Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Canning supplies: Still a problem

Once in a while I dip into the issue of canning supply shortages, wondering what the status is. I've noticed there seems to be some canning jars in local grocery stores again, though lids still seem to be missing. But what's going on in the wider world?

So this morning I got onto the Lehman's website (which is kind of my "indicator" source) to see what's up. Looks like supplies are still sold out. Here's the announcement for regular-mouth canning jars:

Underneath the entry is the note: "Due to high demand, the vendor has been sending supply of styles that vary. We are sorry for the inconvenience, but we cannot guarantee a particular style."

Same thing for all jar sizes, such as wide-mouth quart.

Canning lids, of course, are completely gone. I've always kicked myself for not getting a few shipments of bulk lids when they were available. Despite mostly using Tattlers, I like having disposable lids as well.

Lehmans has been hammering at the doors of their suppliers, to no avail:

Reusable lids still seem to be in stock, which was nice to see (although the reviews indicate some people aren't familiar with how to use them).

Next, I checked pressure canners. As you might have guessed, none are available. Here's a mid-range All-American canner:

(A quick check on the All American Canner website confirms the lack of availability.)

I checked in with Glenda Lehman Ervin, VP of Marketing, to get her take on the situation. She wrote back and said:

"Yes, canning supplies are very difficult to get, as are certain Lodge cast iron products, wood cook stoves and Berkey water filters.

We do have stock of canned meat now, as well as Aladdin lamp oil and several key gardening products, which were back ordered.

Each week we get lots of product in, but it turns right around as we fill back orders and supply pent-up demand.

We ask customers to please be patient – we are working on increasing our communication on the status of back orders.  We do recommend placing an order to reserve your place in line!"

This is an immensely frustrating situation for retailers. Remember, they can't sell what they can't get.

What has been your experiences, dear readers? Do you have any suggestions for those looking for canning supplies?

41 comments:

  1. We have a Runnings Store near us. Last weekend, they were well stocked with Ball and Kerr jars, all sizes. reg and wide mouth. Lots of jelly jars. Prices were about the same as in the past. No surejell or lids. Im in Southern Vermont Our local Ace Hardware had a brand of jars and lids, made in China. I will do without before buying them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here we n western NC I’ve been able to pick up a few cases of jars with lids, but no packages of lids. The jars with lids are very expensive.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Our local Cal Ranch store has jars with lids and rings in all sizes and quite a lot of them. Had a few wide mouth lids, I was able to get 6 boxes, $4.99 each, a bit higher than last year, but not unexcpected. I also watch estate sales for lids and jars.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Curious, so, many pages I visit talk about failure rate with Kerr and Ball lids. Knock offs? I had a 70% failure rate with the Tattlers a few years ago, I'm shy about using again. Also, seeing people reuse traditional lids over... scared of that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As someone else mentioned, Tattlers definitely have a learning curve. I was very disappointed by the high failure rate I was having until I learned they must be very, very hot (basically I boil them) before being put on the jars. Once I figured that out I've been very pleased with their performance.
      Does anyone else here have suggestions for use? I like the idea of not HAVING to buy lids every year although, like Patrice, I like having disposable lids on hand, too. We enjoy sharing our bounty - especially jams - and I don't want to give away my Tattlers!

      Delete
    2. Tattler lids MUST RE RETIGHTENED immediately after you remove them from the canner while they are still hot. I put on two hot mitts and grab each jar and give the lid a good hard twist. If you do that, you should have no problems. We can weekly and have pretty much 100% success with Tattler lids. We use them exclusively. Tractorguy

      Delete
    3. I tried Tattlers for a few years and had about a 20% failure rate with them (both the originals and newer ones). I still have them but no longer use them. There may be ways to reduce that, but I wasn't able to do any better. I always got an initial seal, but they would lose their seals in storage weeks or months later.

