dropped to zero. It turns out one of the lids and ring had popped off, banging into the top of the canner and spewing ground beef everywhere. How could something like this happen? Was the concept of reusable lids too good to be true after all?

Nope. Turns out it was due to "operator error."

Interestingly, both Enola and I misread the directions that came with the lids exactly the same (wrong) way. The directions clearly state that once the rings are in place, they should be turned back a quarter INCH to allow the lids to vent during canning. We BOTH read that as, turn back a quarter TURN. It's like both our brains independently glossed over the actual writing and filled in the wrong information. We were both in our own separate kitchens, too, so it's not like we were collaborating together. (Weird.)

This meant that both Enola and I had failures during our canning attempts. But for pete's sake, that's because the lids were practically rattling on top the jars because we'd both loosened the rings a quarter TURN. The fact that most of the jars sealed despite our blunders is a testimony to how excellent these lids are. Once we corrected our error and only loosened the rings a quarter INCH, our results were perfect.

This is the result of the lid that popped off in the canner. Notice the dent in the ring (facing front) where it slammed into the inside of the canner when it popped off.


By the way, I also experimented with something else. You'll notice in this photo the jar on the left that has a gold lid with masking tape on it? That's an old disposable lid. Just to play around (and, frankly, wondering if I could get away with it), I placed a gasket over a used disposable lid and screwed it down with a ring, just to see what would happen. Well, it didn't seal in the slightest, so DON'T think you can get away with this, LOL.


The Tattler company has a lifetime guarantee on its lids, and says the gaskets can be used for up to twenty years. I interpret this to mean the gaskets can be used about twenty times, assuming a one-year cycle of canning.

Tattler lids cost more than conventional disposable lids, of course. Three dozen regular-mouth plastic lids and gaskets cost $20.95 (or $0.58/lid), and three dozen wide-mouths cost $23.95 (or $0.66/lid). Volume discounts are available, and extra gaskets can be purchased for $2.50/dozen.

I, for one, am so impressed with these lids that I've become a convert. My goal is to order 1000 lids (500 wide mouth, 500 narrow mouth) which will cost me about $600. I may team up with other canning friends and try for a bulk discount.

I simply cannot figure out why these lids haven't caught on like wildfire. They have an across-the-board appeal - environmentalists, survivalists, homesteaders, any suburban housewife who likes canning... Maybe the company needs to spend more money on advertising? Who knows. All I know is I'll do my best to spread the word because this is a product I can endorse with enthusiasm.

Honestly, folks, if you want security with regards to your home canning operations, try these babies. They could easily become worth their weight in gold.

UPDATE: In September, I bought my lifetime supply of lids.  Whee!  I never have to buy canning lids ever again!

98 comments:

  1. Patrice,
    I saw these lids advertised in Backwoods Home this month. First time the ad caught my eye. I went to the website and was intrigued. I was going to order to test them and am glad to see your enthusiasm. So I now do not feel like I am buying into a gimmick. Thanks for the article and your research.
    Ottar

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  2. Thank you for your research and testing on this product. I have also been looking at these lids and wondering about the results. I took a canning class at the extension service recently and asked about these lids. The teacher did NOT recommend them. I would appreciate a follow-up post later in the year to know if the seal holds up.

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  3. Patrice, are these made of silicone or a silicone blend?

    I've been taught by some veteran canning mavens of proven reputation that some of the new lids we find on pickles, jams, olives and spaghetti sauce (as examples of those I've personally used) are also reusable. They're the ones with silicone rings fused into the cap. I've canned some high acid stuff in them that only required water bath processing, and have had good outcomes. I follow the same process as with conventional lids, and they reseal very well.

    THIS IS NOT A RECOMMENDATION FOR ANYONE TO TRY THIS BASED ON MY COMMENTS ALONE. I know we all take canning safety very seriously, and that's as it should be. That being said, however, I also know we want and need to know any and every thing that can safely be adapted or reused in times of want or scarcity. So if this interests you I recommend you do as I did and find TWO reliable sources to instruct you in how and what to reuse.

    I'd like to know if anyone else here has tried this method and if so what they've learned.

    Patrice this is a really helpful post and I sure appreciate the photos and detailed
    descriptions. I for one will be investing in these new lids and gaskets. And yes, they're pretty spendy up front, but over the long run become very economical. And you're so-o-o right about their potential value being worth more than gold.

    Thanks again for another great lesson Patrice and Enola Gay. Keep up the good work!

    A. McSp.

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  4. I don't know if the lids are silicone/silicone blend. They just look like plastic to me. The company is quick to point out that the lids are BPA-free, if that's any help.

