Can I Reuse Canning Lids on My Jars? Some Say Yes, Some Say No
Can you reuse canning lids? Someone on the blog recently commented that she reuses ordinary canning lids on her jars. I have not tried that yet. It is not a recommended practice. However some have had good results.
My concern has been that if I try it, and it doesn’t work (the lids don’t seal), then I’ve wasted my canning efforts for that batch.
So let me ask YOU. Have you had success or failure trying to reuse canning lids for a second time around? Have you ever tried it?
(UPDATED with more information and tips for reusing canning lids, and using Tattler lids)
I will first talk about Tattler lids. Then, tips about reusing your own ordinary lids.
I know they make ‘ Tattler ‘ reusable lids designed for this (and you can comment on that too). But I’m especially curious about standard canning lids.
Tattler Reusable Lids
(view on amzn)
It comes as a lid and gasket. According to some reviews, apparently there are a few tricks to using them. Tighten the lid just snug, then loosen just a bit (about 10 degrees). “If they are put on too tight they make a dome and may break (while processing). If they are too loose they might blow off in the canner.” Also, fully tighten the ring when it comes out. Sounds like “practice makes perfect”.
Watch out for these potential causes of lid failure:
- A tiny flaw in the mouth of the jar.
- A tiny piece of food on the mouth of the jar.
- Incorrect headspace according to the recipe.
A Texas Homesteader said, “…with a Tattler reusable lid – if you don’t adjust your tightening procedure before & after canning and instead try to tighten it the same as conventional canning lids before placing in the canner, that could be the most common cause for reusable canning lid seal failure.”
Tattler says the following:
Tattler Lids do require a bit of variation from conventional metal lids. Being a two piece combination with a rubber gasket ring, Tattler Lids must remain a bit loose during processing in order for the jar to vent the pressure that has built in the jar during processing. An online customer gave us a very good tip on how tight is ‘Just Right’. To get the feel for the correct tightness prior to processing, place the jar on a counter top or other smooth surface, then place your index finger on the lid (do not apply too much pressure while tightening the metal band). Screw the metal band on until the jar begins to spin on the counter top (or other smooth surface). This is the perfect tightness for processing!
Evidently it is important with Tattler lids, after removing from the canner, shortly after the bubbling slows down – but still very hot – put a towel over the hot jars and finish tightening the metal rings. When cool, remove the rings and check the lids to be sure they are sealed.
Can You Reuse Canning Lids
I searched the internet for some answers. Here are some statements that I found:
“These lids have a special sealing compound around the rim that is only good for one use.”
“When you use a lid on a jar for canning, it forever leaves an imprint and just won’t seal adequately the next time.”
“Once the gummy, rubbery seal on the lid is heated and cooled, it can‘t make the same quality of seal again.”
But then there was this success story:
“Finally I got around to trying it and indeed they sealed up nicely. I heated the used lids up with some hot water first to soften the seals and every single one of them worked as if they were brand new!”
If you are going to try and reuse canning lids, how-to advice…
First, this is not recommended practice by canning lid companies. With that said, many have had success. Here are a few tips if you try to reuse your canning lids.
Go Through Your Lids
- Go through your lids. Don’t use any that appear dented or bent. Throw them out.
- Use only the best looking lids.
- Wash the lids in hot, soapy water. Be sure to wash clean the seal of any residue.
- Your used lids seal will have an indent where it sealed last time. Boil the lids for 20 minutes and let cool. This will diminish that indent and somewhat restore it.
- Now you can simply save those lids for reuse later. Store them separately. Mark them as used.
How-to Open A Canning Lid Without Damaging It
If you want a chance at reusing your canning lids, then you should try not to damage the lids from the first batch when you open them!
We’ve been using this handy tool for years with great success. In fact I just recently replaced it, because they do wear out after awhile (the pry lip portion of the tool).
Brix JarKey Opener
I took a picture while Mrs. J held the lid opener in position. The trick is to hold the jar with your left hand while using your right hand to get the tool’s lip underneath the canning lid edge. Then pull up while gently prying up the tool. Slow and steady. I like this way better than prying with a butter knife.
Maybe it’s a good idea to save your used canning lids for preparedness, “just in case”. In other words, if times got tough such that you couldn’t get any more lids, then these might work…
I don’t see a safety issue with reusing canning lids because if they don’t seal, it will be obvious (assuming you check!). You must check the seal afterwards, and when it’s cool.