      Delete
    4. I use Tattler lids and agree. They MUST be retightened while hot. I use a Nesco electric canner (love, love, love it), start it up and walk away. To remember to return to the kitchen to tighten the lids, I set the timer on the stove to remind me.
      Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

      Delete
    5. I've used tattler lids exclusively for the last 10 years, the older style, and can hundreds of jars a year. The older lids and rubber gaskets are still working great with an almost 100% seal rate every time and they stay sealed for years on the shelf. I bought a bunch more of the older style lids and gaskets when they had a sale on them before they switched to the newer old style ones and they are awful. While they initially all seal, at least 20% open up on the shelf within the next month or two. It's only with those particular lids and gaskets, not the older ones. I've tried newer replacement gaskets on those lids, and same issue, some of the lids will just not stay sealed regardless of what is done, it's a flaw in the lids, more common on the wide-mouth ones made then. I'm really thinking for a while they had some quality issues with their lids, since I only have issues with that batch of lids, it was when they did specials of 100 regular mouth and 100 wide mouth for a crazy cheap deal, I stocked up. I never had any luck with contacting the company either, they just blew me off. My suggestion is if you are having seal problems, mark the particular lid with a permanent marker, just a dot even. In the future when you rerun that lid, see if it is one that reopens again. For me it is the same lids every single time, so you very well could have defective plastic lids. I have around 200 lids that I can't use because of that reason. But the rest of them work like a charm, no issues.

      Delete
  5. I only buy Kerr and Ball, and it seems Ball at least is back on the shelf. I never even look for Kerr unless Ball is out. There are lesser brands, too. I won't buy them. The only thing I need are lids for wide mouth. I live in Alabama.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Tattlers definitely have a learning curve, and I’m grateful that I had a chance to work out the kinks.
    I am waiting on my freeze dryer, and plan on using more Mylar and vacuum sealing jars (I’ll reuse those lids, as they haven’t gotten hot).

    ReplyDelete
  7. Jars have been hit and miss around here. I haven't seen any lids. The reusing of lids is really just physics (IMO). I will at times. I am actually glad to hear this. To me it means more folks are getting connected with their food which is a good thing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Uline has canning lids back in stock: https://www.uline.com/BL_8192/Ball-Glass-Canning-Jars scroll to the bottom of the page for boxes of lids. The shipping charges add quite a bit to the cost.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for letting us know about uline. I just ordered some lids for backup to my tattler lids. There haven't been any locally for over a year.

      Delete
  9. We just bought lids today. Limit of 6 dozen but they are available. At least for now...

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have through the years gotten tons of lids at estate sales, I just kept buying them due to the advise on Survivalblog.com Glad I paid attention. I just checked eBay and they have a lot, over 3,000 listing of lids and rings. Check it out, however they will probably be spendy.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think the lesson from it, apart from being prepared, is that despite so many unemployed, laid off and all the Covid restrictions people are still finding the cash to purchase jars and even canners. In other words many many more people have woke up to the fact that there is a very rocky road ahead.

    ReplyDelete
  12. We shop at our local Amish store, where there are good quantities of supplies... for the time being.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I’m in north Idaho. I found jars, pectin, and two boxes of wide rings for lids at Winco in Moscow. Also at Tri-State in Moscow they have several sizes of jars. Both places had Kerr and ball.
    We’re going to Moscow this morning and I’m going to check at the little Walmart there.
    My husband’s grandmother told me back in the mid seventies when she was teaching me to can to have both regular and wide jars because you never knew which lid would be available. There was a lid shortage then too.
    TS in the Benewah

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love my Tattlers. I found out about them from you here years ago, Patrice - thank you! As long as I follow the directions for them and don't just automatically do like I do with disposable lids, they always seal and stay sealed at a rate better than what I get with the disposables. I'm glad I ordered more two years ago...
    XaLynn

    ReplyDelete
  15. South East Arizona here. Last fall I was able to buy Walmart's brand regular Lids and Ball wide mouth, I bought all that they had so I am in good shape for this years caning season . I have not looked this yr to see what they do or don't have, but in the past they have pretty much had most supplies with the exception of lids ( any size ).

    ReplyDelete
  16. Vancouver BC Canada metro area. I keep finding jars of various sizes at the local thrift store. Lids are another matter. The grocery store listed them as available on their web page but none were in the store.
    On a different topic - went to the local garden store yesterday for a pair of gloves. Virtually none in stock. Asked the staff and they said deliveries of gloves are very spotty right now.