    - Patrice

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  5. Save the Canning JarsJuly 3, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    Loved this post. Reusable lids are a product I would like to try. I did not know such a product even existed. Thanks for sharing such a simple thing that makes a difference.

    Last week, coupons appeared in the newspaper for buy 2 boxes of Kerr or Ball lids and get one box free. I got excited at the prospect of stocking up for the future. Since there are few people who can their produce now days, there are an abundance of coupons to be had. I've collected 42, so that will allow me to purchase 84 boxes and get 42 boxes of lids free. That's 126 boxes total x 12 lids per box = 1512 lids (about 2 years worth at my house...if my math is correct).

    Lids could indeed be great bartering tools for all of those people who overpaid and bought a canister of survival seeds and who have not given any thought to processing their harvest. Even if they have thought of jars, do they have enough jars for the size of their family? We are a family of 4 and have over 1000 jars, and even I wonder if that is enough jars. And show me the lids, as I bet most people don't have many! Lids are indeed a BIG DEAL! Thanks for the post!

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  6. Wow, that was a great lesson. Thank you for providing excellent details and photos pertaining to your experimentations with the new lids. Nothing quite like getting a firsthand account of a product.

    I had not heard of these lids until now. Learning so much from you. Again, thank you.

    Anonymous Twit
    USA

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  7. Patrice,

    Thanks for your info about these canning lids. I first read about them on Enola's blog. I got very excited and ordered some. But then I realized that nowhere does it mention how you know if the can is sealed properly. With Ball/Kerr lids, you can press down on the center and if it stays down it's sealed. If it is up, it's not sealed. You can't tell for sure if it's sealed just by seeing how snug the gasket is against the rim. How do you tell if they are sealed?

    I think if I had heard an explosion in my canner I would have panicked. I have only had the bottom of a jar break off while canning peaches. Also, when canning fruit, I have had excessive liquid boil out, not sure why other than using raw pack.

    I just got done a few days ago canning chicken soup, chicken broth, and chicken. I tried Enola's canning butter with success, and am interested in trying other meats like bacon.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Save the Canning JarsJuly 3, 2010 at 5:11 PM

    Rose,

    Liquids can boil out during pressure canning when the temperature fluctuates (thus that is why NUDGING the temperature control dial is the way to gently raise or lower the temp.) Also rushing the jars out of the pressure canner forces fluids out. I let my jars stay in the pressure canner for at least 2 hours after the burner is off, allowing the air to escape slowly. Rushing the jars out of the canner causes fluid to escape the jar. That's my experience with losing fluid.

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  9. I'm lovin' this thread.

    I plan to call Tattler after the weekend to see about samples and when I do I'll ask the two questions we have so far: how to tell for sure when they're sealed and do they contain silicone. Anyone with additional questions feel free to post and I'll ask.

    Uh-oh...gotta log off....the big M is home and I hafta avoid letting him see all Patrice's yummy jars of ground beef or he'll be howling for sloppy joes.

    Bye all!

    A. McSp.

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  10. Since these reusable lids don't "depress" to indicate the seal is complete, the way disposable lids do, I can tell they're sealed simply because the lids won't come off. You're supposed to leave the rings on the jars for 12 to 24 hours (to let the jars fully cool). Believe me, the lids slide right off the jars that don't seal.

    - Patrice

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  11. What an absolutely exceptional evaluation of a product straight from an actual user who no less expresses herself as an opinionated, in you face person, great. I sincerely appreciate your exposing this product to, by your choice, the ultimate acid test to see what it would do. You did a super job of a play by play test and results of the product, even acknowledgeing what happened in a failure instead of a simple criticizm. My name is Loren Stieg, the original developer and designer of the product. It is truly humbling to read a review of this nature of the product. It is very much appreciated and especially since it comes from an actual user in her own words. You have perceived and described the product and it's function perfectly and even down to the steps in usage, very important and to the point, very well done. I developed the product in the mid-70's during a shortage of canning lids and very few changes have been made since then. My profession was Tool & Die maker with plastics a specialty, thus the outcome. The main reason for more not being aware, is until the internet, advertising was very costly and nearly prohibitive for a small company. The internet and current economisc situations have changed that, we are here. I shall answer two questions, the material is not silicon based (view our website www.reusablecanninglids.com for material info), and a positive seal is easily determined my simply removing the metal band and lift the jar slightly by the lid. Again, thanks for the wonderful review and I am proud to be part of many home food preservationists experience.
    Have fun canning.
    My son Brad, now my business partner in Colorado, and myself in Michigan are very grateful for this review.