Tip: This is what I do after every batch… After the jars cool, remove the rings. Then check the lids to be sure they are sealed tight. I just use a finger and try to pry the lid. It should be absolutely tight.
“The ball site recommends lifting the jar by the lid to test the seal. Of course if the seal is weak, things’ll get a little messy.”
Anyone who’s into canning knows that it’s not a good idea to consume foods where the seal has failed (unless it’s right away after the canning process).
My concern would be lid failure to seal and having wasted the time making that batch.
So again, have any of you tried reusing canning lids?
Save Money and buy your canning lids in bulk:
[ Read: How To Pressure Can Chicken ]
[ Read: How To Fix Pressure Canner Problems ]
I inspect the lids and if the rubber looks good without too much indentation I will reuse but only on jellys and jams. Too much work to can and then not have a good seal. I do save most all of my used lids if the rubber looks good and if there are no spots on inside of lid, just in case something happens and they aren’t available any more. My mom used to reuse her lids over and over as long as she couldn’t see metal where the rubber suppose to be. I’m pretty sure they don’t put as much rubber on them now.
Bands yes, lids never as the seal is flawed and can easily become contaminated.
I’m with you Paul. Lids are about .020 each. Why would someone risk losing a jar of food or getting sick for that much money
IF they are cleaned well, boiled to sterilize and are not bent.. any “not sealed will be noticeable on removing from canner. I get more ” failure to seal from NEW” lids than i do re used…. One re uses LIDS because there are NONE to purchase. companins are putting out the jars and lids as a kit – which they make more money on,ignoring the need for lids only.
I am picky about the lids i choose to reuse. Like veggies i generally reuse on jams and heat the lids before placing them on the jars. I have a 100 percent success rate.
I made 24 jars of pepper jelly last night. NONE of the jelly set, so I need to recook it. But that means I need to recan/process it. Right now you cannot find lids anywhere. Do you think its safe to reuse the lids that I used?
If they’re not damaged or bent, the seal still intact, I’d go ahead and reuse them. Make sure the center bubble (if they have one) still pops up and down easily and is in the up position.
From everyone who done it, say yes. If you can find paraffin wax you can seal your jelly with it until you find lids.
When you pull the wax off the jelly for consuming, save the wax. Rinse the food off the wax put it away until you need it again.
If you can find paraffin purchase it, as there is no telling when lids will be available again.
Yes, I have been reusing lids for years with no failures. Some lids I have reused 5 times. Just make sure the lid isn’t damaged and the rubber isn’t cut or missing any sections. If the lid is pulled down (dented in), it is sealed, whether you used a new lid or reused lid. People need to think outside the box. Just because you have been told something doesnt make it true.
I do the same. Only failure ever was on a new lid out of the box!
I do the same. Only failure ever was on a new lid out of the box!
Cathe.. yes works fine. In the past, when many used mayonaise jars to “hot pack” tomatoes, you could seal the mayonaise list. Sealed up tightly.
2 cents each? I’d Ike to know where you get them! Most likely you mean 20 cents….
can we still use wax?
The paraffin when removed from jam or jelly’s you rinse off the fruit material, put it away for the next time you need it to seal the jam. Warm up the wax, check for any fruit floating in the liquid remove it. You can use it over and over again. What they used during WWII
Just tried it for the first time today- every single one sealed just fine on my green beans. I also read it’s not recommended, but agree that it will be obvious if they don’t seal, right? My friend who is a huge gardener and canner, (and probably 15 years older than me) says she has always reused them.
I only reuse lids when dry canning, ie I have a vacuum sealer and I will store dry goods like beans, rice, pasta in the gallon jars with oxygen absorbers. I believe with wet canning the rubber seal could become contaminated with the liquid from the food. Just my 2 cents, lids are cheap enough.
you can’t find lids or jars now
Iola, that’s true. Can’t find lids or jars anywhere. I’ve had to order some online but am still waiting on them.
I will reuse canning lids on some items like pickles, jellies, cheese sauces and some veges. I also reuse lids for dry canning (rice/beans) or storing non-food items. Never reuse a lid for meat/poultry/fish. Any lid that has a pry-mark from opening with a bottle opener gets throw out. I inspect the rubber and if it has no chinks or chunks in it I will soak the lid in steamy water to soften the rubber and reinspect it. After canning and cooling I give it the finger lift test; if I can push the lid off with my fingers, the item is put in the frig and used quickly.
