Country Living Series

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Canning supply shortage?

While corresponding a couple days ago with Glenda Lehman Evrin, VP of Marketing at Lehman's, she mentioned something in passing that staggered me: "By the way, we just heard from Ball [the manufacturer] ... no canning jars until March of 2021!"

Almost immediately after that, I received a generic email from Tattler reusable canning lids (I'm on their email list) as follows: "Due to a nationwide canning supply shortage, we have been overwhelmed with orders. Everyone at Tattler is working diligently to get them out to each and every customer as quickly as possible. We know everyone wants to know the status of their order, but due to the overwhelming amount of emails it is prohibitive to respond. Thank you for understanding. We are sorry for the inconvenience."

I haven't had to buy canning supplies for years, so somehow I completely missed this devopment, but it seems there is a severe nationwide shortage of canning supplies.

A quick internet search confirmed it:

Watch out, there's a canning lid shortage

The latest COVID-19 shortage is canning lids

Trouble in store as Covid canning craze leads to empty shelves and price gouging

Shortages of canning supplies cause headaches for home gardeners

Canning lids are in short supply

If You’re Struggling to Find Canning Supplies Right Now, You're Not Alone

Increase in canning during quarantine leads to supply shortage

The Great Canning Lid Shortage of 1975, and a history of canning lids

As a passionate canner, how did I miss all this? I mean honestly, how?

Glenda added in a later email: "Ball said they have stopped accepting purchases orders until they get caught up and won’t ship anything until March of 2021. When I go to the grocery I am always surprised at what they are out of – one week it’s paper towels, the next week it is tomatoes, and the next week it is hamburger. Strange times."

So I looked around, and by golly everyone's right. Canning supplies are in short supply.

Here's the shelf at our local grocery store:

Then I went into the city (Coeur d'Alene) a couple days ago, first time since early August. Specifically I went to Walmart, where I haven't been in nearly a year, certainly since before the whole coronavirus was a thing. My goal was to find some moccasin slippers.

Well, it was a challenge.

This could be why: Made in China.

In fact, I saw a surprising number of understocked shelves at Walmart, in a variety of unrelated categories -- shoes, office supplies, and of course canning supplies.

(As an interesting aside, the young man -- and I mean young; he looked 18 or so -- operating the cash register was wearing a "thin blue line" face mask. I couldn't quite hear what customers were saying to him -- remember, we were all spaced six feet apart -- but it seemed he was getting many compliments. I know I gave him one.)

My next stop was Winco, which had utterly bare shelves where the canning supplies were supposed to be.

As I checked out at Winco, the polite checker asked me if I had found everything I was looking for. "Everything except canning supplies," I quipped. She laughed ruefully and shook her head.

What's your experience? What are you seeing? If you can't find canning supplies, how are you coping?

55 comments:

  1. I wonder if folks shouldn't relearn the arts of drying, curing and brining.

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    1. Better stock up on salt
      Another Gal..

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    2. Yup. It's only a matter of time.

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  2. Walmart in our town had plenty of Ball pint jars!! I was also able to get a couple of boxes of jars at a thrift store last week. Gorges is right - dehydrating is easy and retains more nutrition

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  3. Fortunately I have collected alot of jars through the years as well as Tattler lids. I also bought a case of Ball lids early in the summer which I shared with a friend and my sister. Shelves are empty in the canning supply area of most of the stores I have been shopping in. I remember when I bought my first Tattlers years ago "just in case" I felt a little foolish. Not any more! I have used both one time only lids as well as reusable for quite a few years so it hasn't been difficult for me. I think you are correct Patrice when you said"made in China" is a big part of the problem. We need to start manufacturing more products here in the US so we are not so dependent on importing so many of our everyday products. I don't consider myself a "prepper" but I do like to be prepared to take care of myself and my family. People that I work with who have teased me about this lifestyle through the years aren't making fun of me now. I am content knowing that we are ready for whatever life throws our way.

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    1. Terri, be ready for the fall of former America. How are America's cities today any different than Sodom, Gomorrah and Jerusalem?

      Preps, skills and fitness are all good of course, but where you are and who you are with will be priceless.

      ‘Occupy till I come’ (Greek translation: take care of business). Luke 19:13 KJV. This is our job until He returns.

      Montana Guy

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  4. I've seen the shortage of canning supplies in our area and several friends have mentioned the shortage, going so far as to share on social media whenever they find a store that still has some in stock. Feeling pretty smart for stocking up by buying lids by the case a few years ago...

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  5. I have lots of jars but could only find wide mouth lids. I've used up my wide mouth pints so I only have wide mouth quarts that I can use. I am almost done with canning but will be sure I'm stocked up early for next year. And maybe check into Tattlers.