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    Replies
    1. Perhaps then, you can explain why, despite following your newest directions to the letter (I've been canning since I was 12 years old w/o incident), I was severely injured with 1st and 2nd degree burns when the lid and band blew off the jar, covering me with boiling split pea soup. I had to be rushed to the ER, and I'm off from work until I heal. Yep, I'm plenty mad.

      Delete
    2. Why did you have a hot jar out of the canner?! They should cool in the canner, with ANY kind of seal. I think that's another case of operator error.

      Delete
    3. I see you are from Michigan, are you the Loren Stieg from Reed City? I ask because I see they are available in RC. I am very interested in trying these. Oh, and my husband is from Reed City.
      Jeanne (Dave) Barber.

      Delete
  12. To: Save the Canning Jars,

    I've never pressure canned peaches, so have not experienced boil out due to pressure canning, only during water bath canning. And it was only last year that this was an issue. I have raw packed and BWB peaches for over 10 years and never lost up to 1/2 of my liquid before until last year. I also had a heck of a time peeling the skin off after blanching. Very odd.

    I have no way to 'nudge' the temperature control when pressure canning, I have a weighted gauge that I use at 15# pressure due to my altitude of over 2000 ft. How do you nudge the dial gauge? What does this do?

    If I let my jars stay in the pressure canner for any time at all past when the gauge comes to zero, the vacum pulls the lid tighter making removing the lid even more difficult and I frequently (every time, actually) have to have a screw driver to loosen the vacum after pressure has dropped. I have an American canner that does not have a gasket, thus, may have different rules to follow for best results. I usually cover the canner with a towel after removing the lid for 1-2 min. then remove jars. I have never lost liquid from jars out of the pressure canner, only when using BWB.

    Thank you for your thoughts and input.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I too have a weighted gauge but once the canner cools I can remove it and that allows the air pressure inside to equalize so no more vacuum.

      Delete
    2. Nudging the dial in this case is the burner dial, not the canner dial gauge. I have a gas stove, so it is easy to adjust the fire under my canner (unless said control dial happens to be a bit stiff. :) ) It is less easy to reduce heat quickly with an electric burner because they retain heat. In that case, removing the canner from the burner after the time is completed is recommended.

      Delete
  13. Loren, I'm honored to meet you and must congratulate you on a brilliant product.

    - Patrice

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  14. Save the Canning JarsJuly 4, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    To Rose:

    I'm sorry...I did not mean to bring confusion. By nudging the temperature control dial...I was talking about the stove burner temperature knob.
    Changing the temperature under the canner abruptly, forces fluids out of the jar...so my canning book describes nudging the temperature gently...that's all I meant by that.

    I guess if your pressure canner forms a vacuum if you don't get those jars out of the canner, then you have to do what you gotta do and get them out quickly. I've got a Mirro 12 quart that does best when it de-pressurized (is that a word?) by itself...over a couple of hours after the burner is turned off. If I rush the process, fluid is forced out of the jars. I was just offering possible explanations to fluid loss. Sorry this info was not helpful to your situation. Have a Happy 4th of July!

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  15. Wow... I've been wanting to learn to can. I have been wishing there was a way to reuse lids, since if things get really difficult, it may be impossible to get lids. I am so glad I saw this!

    Now I need to learn how to can...

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  16. Hi, just caught this. interesting about the reusable gaskets.

    I think (CRS) I remember my Grandmother using a metal lid with a 'milk' glass type insert and a gasket.
    The image I have is of a 'rubber' gasket with a small 'grip' on the outer edge.

    Also seem to remember they would seal jelly/perserves by pouring wax on top of it then adding a lid. Can't remember if the lid was actually sealed or just tightened.

    Anyway, thanks for tweaking an old mans memory's of getting stuck keeping the fire going. LOL)

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    Replies
    1. I have seen replacement rubbers for such lids at my local True Value hardware. I don't know if they stock these because we have a strong Mennonite community nearby or if we have other people who have kept up older technologies.

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  17. Thanks for the review - and for helping make folks aware of this product. We will be placing an order in the next day or so (after I take an inventory of how many jars we actually have).

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  18. Great write up,
    I always wondered in the back of my mind how preserving food would continue if a disruption in manufacturing and distribution took place. The nations supply of disposable lids would quickly be depleted if 50 million households all of the sudden had to be responsible for their own food.

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    Replies
    1. I've been wondering what was done before pressure canning was developed. Was it all dehydration and root cellars?

      Delete
    2. Iris, food stuffs were cured and fermented keeping people in stock through long seasons. All cultures used fermentation in their diets and modern canning is derivative of it.

      Delete
  19. I second Patrice's comments, Loren, and add a thank you for answering our questions.

    I'm hoping this is the beginning of a big growth spurt for your business. You've earned it!