I will only re-use them for storing something in jars. To re-use a lid you must understand the statement it “will not seal AS WELL.” Huge statement. It may LOOK well-sealed, but probably isn’t. Who wants to risk food poisoning? Egads. Buy new lids for original canning. Re-use only for storage. Please be safe about this.
I only reuse mine on stuff I store dry in jars. It’s just not worth the risk, and the cost of your hard work by reusing lids. Buy them online in a sleeve of a couple hundred. They are cheap.
I agree with this post. Even one jar of home-grown tomatoes not sealing is a waste for me.
We do not reuse lids. I have a stockpile of them in the garage. I have thought about reusing them for dry goods storage only. It really depends on how you open your jars. If you use a can opener to pry the lid off, you will put a ding in the lid and it will not give you a good seal. if you are able to open the lid with you fingers (tough hands!) , they will have a better chance of being in good enough shape to try them again. I liked “Miss IMIM” comment above. I am going to look into buying them by the sleeve online. I have also had some luck doing that for ‘food saver’ type bags. try U-Line for them, much cheaper if they will work in your sealer.
Lehmans online. Huge sleeves of lids in bulk. I use them. Seal very well.
Same place I purchase our bulk canning lids. Do you watch for their specials that they have around the beginning of canning season?
Sometimes they have free shipping &/or 10 percent off their products.
Yes! I stock up!
Was looking at those,
How do they hold up corrosion wise?
They are on sale this weekend
I have reused them, prefer not to, but in a pinch will attempt it. Usually will place that one in the fridge once cooled.
I reuse lids up to 3 times (put an x on them for each time used) if they aren’t dinged from being opened and the rubber looks okay. Heat them up before putting on the jar. Haven’t had any more failures to seal than I do with brand new ones.
I’m with you. Use them until you can’t. Have never had sealing problems 2nd or 3rd time around. I drop them in a boiling water bath until putting them on a jar. I won’t reuse any lid however if the enamel is scarred or damaged.
I keep and store Used Lids, will not reuse for ‘Hot’ Canning but for Dry and vacuum storage.
For now Lids are cheap and one should keep a few hundred away for “If/When”. AND those Used lids will also come in handy If/When.
NRP, Your comment above this post is EXACTLY why I attempted to re use lids in the first place. I know it is NOT recommended. I did not ask anyone’s advise, nor am i giving it for anyone to do so. Just reporting the limits i have found.
Most lids can be used 2 to4 times if handled carefully , washed thoroughly, inspected diligently..there is no damage on either the inside of the lid- no scratch, no damage to the gasket, it is pliable and is rubber has no discoloration.I did have a few i used 5 times. In a time when there are NO LIDs to be purchased…I considered the experiment to have value.
I did/do not want to have to do the things Grandma did to make them re-useable.
…Did you ever wonder why Grandma or Great Grandma had that rubberized cement paint in the kitchen?You know the 9-12 z can with the screw on lid…and with the little soft applicator…? She canned 900-1000 jars every year…for a family of 7+others..
I wanted to know my limits with supplies i had on hand..Knowing i need to stock as much as possible.,( I came to this conclusion by figuring how many jars one would require to secure enough food for a family for all meals for 6 months of fall/winter/spring) i kept buying as i had ability… now when everyone is screaming “there are No lids for sale anywhere!”. I am blessed to have and know my limits.
Blue & (NRP)
Blue you need to have your dad check my posting on where to find those canning lids. He was probably in the kitchen making you a nice dinner, so be a good puppy and have him check out this for your future great doggie meals which he may can.
Let him know that the gold regular lids were sold out so he will have to order the silver ones for your special meals.
Sierra says whooof
You’ve posted a few times now about this website having lids. Yes, they do, and it’s better than not being able to get them at all, so I’m sure people are grateful for it.
It’s hard to believe that wide lids are $9 for 12 and regular lids are $7 for 12. (These are their SALE prices, and that ends in an hour.) That doesn’t even include shipping, which I didn’t look at. There was a discount for buying more than a dozen, I think, but the prices are still unbelievable. Last May, I could buy lids for $3.89 and $2.29 for a dozen, and that was after prices had already started jumping.
