Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Re-using disposable canning lids

A couple weeks ago, I saw an interesting piece on SurvivalBlog entitled "Reusing Canning Jar Lids."

I've been following the issue of lid shortages with great interest, so this article definitely caught my eye.

The writer addressed the issue of re-using disposable lids with a scientific approach, testing his technique for recovering the use of disposable lids. "Some websites warn that reusing canning lids is 'unsafe,'" he writes. "That's simply not true. The lids either work or they don't work and there’s no middle ground. ... The same rule applies whether you're using brand-new lids or recycling used lids for the 17th time: if the button on the lid is down after the jars cool, the contents are safe. If the button is up, the contents are safe as long as the jar is put into the refrigerator to be used first."

In my canning experience, I must agree he's right.

In a nutshell, his recommendations for successfully re-using lids is:

• Parboil the lids (meaning, drop them in water that is boiling hot, but with the heat off) to let the gaskets soften and return to their original shape;

Confirm the jar rims are perfect (no nicks) and perfectly clean.

Over the last few years, most of my canning has been done with Tattlers, but I still use disposable lids once in a while. More importantly, I've used disposable lids on some of my past canning projects, but I was always careless when removing the lids – uncaring if they got bent or distorted during removal.

So from now on, I'm going to save my used disposable lids and give this fellow's technique a try.


  1. Being able to reusel lids has always made sense to me. That is if the lid is not bent and the parboiled lids do not have an indention in the rubber. What he was saying is correct, If the lid seals, button pops, you should then be good to go.

  2. A lot of the old-timers in my area re-used them.

  3. I know this is a "no no", out of curiosity I tried canning peppers in pepper sauce in a non-canning jar with the button lid. Stores are full of all sorts of things in glass jars with button lids. It was a success. I told an old black lady who is a dear friend and come to find out she had done the same thing for years.
    I do not want to be a bad influence or encourage anyone to do anything unsafe. You cannot, repeat, cannot, pressure can in off jars. However, I am sharing because of so many shortages and who knows what's up the road. I save every glass jar with a gasket in the lid. Like Smuckers PB, which has no bump on the lid. They are great for dry goods so canning jars aren't being diverted from their primary purpose. Then the off jars with the bump on the lids are ok but I wouldn't use them for long term canning.

    Lastly, when we were growing up we also used pint and quart mayo jars for canning tomatoes. Canning lids fit. Only use these jars for water bath canning. Pasta sauces and salsas and other things still come in jars that work with a canning lid and ring. However, again, water bath only.

    Sorry this is so long but maybe it can help.

  4. The one thing the article did not say--dry the lid like you dry the jar! I dry both sides since water can easily run to the seal side.

  5. I have reused some lids for relatively benign things like pickled jalapenos and pickled garlic. That said, I fully inspect them and if there is a hint of anything, I throw them away. That said, I did procure reusable lids this year.

  6. I've always saved the lids and use for vacuum sealing. Works great and doesn't waste a new lid. I just keep reusing them.

  7. Canning supplies in the EU and UK are a shocking price. Early in we found that a company called Bertolli made their pasta sauces in jars that took 70 mm lids, as used by a company called Kilner. We used a lot of pasta sauce and collect off friends for a year. We still use those jars 15 years on and yes we often reuse the lids too. If the seal everything is good.
    The one thing unbelievably hard to obtain here are pressure canners. There is a ready market for them waiting to be filled. Perhaps someone should tell Lehmans!

    1. Lehman's can't get pressure canners either. I just went to the All American website ( -- they manufacture the most popular pressure canner stateside -- and nearly every model is still sold out. It's crazy.

      - Patrice

    2. I see this a s merely and indication of things to come. I'm afraid folks, it's going to get crazier before it gets any better as more and more people are planning on things falling apart at the seams. This fiasco of a pandemic showed people just where the loyalties of our elected officials lie, local, state and the worst abuser, there ferals..... No one can ever go wrong by being prepared....