    A. McSp.

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  20. Hey Anonymous,
    Your memory is just fine, I'm 68 years young and have fond memories of using both types of canning methods.

    My No. Idaho daughter has fruit trees that sometimes bear more than can be used and when I suggested that she can some of the produce she stated that there was no way she wanted to have her house smelling like "wax" the way she remembered from her childhood.

    Did your family allow the kids to chew the was after the jar was opened? Sure tasted good and much healthier than sugary chewing gum.

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  21. Patricia,

    Great Blog

    I don't do blogs as a rule, but I have to say I am finding myself on yours every few days.

    Thanks for taking the time to educate/entertain us.

    This is probably a silly question, but why did you add water to the meat?

    Thanks,

    Debbie

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  22. Welcome Debbie! Glad to have you aboard.

    I put water in the meat because I'm not experienced in dry-canning meats. I think it can be done but I haven't done it. So to be on the safe side, I add the water.

    - Patrice

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    Replies
    1. You can make broth from 'soup bones', but I'm guessing you already know that.

      Delete
  23. Hello Patrice,
    Just found your blog and I love it!
    The information about Tattler lids is interesting. I'm wondering if you have a Foodsaver and have tried vacuum sealing a mason jar with these lids.
    Also, while I'm at it, I notice you can ground beef. Do you boil the meat for ten minutes after opening the jars? Or is this something that is now an outdated precaution? My old 1970 canning book warns to do this and I'm scared to death to pressure can any meats as a result.
    Thanks in advance if you choose to reply.

    Joan

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  24. Heh. When I was reading the instructions you posted for using the lids aloud from the blog to SwampMan, he questioned "1/4 INCH or 1/4 TURN?"

    I suppose we would have done the 1/4 turn thing as well!

    Glad you posted it. I'm looking forward to ordering some.

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  25. Joan, I don't have a Foodsaver and so haven't tried vacuum-sealing a Mason jar with these lids. Keep in mind that the whole idea of canning is NOT just to remove air from the jar; it's to heat the contents of the jar high enough to kill off any pathogens, THEN seal it. The seal prevents any new pathogens from entering the jar, so essentially canned food is sterile food.

    Properly canned meat does NOT need to be reheated (except to improve its taste, of course - I prefer hot meat to cold meat). I've eaten beef and chicken I canned back in 1999 and it was terrific. Again, the whole idea of canning is to render the contents sterile so no pathogens can get in and rot the food and/or make you sick. Properly canned meat is perfectly safe.

    I'm finding a LOT of people are scared to death of pressure canners, but let me tell you, a pressure canner is CRITICAL to process low-acid foods such as vegetables and meats. You CANNOT water-bath low acid foods or you risk killing yourself with botulism. To me, the slavish use of boil-bath canning without regard to a food's acidity FAR outweighs the supposed dangers of pressure canners.

    As long as you follow the directions that come with a pressure canner exactly, you'll do fine. The one piece of equipment I can't live without when canning is a kitchen timer, which I clip to my collar to remind me to check the pressure every few minutes.

    If anyone is worried about the proper use of pressure canners, I'm confident that most Ag Extensions offer classes on canning. Or have a more experienced canner show you the ropes.

    - Patrice

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  26. Where can we buy the lids aand gaskets???

    Donna Jones coffeyn1@hotmail.com

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  27. Tatler's website is here:
    http://www.reusablecanninglids.com/

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  28. What a FANTASTIC post - thank you so much!

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  29. To add some dimension to Joan's question, I have re-used my used metal canning lids to vacuum seal dry goods [like bulk beans, marshmallows and choc chips] for monthly/seasonal storage. In our effort to simplify the kitchen contents, I am also curious if the tattler lids can be used with the foodsaver jar sealing attachment. We do not can full-time, but we will once I stay home. If I can convert to a single system of lids and gaskets for water bath canning and dry storage, that would be better than sorting through mismatched parts constantly.

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  30. Hello Johanna,

    I've sent an e-mail to the Tattler website to see about this. It certainly would be a bonus to be able to use them with the Foodsaver. I know I'm always worried about bending my metal lids when trying to open the vacuum sealed jars, and making them unable to hold another vacuum seal.

    Maybe I should also state here that my question about canning meats was a separate question unrelated to the Foodsaver query.

    Joan

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  31. Hello Johanna,

    Just sent an e-mail to Tattler to inquire about use of these lids with the Foodsaver jar sealer. I always worry when I'm using my metal lids if the vacuum seal will hold one more time after prying it off to get some walnuts, choc chips, etc. Sure would be nice to have something you could just pop off and reseal back down again.

    Joan

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  32. Patrice and Johanna,

    Just got answer back from Tattler about using lids with the Foodsaver, (Wow! She was quick!)