Have you found lids lately in a open market, as in local TSC, grocery store, hardware store? Probably not, yes they are pricy compared to what we are use to.
Yet when they are NO longer available anywhere, and you require them. The choice is always the purchasers discretion. I purchased lids on the e bay when none were available, an compared to these prices the bay was expensive.
My concern is what about next year when canning season comes around. Will they limit the amount of supply to the retailer or basically say sorry. Our manufacture(s) no longer makes these so we will not carry them any longer. One has to look at the long range forecast for supply & demand.
Then there is the control factor, which is being used a lot since they pushed the covid19 on to the American public.
If you buy 12 packages, the price drops to $5 and change per pack. Higher than it was earlier this year, but the best price I’ve found.
Ah, much better prices! I hadn’t looked further because I still have plenty (thankfully!)–at least enough for a few years. I’m counting on things getting better at some point and being able to get them more cheaply again. If that doesn’t happen, I may be kicking myself for not grabbing more now. At this point, I’m leaving them for people who have a more urgent need.
Wendy, I’m in agreement the price is way inflated. It is a challenge to find lids, but Walmart gets shipments in on a regular basis. It’s a matter of watching their website and making a dash or do order and pickup.. I’ve been able to get Regular and Wide mouth Ball lids for under $4 and Mainstay for $1.47 a pack.
Thanks for the tip. I have not been checking for them online (like I said, I have a lot of lids), but I haven’t seen them in person at WM for months. When I just checked WM online, they have some wide ones available, but they’re $18 for a dozen lids. Whoo-ee! Someone’s making money.
that’s a scam site and it’s been taken down!
I did three batches of pears–lost one in each of two batches. One batch new lids, one batch old lids. When I examined the “old” lid failure I discovered some bubbles/pits in the seal that I hadn’t noticed when choosing lids. That happens, periodically, and I have never had a lid seal that had bubbles in it. Look at your new lids as well–sometimes they have the same problem. No reason I could see for the other failure.
Lids can’t be used forever. The “popper” starts to fail, the seal starts to fail.
Examine the lids each time.
I wish someone could give me real information on how to use the tattlers. The things work OK in pressure canning. In waterbath they’re impossible and keep rattling off in the water no matter how I follow the directions. I stopped using them because I kept losing entire batches. I get all kinds of information about why–too tight, too loose, wrong processing, wrong temperature, wrong headspace, blah, blah, blah.
Wax was used a lot, poured right over the product in the bottle, an inch or so thick. They also used far more sugar or salt, filled the jars right up to the top, and many canning recipes had alcohol in the recipe. (Don’t have your favorite drink? Open up a bottle of peaches!) Fermentation was used a lot more as well.
Yes . I have secured jellies and jams using parrafin and i have some, know how to use and re use.will be able to make some jelly/jam- not high on our priority list, since we have sufficient.
Yes they used rubberized cement on the used canning lids, and made sure it was dry before they filled the jars..- guessing they let them sit on the stove or near the stove while the fire died out to make sure it was dry..guessing it was done periodically as jars were opened and lids were found that required care….as time would be required for it to thoroughly dry…. It had a swab that was used to apply to inner ring of the canning lids-so jars would seal., kept down in the can with it cranked down tight they would be able to extent the life of limited supplies.
yes,. i have added peach syrup to iced tea to sweeten and flavor it…
Yes…they fermented and salted a lot of food. They used crocks for those process… Hams were sugar cured.using molasses sugar, salt and assorted spices.often were hung and smoked…
Now -we are on sugar restricted -salt restricted and other specialized diets for various conditions…. We do not eat anything fermented (except kraut one time a year for Hubs)..Rarely eat heavily salted meats.yes i know it must be boiled in water to be edible… ..wonder if why they died at average age mid 50’s?
If you want to be able to secure your food -do your research and use the best practice possible…. know what breaks the seals, what causes jars to unseal, take steps as part of your routine to preent all of them each time…. everything from lid failure,lack of conditioning of rubber,, to bringing or releasing pressure too fast. overfilling jars, nicks in jars rims, jars that have cracked.
some lids on jars canned in 99, are 2x as thick as what i purchased last year.
Yes, I found old canning lids from what era(lol)I do not recall.
One can see the difference in the gasket material lining on the lids which were created then, versus now cheap they are with the same material now.