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  6. I gave my daughter-in-law 12 dozen lids I had stashed...I have a new tube of 345 left for us...you can't get those at all around here now. We are both canning more beef, pork, poultry, bean and split pea soup plus chili this fall. We both have enough jars, but not an excess. In Iowa, lots of people still can regularly.

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    1. I’d agree, lots of Iowans can. The supplies are pretty much out. I did see some lids that were advertised as for water bath canning only?!? But that’s it for months.

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    2. I’d agree, lots of Iowans can. The supplies are pretty much out. I did see some lids that were advertised as for water bath canning only?!? But that’s it for months.

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  7. I'm in Vermont and there is a total shortage of canning supplies.. people are looking for canners,, jars and lids constantly ...ads everywhere. luckily for me I have always kept ahead on my supplies, not sure why, but I always tried to get a few extra things when I shopped.. I use an old school bus for my storage shed and I have many cases of jars , most new, and some I picked up at yard sales and such.. I also have lots of lids... I looked at one box and it was priced at $1.29... looking on amazon and ebay and the same box is almost $5.00 ... I ordered some Tattler's a few months ago just for fun and I too got the notice about the delay.. I can't wait to try them. One is none..

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  8. I live in Western PA and it has been months without jars if lids.

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  9. Canning supplies have been minimal to non-existent where I live in AK. I have bought canning lids and rings here and there over the course of the summer, but the price-gouging at Amazon is over the top. Fortunately, I have many canning jars, lids, rings, pectin, and other supplies. Glad I have both large canners and smaller ones, as the big canners are very expensive - at least when you can find them on Amazon.

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  10. I had three $3 coupons for jars and bought those. I had three $2 coupons for specialty jars. I used those even though the jars were expensive. And, I had three coupons for lids. Well, I never found lids, and I have been looking since May. I saw thirty packages of jars in one store and bought another dozen jars. Tomorrow, I will go back and get more.

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  11. All sold out of every size jar and lid here in Wisconsin. Thankfully, I had what I needed to do my small amount of canning. When everyone started gardening this spring I figured that’s where we were headed. I stocked up on some extras early in the season and told my gardening friends to do the same. I saw someone say the All American canners are completely sold out and on back order until February too. There are no freezers to be had either. In fact, all appliances are in short supply. We know several families who are living in newly constructed homes with just a hot plate and a dorm fridge! I guess the trick is to figure out what’s going to be “out of stock” next and get it early!

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  12. Our Middle and East TN homesteading coop group have been on high alert lookng for canning supplies anytime we get out anywhere. We use either the Zello or Telegram group app to check in with everyone anytime we spot supplies

    We did get a bulk order of large mouth lids in right when we saw pending shortages. I wish we'd bought regular lids at the same time. I'm doing ok as I have a large reserve of Tattler lids to use if needed.

    The freezer shortage is still pretty bad as well.

    Good luck to all, check those estate sales for canning supplies. Good places to find jars and pressure cookers

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  13. LIve in the Greater Seattle area. Canning supplies here have been scarce since May. Thank goodness I have been collecting canning jars and rings for years. Most of my friends laugh at me because I have so many.

    Check out Goodwill, they are still coming in there. Also you may look into wholesale jam jars. I've purchased many cases there in the past.

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  14. Same in Northern Michigan. Can't find jars or lids. We were well stocked and have been sharing some with my sister in law and my daughter who weren't prepared. We have used tattler lids almost since they came out.

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  15. We have been buying jars whenever we can find any. Lids haven't been found for awhile in central Wyoming. We are using our two dehydrators much more this year.

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  16. Southern Michigan , my tomatoes have gone into the freezer since July ..no lids anywhere ( I have plenty of jars and rings) however I hit the jackpot , I told my mother-in-law and she told her sister ( they hold onto everything and don't can anymore) , between them they had packs of unopened lids they sent to me !!! I had thought to try tattler but they were already backordered...

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  17. Absolutely out of everything here in my corner of the Midwest and have been for many months. I got several dozen reusable lids but they become unsealed much more often than metal lids for me. I have tried various degrees of tightening while canning, but even if they seem very tightly sealed after 24 hours I find them days or weeks later unsealed. I have a few dozen metal lids I use sparingly, hoping to find some more. I have been freezing and dehydrating more often now, which is a bad situation if we lose power. I had a friend give me some of her canned goods and I felt honor bound to replace her jars immediately from my own supply. She has meat that needs canning and no jars. It is difficult for larger families -- all 3 of my kids are home now and 3 out of 4 of hers are due to the situation with colleges.