    "Yes, Tattler Reusable Canning Lids will work with the Foodsaver vacuum sealer."

    Joan

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  33. Oh wow - thanks, Joan, for checking into this! I found a vacuum sealer at an estate sale for $5 but still haven't tried it. It's nice to know I can use Tattler lids with it.

    Patrice

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  34. Hi Patrice and thanks for this excellent review. I found your blog after I announced on a canning group I follow that I had ordered the Tattler lids. Someone posted your blog url. I ordered 3 doz standards to try. I'm in the 1,200 to 1,400 jars per year for canning and like many have been very concerned over future availability of the lids. I have quite a stockpile of metal lids but still like the idea of using re-usable lids. I can't wait to put these lids through the paces and thanks to the information you posted I now know what to watch for.

    For those asking about the FoodSaver. I re-use lids previously used for canning for the FoodSaver without a problem. When they get to the point they will no longer seal with the FoodSaver I put them in the recycle bin. Another option if the Tattler lids cannot be used with the FoodSaver is to use the plastic screw lids put out by Ball and Bernardin. These are great for refrigerator use and dried foods that you open on a fairly regular basis.

    Again thanks Patrice and will be following your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hi, I am still confused about the 1/4 inch turn. Can you help me out?

    Also why hasn't the USDA included these lids with their canning practices?

    Just curious?

    ReplyDelete
  36. The 1/4 inch turn means you tighten the rings until snug, then un-tighten (go back) a quarter-inch. The idea is to allow steam to vent out of the jars just a bit.

    As for why the USDA hasn't included the lids in their canning practices...no idea. You'll have to contact the manufacturer to find out. Could be they just haven't heard of them. Heck I've been canning for 20 years and this is the first time *I've* heard of them.

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  37. Thank you so much for the review; i am thinking of getting some of these. One of the reason why I can is to avoid BPA that is found in most commercial cans. Traditional lids for canning also have BPA but i was comfortable living with that as it was a really small amount and I though there was no other alternative until I found these lids.

    Next year I plan on ordering a bunch and trying them out for the first time.

    ReplyDelete
  38. My husband found your site last night and I clicked on it this morning. WOW! My obsession is canning lids, I too have bought hundreds in preparation for the times of unavailability but STILL worry about what to do when they're gone! Thanks to you my worries are gone for good, I'm headin' for the TATTLER site right now! Thanks, blessings! Suzan

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  39. LOL, Suzan! I share your enthusiasm. In fact, last week I just ordered my supply - 1000 lids, half regular and half wide-mouth, plus ten boxes each of extra rings. I'll probably get them in today or tomorrow (you can be sure I'll put up a blog post about it). If you order with them, be sure to say I sent you over!

    Happy canning,
    Patrice

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  40. Patrice -
    Someone left me a comment this morning about the composition of the Tattler gaskets. Seems they are made of food grade nitrile and have no latex in them.
    Maybe you knew that? I sure didn't until this morning. Where would we be without of readers? God bless them all!
    Say warm.
    All the best,
    GM

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  41. GM, I didn't know that so I appreciate you passing on the information. You're right, where would we be without readers?

    - Patrice

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  42. For the lady who has to pry her canner lid off with a screwdriver: I believe I have the same type of canner (All American), and each year before starting to can I spread a little olive oil where the lid contacts the canner. I've had no problem with sticking.

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  43. I just heard about these lids on the Glenn Beck radio show this morning & am eager to try them, already excited since I ordered by heirloom seeds from Baker Creek yesterday!!!
    I've never tried canning ground meat . . . for years we have pressured canned venison meat, but we use 1 inch steak cubes & we pressure cook the meat raw for 90 minutes, no liquid added, just spices. To eat, we just gently reheat - it's already cooked, in it's own juice. Most tender, juiceist meat we've ever had. If you don't mind my asking, why would we need to pre-cook the hamburger??

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  44. You don't need to pre-cook it, but you do get way more in your jar if you do as when cooked it shrinks before you put it in the jar not after. I also find with mine that it has a better flavor if I brown it before canning.

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  45. Rick and Ann in the Appalachian foothills.

    Thanks for sharing this with the world. We are working towards growing and canning our winters foods. We harvested 2 doe Winter if 2009 - 2010 and have 1 jar of venison stew left on the shelf!

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  46. I just read your article in Countryside. I am going to give this company a call. This would save so much. I remember my mom using the zinc lids with rubber rings. Thanks for sharing this info.