The new lids are designed for a use once & toss, so you will purchase more.
One of these days (when I have no other experiments pending) I need to figure out a substitute to the gaskets. : )
Lauren – Forgive me if this sounds stupid, and I know nothing about canning, but what about a thin layer of RTV (room temperature vulcanizing) silicone? So far as I know it only slightly outgasses acetic acid, (could help inhibit bacterial growth?) but when cured should be entirely inert. Engine crankcases are assembled with this stuff now, instead of traditional gaskets.
Hm. Research is needed.
Looks like moisture (humidity) is actually needed for the curing process, so pressure canning may be a possibility but not sure about water bath. Too much moisture? Would the substance allow for the bottles to vent during processing, then seal at room temperature? Or would it seal immediately and result in the bottles exploding? More research is needed.
i just wonder about how food safe the RTV is,,,
being able to apply a thin even coat to the gasket grove too, has to be almost perfect
maybe apply a bead, then cover with waxed paper and just set a bottle on it upside down ???
its too bad the tattler lids arent more consistent with results
We re use canning lids and have for quite some time.The newer lids seem to be thinner metal with a little thinner gasket. If one does not seal, we use the food immediately. We seem to get about 3 uses out of them.
If in doubt it is thrown out.
I save the lids that are in good shape but do not use them for anything except dry canning at the moment – I would reuse them for jams, applesauce or pickles but never pressure canning. I have used the tattler with some success – it is a bit trickier to get just the right amount of tightness on the lid when canning to get a good seal. Also, they do not seal as well for sticky contents, but do just fine for meat or pickles.
I have better seal success with old lids than new. I use the new lids for pressure canning, and after that for water bath canning. If the seal still looks good and the lid isn’t warped I’ll reuse them multiple times.
I inspect each lid before I use it. The rim has to be unbent, the pop-up still flexible (not stuck in the “down” position) and the seal undamaged. Sometimes the seal will develop bubbles that also create a problem, and if that happens I discard those lids or use them for other things.
Older lids have a gasket that was thick enough to recover its shape when its heated. Those I seem to be able to use indefinitely.
Ancillary to this a neighbor and I were doing some canning recently. We talked about how many jars and lids we would need if we had to put up all the food we ate year round, except for fresh. A whole lot more than we had, for sure.
If you LIKE and EAT fermented foods, you could get by with many less than one would think. I was watching a lady on you tube earlier today a pantry tour of their year -cool storage. She had everything from liquiors with fruits of all kinds ,to string beans,krauts-spiced and not , green fermented salsa , crocks of pickles, whole cabbages and beets. we rarely eat any fermented foods… so will not help us.
Just an observance… Need for canning lids will also depend on family size and size jars utilized..quart jars with deboned meat will feed a large family. a pint with bone in – not so much.. will require more smaller jars-not so many larger ones…
the original Just Sayin’
. . . .
True, and I do have several gallons of vinegar on hand. At first I thought you were responding to my weekend comment about loaning jar lids to a neighbor. I prep with an eye to surviving a long-term grid-down event. Am saving all my used jar lids regardless of condition. Figure if the power goes out will be doing a lot more drying. All that can go in jars with rings. Even if lid is not perfect would expect adequate performance keeping product usable for a year or so.
I started using the Tattler reusable lids several years ago and love them. They’re more expensive initially, they’re made of plastic and have a separate rubber ring that can be separately and replaced if it gets nicked I still use metal lids for vacuum sealing jars and will reuse them as long as they hold a good seal.
If I use them to vacuum seal something like dry pasta, then I will reuse them for vacuum sealing again… If it is for traditional canning for something wet like carrots or string beans, I say no.
After reading a news paper clipping about my grt grandmother’s cook dying from food poisonings. The cost of buying metal lids in bulk is a better option for us. I have used tattler lids and like metal canning lids.
In order for the rubber gaskets and plastic lids to work properly, they require being kept warm. If applied cool/cold to the warm/hot jar it will not seal and your time will be wasted.
Learned from my mistakes.
Yes. We learned from our mistakes also. And when using Tattlers you tighten them a bit AFTER they come out of the canner for a good seal. Patrice Lewis at Rural_revolution blog has done excellent articles on using Tattler lids. Search her archives.
Antique collector andDJ5280:
Thanks for the tip on Tattlers. Will do that.