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    1. I've had the same issue a few times, I'm not sure what causes it. The metal lids work better for me.

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    2. I have had the same problem with my Tattler lids not sealing and it got pretty bad. I figured out that the rubber rings are getting stretched or the rubber is loosing its elasticity. When you turn the band, the rubber ring twists and becomes crooked.

      To solve the problem, have another person push down HARD with their two thumbs in the center of the plastic lid while you turn the band. It keeps the rubber rings from sliding.

      Only the older, often used rubber rings are giving me problems but I don't know which are old by just looking at them. Some are stretched and are bigger than the new ones.

      I mentioned this to the Tatter Company but they said they had not heard of people having problems. (They eventually will as everyone's rubber rings begin to deteriorate.)

      Oh, by the way, middle Tennessee is completely out of all canning supplies including garage sales and Good Will where they are snatched up quickly. At present, I have made a bid at an online estate auction. I have enough because I have canned for years but am getting nervous about the future and want to add to my stash.

      Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

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    3. Just south of Nashville here. Picked up 3 cases of Anchor Hocking quart jars with regular mouth lids at Publix in Franklin in mid September and 5 boxes of regular lids at Krogers in Murfreesboro last week. You just have to be diligent about looking everywhere all the time. Still nervous about regular mouth lids and rings.

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    4. Happy Hen , Anonymous , Jeannie and Daledee, I purchased Tattler lids also and have a huge number of seal failures , enough that I have quit using them . AND my failures happen with brand new lids , so I can't blame the rubber rings getting stretched . I even bought the new EZ seal Tattlers , I had better luck with them , no fiddling with tightening just so . Still , going to the pantry shelf and see a Tattler sitting a top of a jar that is now spoiled , has shaken my confidence in the product . I wish they worked well , as it would be such a foundational tool for preserving .
      I'm always interested to hear others experience with Tattlers , so thankful to read what you shared .
      As for the shortage , I ordered 2 sleeves of lids from Lehmans in April . One shipped in August and I was refunded for the other in September .
      I think a few supplies have been trickling thru but they sell so quickly . Last week I was at Wilco Farm Supply and checked the canning isle .. nothing ! Went on to do my shopping and sitting on a pallet were about 30 dozen new jars .. they just hadn't made it to the shelf .
      I think the name of the game now is to think ahead , what will you need in the future ? We just had tires put on our vehicle and were surprised to find out of the 12 choices , 3 being winter tires , 7 were out of stock with no date in sight . We purchased the best choice ( most expensive ) out of the 3 remaining , paid for them and then were told , they too were unavailable . We then went with 1 of the 2 remaining choices and were glad to get them !

      Even if things are in supply , I rather like having the choice to rush out and get them . We are near Portland , I am sorry to say , so a trip to the store could totally not be worth leaving home for .
      Patrice , I find this type post very helpful to read how others around the country are coping with shortages .

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    5. Happy Hen, thank you for replying. I do still have some failures with the Tattler Lids but it is always immediate right after the jar cools. As a result, I am able to either reprocess or use the food immediately. Now I am wondering if it is my hard water or dishwasher detergent leaving a residue because it seems the lids either work for a person or they don't. I am scrubbing the lids and rings by hand and then wiping them dry. That seems to have made a difference.

      I have over 350 Tatter Lids, do massive amounts of canning and can't afford to go back to the metal lids. There is a reason why they work for some people and don't for others. I am doing something different and am determined to discover what that might be.

      Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

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  18. No lids here in South Florida. In April dh and I went for a ride out by lake Okeechobee and was able to find lids at a Tractor Supply, but there wasnt much on the shelf to begin with. Ive had to finally order some off Amazon and will get them around Oct 6th. (ordered 2 weeks ago)

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  19. I live in south east Arizona and started seeing the caning section in Walmart start to dwindle in May . Last month I was able to get some regular lids , only 3 dozen were available , no wide mouth . I have a ton of jars stored and lots of rings . I do have the Tattler lids but have just used those for back up as I also have a problem with them sealing . Freezers are non existent here , we had hoped to buy a larger one but have given up on that idea .

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    1. The trick to Tattlers sealing is to tighten as usual, then LOOSEN the metal ring 1/4 inch, before putting into the canner. As soon as the jars are removed from the canner, tighten all metal rings again. You should have a much better seal rate, as long as the jar tops are clean, and the rubber rings remain flat on top of the jar. I've canned 250 quarts and a few pint jars this season, all with Tattlers, both pressure canned and water bathed.