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  47. What great info - I love to can what we grow. One question I am wondering about is how these lids work with the new steam canners. I got one 2 years ago & didn't notice until last summer that the lids do not seal quite as tightly as with the regular BWB. With some effort I can remove the lid with my hands - I am not weak, however cannot do that with the BWB ones. So, I started 'testing' the peaches from the previous year & they were the same way, but the produce is still great quality. After 'testing' about a dozen & a half jars of fruit (ugh, was my refrigerator full!) I contacted the Extension agent, she had not used a steam canner or heard of this, but said if the lids pass the same tests - sound & popped down - she saw no reason to worry about it.
    Has anyone else used a steam canner? What were your results? Sure goes faster than a BWB as you don't have to wait to put the next load in with cold-pack fruit.
    I am anxious to get a few of the reusable lids & see what happens in the steam canner with them!

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    Replies
    1. I have been using a steam canner for the past few years, I have not had any trouble with jars not sealing with regular lids, I am anxious to try the Tattler lids

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  48. Robyn, I'm afraid I've never heard of a steam canner either, so I can't help you there. I suggest two things: one, get a sample of lids from the company and just experiment with them. And two, contact the company itself - they're the experts and might be able to guide you wish a steam canner. My thought is that these Tattler lids should work fine, but the only way to find out is to try them.

    - Patrice

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  49. As for the steam canner, I am having a struggle with using the tattler lids. I have followed the 1/4 inch turn, product 1 inch under the rim and have processed as instructed. So far I am getting a 30-50% failure on them sealing. However, I am reverting to the water bath method this morning and seeing if this is the better route to go with tattler lids. Last year I canned a bit with the tattler lids in the pressure canner and every single batch came out perfectly. So, I will let you know how my testing goes this morning. The steam canner may be gathering a bit of dust or at least only used with the metal lids for items I can to give away or sell. I like the speed of it, but it doesn't seem to work well with the tattler lids. I think I will email tattler today to see if I am doing anything wrong. I love the tattlers, they are a great product I just have to experiment with water bath etc. If anyone has suggestions/directions in doing this I sure would appreciate it.

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  50. Thanks for the info, condiefamily. A lot of our early fruit froze out this year, so haven't done any steam or waterbath yet. Just getting ready to do some green beans, so will see how my new tattlers do with the pressure canner & let you know.

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  51. Condiefamily, try this: don't loosen the lids by a 1/4 inch turn. Apparently the reason the Tattler folks recommend the 1/4 inch loosening is because some people CRANK the lids tight, and that won't work with Tattler lids (they need a little room to vent steam). So just finger-tighten the rings and don't loosen them. I can't guarantee this will give flawless results, but it seems to work for me. Otherwise I suggest contacting the Tattler folks and asking them -- they're wonderful with their advice.

    - Patrice

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  52. Thank you for your trial and error in the Tattlers. I have just started using them and before my third try I read your blog and followed your instructions and my taco soup came out perfect! I did have one question though, in my first two attempts I tightened the lids too tight and the lids then bulged instead of sunken like they are suppose to be. They still sealed but is this okay and can the food be eaten? Should I reprocess them? My extended family and I went in together so we could buy bulk Tattler lids/rings at a discount and are so very happy to know we will have canning lids to use for our lifetime. Thank you Tattlers!!

    Trena

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  53. Tattler lids don't bulge and sink like regular disposable canning lids, though I've noticed my lids bulge just a bit when I first take them out of the canner (later the bulge goes down). To tell if a disposable lid has failed to seal, you can press on it to hear the "click click" that indicates the seal didn't take. But with Tattler lids, the way to determine if the seal failed is simply to take off the ring. The lids will slide right off if the seal failed. (Jars shouldn't be stored with the rings on anyway.)

    If the lid is tight, my guess is your jars are fine and the food is sterile.

    - Patrice

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  54. We bought some of the Tattler lids last year because I wanted to get rid of the BPA on the disposable lids, and like the idea of the reusability. They have been working great. The only problem we have had with them is that once in a while I don't loosen the 1/4" after tightening the screw band, and the jar doesn't expel enough air to seal properly. I can always tell on these because the lids do bulge up a bit. One other drawback is that you can't (or maybe we just don't) scrawl the contents on the lid like we do with a Sharpie and the disposables.

    We are going to enter some canned produce in the Topsfield, Mass fair this year (oldest ag fair in the country!) and their instructions say you must use disposable lids or the old zinc lids with rubbers. We inquired about using the Tattlers, sent the coordinator the URL, and got a reply that they will definitely be accepted in the canned goods competition! So we're breaking new ground.

    All in all, I like the Tattlers a lot and am gradually using up the supply of disposables, and will eventually be all reusables. Thanks for this great blog.

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  55. instead of a sharpie, use a "grease pencil" or a crayon. the marking should just wash off, or disappear during the next canning cycle.