AC & DJ — I think that I will do a small batch of pressure-canned beef broth to test my Tattler gaskets and rings one-more-time. My problem has mostly been with meats, due to the fat contents bubbling up and interfering with the gasket seal. So, I will read the articles over at the recommended website and see if there is a ‘hint’ or two that could help the process along.
Early on in the manufacturing of the Tattler products, I bought a full case of both lid sizes and lid rubber gaskets. I have always had issues with them, with too many failures. But I will try again — maybe I need those lids and gaskets to be hotter than I was doing?
Sure hope I can get the Tattlers to behave correctly. The cases were expensive, but solve the issue of not having enough lids for long term.
I stopped using the tattlers because no matter how I do the lids/gaskets/etc, bottles rattle open in canning. Pressure canning was no problem, but again no matter how I prepared them I lost probably 1 out of 10. Totally unacceptable. With “dangerous” re-used lids I’ve had one failure in the four years I’ve been doing this, and they stay sealed. I’ll continue using the reused lids because failures for “new” lids are higher. Failures for tattler lids are higher.
I surely see your point, Lauren. Kinda ironic, isn’t it? lol
I used to get so irritated at the failures — meat sauce for spaghetti was the worst, and after going to all of the work to make basic, thick tomato sauce, then to add the ground beef in and pressure can it to have a 40%-50% failure rate, I had to admit defeat.
Doing beef broth will be a good test for me to try this another way that has worked for others. If the jars don’t seal, we’ll have ready-to-drink bone broth. No loss.
I will let folks know the results and will do it 2 weeks from now (busy this week).
I do not normally reuse lids once the jar is opened. I usually use new lids every time, as they’re not too expensive, YET. However, I do save a lot of used lids if they look decent, and are not dented. Like others here, I will use them for dry canning, jelly or jam, etc. I have been trying some of those Tattler lids the last year or two, and they seem to be working out well. Might get a few more next year. I suppose in a SHTF situation, when new lids may become unavailable, a person would want to save every lid that looks good. You never know.
I used to re-use the metal lids — many years ago. My husband did NOT approve, and it’s probably because his mother and grandmother were adamant about not reusing metal lids. He convinced me to quit re-using them. So now, all of our “used” metal lids are either tossed or used for sealing jars that hold other things.
Thinking back, I don’t recall any canning failures with the re-used metal lids, but the older lids aren’t the same as the newer lids — I can feel and see the difference between them.
What concerns me now with the new, thinner metal lids is those that come in the new boxes of Ball canning jars. They are screwed down onto each jar and if the box is heated up, they will self-seal. I have had many a new box of canning jars snap & pop as they self-seal and unseal. So, are those “new” lids, or “used” lids? I made the decision to not use those lids except for vacuum-packed Ball jars.
A few years back, a YouTube channel (Bexar Prepper) became very concerned with the new warnings on the boxes of lids. She contacted the manufacturer and never got a good answer. She ran some canning tests. She also discussed the new lids that come with cases of Ball jars. Worth finding her channel to watch the could of videos she produced on this subject.
The compound used to seal the metal lids to glass jars has changed. Ball no longer recommends heating the lids prior to screwing the ring on anymore.
I agree with you that the old lids might be used again but, the new compound, what ever it is, is different. Will it also be capable of being reused? Who knows. Right now we only use new lids as they are cheaper than taking the risk of losing the seal in storage.
Thanks for the heads up on new jars with lids sealing in the heat.
Canning with used lids requires extra inspection of the lids seal area. If no damage can be seen on the gasket then the next step is to heat the lids to soften the gasket material which will improve the seal of the lid to the jar. Any depression in the gasket material should disappear or become minimal for a good reseal. If you have any doubts about a sealing gasket save it for vacuum sealing. As with any reuse it is a personal decision based on risk/reward and availability of new material. Recently we tried some older Golden Harvest metal lids and they sealed fine but when opened the rubber gasket material pulled away from the metal lid and stuck to the rim of the glass jar. You never know for sure what will happen.
A new wrinkle has been added to the lid reuse. The current Ball lids now have a “New & Improved” Sure Tight Lids. A notice included with new jars states “Helps Keep Canned Food Sealed Now up to 18 months”. The lids show a definite thinner gasket material on the lids and I suspect they will now fail in greater numbers. The “improved” as usual translates as we cheapened the process and we will make more money. The people buying will need more product so will spend more. Ball now has joined the keep the food storage short term.