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    2. Thank you for the suggestion

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    3. Thank you Carol for the suggestion. I tried this yesterday and will add this to my things to do to make sure they seal.

      Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry.blogspot.com

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  20. No canning supplies in stores here in north central Florida. There are also a lot of really random bare shelves in Publix, Walmart, and Sams. Stuff that I can't figure out why it would be out of stock. Supply chains are messed up, apparently! I am trying to stock my freezer for postpartum meals and am having issues getting certain random things.

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  21. We can a lot of food and our largest annual canning takes place in August usually, but this year the tuna was not available until the second week of September on the Oregon coast where we purchase it from the dock. We have a lot of jars (hundreds) but they are in storage and we couldn’t get to them since we now live in our RV and travel around the country. So we were going to just pick up some cases (half pint wide mouth) and get the tuna canned. Unfortunately, we could not find any cases. We saw some on Walmart website for Grants Pass, so we purchased them online and went to pick them up. On the way to the store, we got a message that our card had been credited due to the jars not being on the truck. We called every ranch/farm store, BiMart, Fred Meyer and Walmart in the lower half of Oregon, Northern California, and several in the Nampa/Boise area. No one had jars! Then on Friday September 25, we were in a ranch store and saw a shelf with approximately 60 cases of quart jars and the other side of the aisle had 20 cases of half pint wide mouth jars! We grabbed 5 cases, (enough to finish the last of the tuna) and 10 minutes later decided to get some more just to hang on to, but the shelf was empty! Yes I believe there is a canning supplies shortage. I have taught two people to can over this summer and I am helping others to expand their canning knowledge and products.

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  22. Little to no canning supplies in west TN. Another problem that has arisen is the "knock off lids." They are coping Ball/Kerr lid boxes down to every detail and passing them off as the real thing when they are not. Please be aware that Ball/Kerr no longer sells directly to the public from their site which is freshpreserving.com. They do not have a site under "Ball or Kerr" anything dot com. Those are the fake sites. Many people in the FB canning groups are getting ripped off.

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  23. Little to no canning supplies in southwest Wisconsin. Have been told you can reuse the lids if you apply wax on them before reusing. Haven't tried it as of yet, so not sure on the outcome.

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  24. Patrice, I have been to the Lehman site. Cannot speak to the jars (I do not need those), but Tattler lids are at least two weeks out.

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  25. I am thankful that through prayerful guidance, that I listen to the Lord’s quiet whisper and stocked up. Had friends and family ask me for years why I had more than I used of rings and lids...and now I understand why. Also have tattler lids and seals now.

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  26. Western New York has been out of canning supplies for months. Lids are non existent anywhere here and I have only seen jars once. I stocked up a couple years ago and was able to help a friend who purchased a couple bushels of tomatoes and had no idea there was a lid shortage. If it is this short now I am wondering what next canning season will be like. I think we will either be able to find all kinds of canning supplies at garage sales or the supplies will get even tighter!

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  27. I just found jars at Piggly Wiggly and Publix in Birmingham, AL...on the same day.

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  28. I live on the coast of Oregon & the shelves are full of canning supplies here. I know that not a lot if people can here b/c we get alot of earthquakes & it's just not worth the effort to do all that work then have the jars break. I can't help but think its all political even down to the canning jars. Back east everyone cans so why didn't they send the jars there? Also, I believe some of it is the aluminum shortage so they can't make lids & rings. They stopped making my favorite Diet Cherry Dr.Pepper b/c of the aluminum shortage. We have a Pepsi distributor here in my town & I just had to know why I couldn't buy my soda anymore & they confirmed its the shortage. Sad times my friends.

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  29. none in utah, fortunately i had a good stock on hand. plus in june i went to an estate sale and got 15 boxes of canning lids for $6.. So people, check out estate sales, some of those grandma's had a stash of lids and jars. They new how to be prepared.

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  30. i have been saving all my smuckers peanut butter jars and lids for years. i freeze tomato juice, applesauce, sliced strawberries, and squash in them. so far in last 10 years no jars have broken in freezer. each jar holds 2 cups.

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  31. Patrice - maybe the next article should be about what any of us might speculate would go missing in the next few months. We are seven months into this scamdemic... what would logically be the next seasonal things that would be hard to get? SIDEBAR: I laughed.. I'm on the Oregon coast and one local grocery store was advertising their pumpkins as "canning pumpkins" --- hmmmmmm. For those of you who are missing out on canning because of a lack of jars or lids - you can still stock up - the first post was right - you can dry food. And there are a lot of beans and rice available right now and you can store those in 5 gallon buckets and all you need is time, water and heat to make that work.