    Dennis the librarian shusher

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  56. About 20 years/20 times: The website says they are "indefinitely reusable" and "Guaranteed to last a lifetime when using USDA approved home canning processes."

    I wrote to the company asking for clarification.

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  57. An email from the company:
    ==========================
    We have received letters from customers stating they have used the lids and rings for as many as 20 years until the rings finally stretched beyond use. That anecdotal evidence is backed up by our own research.

    Last summer we conducted a test using 14 lids and rings. The test materials were product we found in storage since 1976. They were used in both water bath and pressure canning tests over several weeks, during which time all were reused 14 times without failure. The 14th round was conducted on food items, most of which remain in storage awaiting use. We ended the test due to time constraints.

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  58. Regarding my post of 14 August: We entered some canned goods in the competition at the Topsfield, Mass Fair (oldest Agricultural Fair in the country!) this year, and one of our entries won Best In Show! We are really pleased with the results of our canning with the Tattlers.

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  59. Whoo-hoo! Congrats, Anon:6:25! You might send this to the Tattler folks, I'll bet it would make their day!

    - Patrice

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  60. I very much appreciate your candid and direct evaluation of there lids. I am sold on them simply by your testimony. The rest of your site is great as well. Thank you very much.

    Joseph

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  61. Thanks, Joseph. I've been exclusively using my Tattler lids for a year and a half now, and simply love them. Happy canning!

    - Patrice

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  62. Good sale on Tattler lids today @ http://www.markdown.com/ I found your blog while looking for info on the lids. Thanks!

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  63. Oops! Sale posted just this morning and they are already completely sold out! I missed that one while I was reading your review and comments column :(

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  64. What a great post! Thanks so much for the review!
    So glad I found your blog!

    Thank you!
    Margaret
    Two in the Nest

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  65. Hie to all. My name is Richard, i live in eastern Canada. While canning a batch of strawberry jam, i told myself that it would be great to be able to reuse the lids on canning jars so when i finished the job i made a research on the subject and discovered Tattler's lids. I then Switch on their web site and tried to make an order , but the shipping fees to send them to Canada more than double the price. So you guys in the U.S. of A should double enjoy to be able to afford such a fine product. To us it's a matter of waiting for them to be available in our country at a fair price.

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    Replies
    1. Have you contacted the Tattler people directly? Give them a call, they're very friendly. You might be able to guide them toward someone who could become a distributor in Canada. Just a thought.

      - Patrice

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    2. Hie again. I sent them an email about it and they redirected me to the only retailer in Canada who is in Alberta. I called and found out she had the same problem with shipping fees so it would cost even more to buy from her... But i think i will follow your advice and contact them directly... Thank you, Richard

      Delete
    3. Interestingly, I also contacted the Tattler folks and asked about shipping to Canada, and heard a similar story of high costs. Here's the reply I received:

      "Shipping to Canada is a big problem for us. The cost of shipping via USPS or UPS is so high that it prices us out of the market altogether, and there is little we can do about it. We very much want to get product in the hands of our Canadian neighbors, but are finding our options very limited. However, we are working on finding a Canadian distributor we can ship to via truck which will decrease shipping costs dramatically.

      We don't control the cost of shipping, and the costs people see on our web site are pulled directly from the US Postal Service site, based on the weight of the package.

      We're working on it, but as I said, the options for a small company are very limited."

      This is just a thought, but could you arrange to have lids shipped to a northern U.S. location and then drive over the border to pick them up? I realize you might be too far from the border, making this a pointless suggestion, but what the heck, it might be worth a shot. I should also point out I do NOT know the legalities of doing this, so it's something that should be investigated before doing.

      Good luck, hope you can get your lids somehow...

      - Patrice

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    4. I know the Tattler lids are available on Amazon.com and I just checked and they show they are available on Amazon.ca (Canada) but it does not show the shipping. But this may be an option. Good luck!

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  66. thanks for you blog i got aloto f useful info...i was looking up info on these :)

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  67. so I'm always a day late and a dollar short on my responses!

    what on earth do you do with all the extra lids that you bought? I am still getting into canning, & 500 lids of each size would seem overwhelming to me. I live in an apartment right now, so don't have space for a garden.
    I did can 27 pints & 8quarts of carrots yesterday however.
    I was fortunate this year that a lady gave me 3 dz wide mouth jars, that she was getting rid of! I used a dz for peaches.

    thanks for the very informative blog & especially step by step pictures! They're great!

    shalaee mittag

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    Replies
    1. LOL -- Shalee, I don't think you have any idea about the state of my pantry. I have about 2000 jars of home-canned food put away. For nearly all of my recent (last two years) canning projects, I've used my Tattlers. While I'm not yet close to running out of Tattler lids, I'm dipping low enough that I'm wondering to myself if I should purchase more.