Tattler lids require a different seal method from metal lids. There is also a new Harvest Guard reusable lid, which is identical to the Tattler lid and rubber seal gasket. We have a sample of both and they measure the same for plastic lid and rubber gasket. Harvest Guard has bags of 100 gaskets listed on the web site for replacement use with the plastic lids. I asked them if their gaskets were compatible with Tattler but have not received an answer yet. Old Homesteader bought some of the Harvest Guard and was going to run a trial to compare to Tattler but I haven’t seen him post any results yet. Harvest has a procedure on their site for using the plastic lids for canning. They say their plastic lids will last a life time so it might be time to try the lids if Ball is cutting their shelf life.
The sealing compound on the lids has not changed since 1969. That was when all lids were changed from latex to a plastisol sealing compound. The thickness is the same as well. That’s also when lid manufacturers also said to stop boiling the lids. Preheating the lids can damage the plastisol sealing compound. The only change to lids since 1969 has been on the new “Sure Tight” Ball, Kerr, Bernardin lids. They added an extra layer of tinplate to the lids making them thicker and more resistant to pinholeing. They may take longer to seal and will make a stronger seal than the old style. Sure Tight lids won’t ping like the other lids and may not ping at all. Manufacturers have always said that metal flats are one time use only. New lids are cheap insurance against botulism poisoning. Botulism is odorless, tasteless, and can kill you.
That’s what the manufacturers say, yes. However, I have lids from the early 70’s and 80’s that are distinctly different from lids made in 2010, and again different from lids made in 2017 (the last time I bought lids). The differences are interesting, from a beveled edge (if you don’t get the lid precisely centered you hit the edge and it doesn’t seal) to a narrower and/or thinner stripe of sealant (ditto) to different colors and textures in the sealant and the lids. Different thicknesses, as well. The older lids are distinctly thicker, not thinner. What the manufacturers say doesn’t fit my personal experience.
Thank you on the lack of the ‘ping’ which I normally would hear it. Thought my canned peaches failed, but they had the ring tone when I checked after cooling down.
Valley, I saw the report on the Harvest Guard lids. Old homesteader gave them a thumbs up.
We tend to reuse our lids and have only had a couple of failures after the second reuse and so decided to limit any reuse to a single time. This of course depends on the state of the lid, assuming there are no dings or warping. I also typically open the lids with my hands as opposed to a can opener so the lids tend to hold up a little better. You just have to pay closer attention to what you’re doing. Saves a little bit of money, but if you’re worried about jar integrity might be worth it to shell out the extra sheikels.
Do lids have a shelf life?
Depending on who ya ask.
Manufacturers say 2-3 years.
I have used some well over 6 years old with no problems.
New “guidelines” say the lid lasts on the jar for 1 year, and if I remember correctly you have to buy new lids every 3 years. I have used lids many years older with no problems–in fact, I have a lower fail rate with old reused lids than I do with new lids right out of the box.
The companies say they have not changed their lids, but if you look at the lids the inside edges are beveled rather than flat (if you don’t center it precisely the jar edge might hit that beveled edge, resulting in a higher fail rate) the seal is a different color, the seal is thinner and narrower, not covering the entire ring, so again if you don’t get it centered precisely it can cause problems. And if their lids haven’t changed, why suddenly are you told that sealed food lasts only one year?
You noticed that also, skimming us on the amount of rubber gasket sealing.
Why are they letting us know they are only good for one year of food protection. In case someone brings a lawsuit against them for botulism. That way they can say “did you not read the warning label?”
I have been looking for the older canning lids in yards sales or Craig’s when jars are being sold off to increase the old lid storage for a jic.
I saw that labeling change on the new lids and was puzzled by it – didn’t know there was an expiration date on lid effectiveness. I’m curious about your experience re-using lids. I know that officially it’s not sanctioned, but in the event I wanted to try that because 3 years from now I’m out of lids and can’t find more…. I’m assuming the edges need to be undamaged from opening, and the lids thoroughly sterilized. Is there anything else you can share about that, from your experience? Thanks!
Nevermind. (sheepish grin) Should have read through all of the previous comments first. Thanks to all for sharing already. :-)
We can a lot of tomatoes for chili and juice for drinking. I have found that the seals (lids) from the tomatoes don’t get dented in as much as when you can beans with a pressure cooker. (We just boil the tomatoes/juice for 12-15 min then put into the jars and apply the lids and rings gently.)