    SJ in Vancouver BC

    ReplyDelete
  17. Just talked to Lehman's...3-24-at 3pm. They are out and they are not taking back orders any longer.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Lower Michigan. Ordered more Tattler lids, regular and wide mouth, some extra rubber rings and they have shipped already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lower Michigan! I'm north of Jackson, south of Lansing! Nice to find another Rural Rev reader so close!
      XaLynn

      Delete
    2. Hi XaLynn
      I'm south of Lansing, east of Battle Creek, west of Jackson. Same here....glad to know there are some folks on this blog from Michigan!

      Delete
  19. Lower Michigan here.
    Bought seed potatoes and onion sets last week. Glad I did. I was told they weren't sure they would get anymore in.

    ReplyDelete
  20. In Texas, our Dollar General has lids.

    ReplyDelete
  21. 3-24-21...4pm I just bought the last lids from ULine but they are taking back orders and are expecting more in next week.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm finding reg. mouth pint jar cases here in NorCal, but the brand is Anchor Hocking. No boxes of lids of any size, but late last fall, I ordered a dozen boxes of each size, at a reasonable price, but discovered they were made in China and the boxes were made to look like Ball. I examined and used some: unacceptable failure rate, due to thinner metal and thinner rubber ring. Used in pressure canning, some of the lids buckled, others sealed. I still have most of them, and don't know if they'd respond better to hot water bath canning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rebel Canners (on facebook) have regular failures of the lids ordered off amazon. I'd rather reuse older lids than use the ball knockoffs from amazon/china.

      Delete
  23. We have noticed that canning supplies across the board are in very short supply in our S E WA area. When we see jars or lids we do stock up a bit .One of our goals is to have enough jars and lids on standby to can everything out of our freezers if there is a power outage of long duration.
    Bluesman

    ReplyDelete
  24. I was notified last week that my reusable canning lids, which I had ordered in November from Lehman's, were shipping.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I picked up an All American pressure canner at a auction in Feb. I showed the husband the difference between the price of this compared to new, which wouldn’t ship until September. He was impressed. We looked all over our small town and no lids were available. Now a month later, they’re very scarce.
    So, I ordered 100 Tattler lids, 50 wide & 50 regular. I’ve practiced with them, both water bath and pressure canning. It’s a learning curve, but I’m getting better!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I haven't seen any lids in stock, but jars are reasonably available (never very many 12-packs on the shelves, but I've seen wide- and regular-mouth pints and quarts frequently).

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi there, I’ve been reading your blog a few months but haven’t commented until now. I wanted to add that here in southern Ohio ball jars and lids are in abundance at both Tractor Supply & similar stores as well as local grocery stores. Especially quart size wide mouth and the little jelly jars. All other sizes as well as other canning supplies are there but it’s slim pickings. I bought a 12 pack of quart size last night for $12 and some change. That’s about $2 more than last year.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Lower middle Tennessee, 50 miles south of Nashville in a small town. Finally found some jars at Walmart last week. Bought 5 cases and left one for someone else. Hated to take them all even though I could use them. No lids though and haven't seen anything at any other store in town since last year.
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm in south-central Idaho and every store, minus walmart, has had jars and lids in stock for the last couple months. There seems to be a bigger shortage of jars than lids in my area.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Upstate NY here. I've not really been shopping canning supplies, as I have enough on hand to get me through at least this summer, if not next summer. However I've been keeping a general eye on it at the stores. For a while they had NOTHING, but for a couple months now they've had jars with lids on the shelves. No JUST lids, or JUST rings. And jar sizes, styles, and brands have varied by ALOT. But there is something on the shelves if you need jars.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Just one question, does canning season really ever end?!?

    ReplyDelete
  32. We ordered lids from Lehman's last August, and their latest answer was this July for shipment. Their delivery dates have been moving back a couple months every time we've checked.

    A couple years ago we bought 700 jars from a private party, some old, some not so old. We've found that many of the old jars aren't a good fit with new disposable lids - don't seal. We sterilize the jars we're going to use, then take a new Ball lid and check its fit to each jar. Those jars that the lid slides around on and doesn't feel secure we put aside to use Tattlers on as the Tattle gasket is wide enough to accommodate the variations in the jar mouths. A little more work, but a whole lot less aggravation.

    ReplyDelete