      To me, canning is the ultimate hobby. To start with, I love canning. But it doubles as a prepper skill. It's an inexpensive way to put away food for hard times and make sure my family will always be fed. My husband converted an old unused bathroom into a "canning closet" (see this post and then follow the links within the post: http://www.rural-revolution.com/2011/12/canning-closet-upgrade.html ) so I have lots of room for my jars.

      Obviously if you're in an apartment your space will be more limited, but I'm thrilled to hear about your canning success! Keep up the good work.

      - Patrice

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  68. One question,Patrice,you said you put boiling water in with the ground beef,does this give it a different taste or texture when you open the jars for use?

    Can you just put ground beef in the jars without water, like you do with bacon that you showed in a post on canning bacon?
    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Shalaee

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    Replies
    1. You're quite right, I think the ground beef would have turned out MUCH better if I hadn't added the water. My friend Enola Gay flavors her browned ground beef with taco flavoring, then cans it dry (meaning, she doesn't add any extra water) and I think that turned out much better than what I did.

      - Patrice

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  69. Enjoyed this article very much.

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  70. Now if we could only buy stainless steel canning jar bands...

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  71. Purchased my Tattler Canning Lids last summer, and absolutely LOVE THEM !! Dinners are so quick and easy when all you have to do is open a jar ! Canned potatoes were the biggest hit as its only a matter of opening a jar, warming them up whether frying for hashbrowns, adding to stews, or even making a quick dish of mashed potatoes ! Canned hamburger patties, taco seasoned ground beef, meat chunks, meatballs, the list goes on and on !! I can't say enough about the Tattler Reuseable Canning Lids - Any time I meet another "canner" I pass along the info on these lids ! And if anyone does know about stainless steel rings as someone else mentioned here , please , please, pass on any info on them ! Thank you !!

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    Replies
    1. They are coming! I just preordered some for sprouting. (I do not like to use plastic...all plastic leaches chemicals, even if they are BPA free.)
      http://www.ecojarz.com/products/stainless-steel-bands-pre-order/

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  72. I bought my re useable lids from the Non-Electric Catalog years ago.

    1-877-438-5346 or www.Lehmans.com
    I do not remember how much I paid for them...but they do send to Canada.

    USDA dose NOT approve of this type of canning lid.

    Our grandmas used the old fashion lides that were very similar to these except the lid itself was right in the twist on top. The tops were made of zinc so were banned...but the concept is the very same!
    Mary

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  73. Thanks for this review. I've only been canning a year or two and this year I became interested in fermenting foods. Unfortunately metal lids don't do well for long periods with fermented foods AND I was looking for a substitute that didn't contain BPA. These will work just fine. I'm going to use a few during the fermenting process by drilling a hole and installing a rubber donut grommet and wine bubbler. Once finished I will install a new lid and refrigerate.

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  74. This review is great. My neighbor bought reusable lids last year and I just saw her fresh canned goods. I wanted more info.

    BTW, I can reuse my rings for many, many years - no rust!!! I bought a case (12 boxes of 12 each) of aluminum rings and lids in the 80s. Since I continually reuse rings during the season, I only need a couple of canners worth. They do pit with acid foods, so I use regular lids for pickles and such. For storage after opening, I save and reuse plastic mayo lids.

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  75. I have some, I do not use them. The gasket is of cheep red rubber. If the were made from durable food grade silicon rubber I would use them. The replacement rubber is as expensive as regular lids from he grocery.

    What I do, is I re use my old lids. First use I write 1x on the lid , next year 2x etc. So far I have 3x on some lids, and they are holding up fine.

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  76. Have you tried using the 4everrecap.com reusable lids? Instead of using rubber, they offer both silicone and nitrile gaskets.

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  77. http://www.durgan.org/URL/?NHMEY 6 June 2014 Removing Canning Jar Lids
    When canning, the jar lids are under pressure and when removing are damaged using the current opening tool, which is a modified tin can opener. This means the lid cannot be re-used. Currently the cost per lid is about 30 cent per. Demonstrated is a most simple, efficient method of removing the lid without damage and it may be re-used with complete confidence, since the gasket is not damaged and the lid is not misshapen when opening.

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  78. How do you know that the Tattler lid is maintaining the proper temp inside the jar? It's all pointless if you're not heating the food up enough, vacuum sealed or not.

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    Replies
    1. The lid has no bearing on the temperature inside the jar. It's the processing method that counts. Assuming you're processing the food the appropriate way (suitable pressure, length of time, and altitude adjustment, etc.), Tattler lids seal just as well as disposable lids.

      - Patrice

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