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  32. Am I the only one to find this suspicious? Welcome to New America, guys. I hate to sound so pessimistic, but even if Trump wins the election and knocks away socialism and communism for another four years, he can be just as easily replaced by a Democrat right afterwards when the election is over.

    It is pretty terrifying to think about, but your own children may be the ones to witness the fall of America. I believe that it coming too soon. Shame that people are so easily made into fools who sell their ballots.

    Jenny Doe

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  33. Post Alley CrackpotOctober 2, 2020 at 9:32 PM

    I'm not a huge fan of the Weck canning system, but this is an option to consider.

    Weck says on their Web site that it'll be about one and a half to two weeks to ship anything, BTW.

    If you're in the Chicago area, I don't know if you could order and then offer to pick it the order, but it wouldn't hurt to see if that's an option.

    I prefer to use Ball and Mason jars with their rings, but there are people who prefer this system.

    The one advantage of Weck is that you don't have to look for lids and rings. The lids are glass and come with the jars, the seals are the type of rubber seals you normally see on European jars, and there are no rings, just clips to keep the lids and seals on the jars.

    But I'd also consider Le Parfait, Bormioli Rocco, and Luminarc glass jars with these seals if you're willing to experiment, especially because these come with very sturdy metal lever-lock lid retainers that for me are less fiddly than the clips.

    Also, I have yet to break a Luminarc jar except by doing something incredibly clumsy or stupid with it, but there's a price to be paid for that.

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    1. I looked at the link that you provided for the Weck system. Is there a canning book on the Weck system, or do you just wing it? The site does provide some info, and I think if you used brand new rubber rings you would have very little chance of failure. It is so different than what I am used to, I hesitate. The glasses are pretty though, and come in so many shapes!

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  34. In the 1930's I was in elementary school in the country in Western Pennsylvania. My memory of home canned goods was of glass lids and rubber rings with the sturdy metal lever-lock lid retainers. It seems the frugal Europeans didn't rush to embrace the disposable/need replacement philosophy as it developed in the U.S.
    Duane

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  35. We ordered 12 dozen boxes of each size from Tattler about a month ago, and noticed they'd been charged to our credit card about two weeks ago. We called last week as we hadn't received them. They said it's their policy to charge as they process the orders, but they'd be shipping in two days. We received them as promised.

    We ordered quite a quantity of lids from Lehman's in mid-September,knowing they were back-ordered. We got an email offering to cancel the order due to very delayed shipping, but called to reinforce we wanted to stay on their back-order list. We got another email last week saying they'd ship this month.

    Jars are no problem for us, we have plenty, but if we were forced into a long term event it's good to know we have the ability to can everything in our freezers, and re-use those jars as they're emptied.

    We've learned patience is of the essence in these shortages. Place the orders now, and follow up on them as time goes by.

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  36. The local Dollar General has pint Ball jars with ring and lid but decorated for the holidays and $1/each. They only had about 6.

    kathy in MS

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  37. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MI1QPyeTXps
    Liesa at Suttons Daze had important info... think about next year's canning supplies now..also don't forget seeds for next year's garden.

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  38. I was visiting family in an east Texas town over the weekend and went into their Tractor Supply Co store and only found pickling spices and 1 jug of vinegar on what should have been 4 shelves of canning supplies. Yesterday I saw some jars and pectin at our suburban Houston grocery store but no lids or rings.

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  39. I am wondering if there will be a shortage in soap/shampoo/conditioner and even laundry soap and dish washing soap. I know how to live without toilet paper, but not having all of the varieties of soap seems difficult to replace.

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  40. I am wondering if there will be a shortage in soap/shampoo/conditioner and even laundry soap and dish washing soap. I know how to live without toilet paper, but not having all of the varieties of soap seems difficult to replace.

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  41. I recently stumbled upon the method of fermenting veggies instead of canning them. For eons cultures have preserved vegetables with this method, such as sauerkraut and kimchee. Fermented veggies are raw and retain their enzymes and vitamins, plus they contain probiotics - and since a significant part of your immumunity comes from your gut, that's a REALLY good thing right now! Eating a tablespoon of fermented veggies daily is supposed to be just as good or better than taking a probiotic pill. Fermenting doesn't require special equipment or heat. You can use recycled glass food jars with their lids. So far I've made fermented zucchini relish and also fermented green tomato "pickles." There are numerous websites, YouTube channels, books, etc. on how to do it. I used the MasonTops brand silicone lids that keep oxygen out while allowing gases to escape, and also their brand of glass weights, but, you can also just manually "burp" any old regular, recycled jar. The key is to keep the vegetables submerged beneath a brine (use natural salt!)

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