  8. I saw something, think it might have been a YouTube video, on reusing old lids. They recommended using the rings from tattler lids with the old metal lids. Said it worked pretty good.

  9. I've reused disposable lids before.
    I most often use them with a vacuum sealer attachment, but I have also water bath canned them too.
    I find that some items stain the lid or make it harder to reseal, I only reuse clean (non-stained) lids.

  10. It's really just physics. I've reused the disposable lids before too but only if not dented or damaged from previous use.

  11. I vacuum seal food that I've freeze dried in Mason jars. I reuse the lids for this all the time. I've yet to have one fail! Since I'm vacuum sealing, if a lid does fail, I can just grab another lid and go at it again.

  12. I haven't made a habit of it, but I've had pretty good success reusing disposable lids one time if they have no flaws(only for water bath canning, not pressure). There was an old Yahoo canning group and one of the moderators said he'd done well reusing once, but on the second attempt he had a lot of failures.

    Although Ball says it isn't necessary, I still simmer my lids before using the first or second time.

    And I don't know how many or for how long, but Pleasant Hill Grain claims to have most sizes of All Americans in stock.

  13. I've reused lids without dents for years, for water bath canning. Very easy to tell if one doesn't seal, and if it didn't deposit the contents in the water bath!; one can re-can or try another lid! Nothing tricky.

  14. I've reused my lids for both water bath & pressure canning. Have about the same percentage of success as with a brand new lid.

  15. We have re used metal canning lids for several years. Just this afternoon my wife opened a pint of hamburger ( tacos to nite) we canned in 2015 , the lid was reused from something we canned in 2012. We reuse lids as much as possible and we use them with water bath as well a pressure canning.
    We also use some tattler lids as well.

  16. Well, now I have a new project to try! I always throw the lids out, but that won’t be happening anymore! Thanks, Patrice!

  17. I have to agree. I have reused lids to pressure can, too. I mark them with a sharpee and have 3 - 4 uses out of some followed by a few years of shelf time.

    1. Remove them very carefully every time. A tiny nick in the outer edge I will round by rolling it on a counter top. If I hit/nick the gasket, I don't waste my time with it.

    2. Wash/ soak for a little while in hot water to help soften gasket to relax shape before storing it.

    3. Lids with a lateral dent in the seal material or that are mis-shapen are garbage (Duh -same with new ones!)

    3. Inspect carefully as you would with new ones prior to use.

    4. Follow prescribed canning instructions as you always do.

    5. Before opening the jar, hold by the lid edges without the ring on and carefully lift jar. A well sealed jar has enough vacuum that it will easily hold the jar weight and then some.If the seal is bad it will release, so be ready over a sink or container. (Like Tattler recommends to check seal.)

    6. Do the sniff/visual test of food and reheat cook as you normally would.

    It is up to each person to decide personal comfort level of this process. This is my experience. I have done this for more than 5 years with a very high level of success.

    When working on machinery and pumps it is not uncommon to reuse gaskets and O-Rings that are still flexible and in 'like new' condition and get years more use from them. Having a jar fail now and then is easier to remedy than a system shutdown due to a leaky pump! And remember, we have all had new lids fail!

  18. I have lots of extra lids, but my problem is with a canner. The bottom of one of my two pressure canners warped last summer, but I continued to use it. (I do most of my canning in my pole barn. This keeps the heat outside, keeping the house cool.) I was at the top of the list to get a new canner last September from the local hardware store. They still haven’t gotten any! I do a lot of canning, and it would take forever with only one canner. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I asked my mother if she had my grandma’s canner and if I could have it. She gave it to me. (My mother honestly never cooks. She eats every meal out and the only food in her house, other than ice cream, is what I put in her pantry so she would have something to eat during an emergency.) I’m getting a new gasket for my grandma’s pressure canner and look forward to canning with it.