Only once have we HAD to reuse the lids from the canned tomatoes on the beans. We never lost a single quart. All of the lids were inspected, cleaned and sanitized prior to use. We now save all of our tomato lids just in case. I would recommend new lids every time, but, if you get in a pinch, this has worked for us in the past. The second used lids have lasted us up to 8 yrs so far.
Yes I reuse mine. So far so good!
I just bought the Tattler reuseable lids and I like them. And I bought those because of the fear of not being able to find the metal lids – plus the metal lids are getting so expensive and then to only use them one time. But out of curiosity and after thinking about the reuse of the supposedly “one use” metal lids, I tried 3 previously used lids today and all 3 sealed quickly and no problem. So I will see what happens as they sit. Makes me wonder if it isn’t just a sales tactic that they can only be used one time.
The concern I’ve been given most often is that it’s not safe. But if the bottles reach the appropriate temperature and seal, where’s the safety problem? No answer to that when I ask. It’s just “unsafe.” What is unsafe about reusing lids, if those lids adequately perform their function? If you follow the basic safety precautions, it’s no more “unsafe” than any other canning.
Check your lids before reuse
Make sure the popper is still flexible and in the up position
Make sure the seal is intact and the lid not bent
Lauren, it’s unsafe because it interferes with their $$.
I have a few lids i have used 5 times. I was doing it as a test. leaving things canned for 6 weeks to 5 months.
The best tip for all lids i have found( i have some tattlers but have not used them yet.)..is too condition every lid. before going to use..1 cup of very warm water add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to it, add lids bring to a low boil .. make sure lids are completely covered. turn off heat. put hot lids on hot jars. after cleaning the rims thoroughly.
I second what Lauren said…
be careful when removing lids. don’t bend and don’t scratch. on inside.If any problem-scratch- on inside of lid, wash it and use for dehydrated foods. can drop a bit of candle wax on inside ding and still use for dehydrated food. with o2 absorber. check condition, wash carefully as soon as removed, with hot soapy water rinse well let dry.
put a refrig lid on any left overs..save canning lids for preserving food.
One canner i saw explaining tattler’s uses a permanent marker to put a short dash across the rubber as jars and rings are cleaned.. to denote how many uses. only a set number of uses of each tattler ring.
I have had great success reusing lids. I’ve maybe over my entire life (I’m 40 now, canned with my grandma since I was 4) of canning, have had a handful that didn’t seal properly. You can tell if they don’t seal. I try not to make it a habit to reuse, but I’m cheap, and if they look good, I use it. When I reuse them, I only reuse one lid per batch, the rest brand new. Don’t want to waste a whole batch, and can always refrigerate the failed sealed jar and use right away. Hope this helps.
What a great idea (only re-using one lid per batch)! You know you can always use one of whatever you’re canning right away. Thanks for the suggestion.
Yes with no issues
“When it’s obvious what the contents are, I use a small coded letter beneath the brand name of the lid to help conceal it. The letters are A-J and represent the year that product was canned. A = 1 (2021), B = 2, etc. and J = 0. This not only makes it easier to know the age of the contents, but if you leave it in place when you write the next year’s letter, you’ll know how many times the lid has been used..” from Surviving Seniorhood by St. Funogas posted on survivalblog. Brilliant!
I have often reused lids, but I always inspect them and be sure they are flat and not damaged. When setting the lid, I ensure that the lid sits on the jar in the grove from the previous use. I have never had a failure. If there is a “poor seal,” it will be obvious in short order. You should inspect your jars 3-4 times a year regardless. My lids always “pop” when they seal. They can be tested by simply tapping on the lids, and if they are still sealed they will have a nice high pitched “ring.” You can also lift the jars by the lid and it should stay sealed.
i have only tried it a few times, but putting them in boiling water for a little while seems to “swell ?” the gaskets.
i have done it a few times with things for short term storage and so far have had good luck. they have sealed.
i may try a few jars this fall for long term storage and see how well it works.
save those lids, you never know
In my local area, canning supplies were difficult to find during COVID lockdown. I know this is a seasonal item in terms of demand. Are people having a difficult time finding new lids of good quality at present time?
last april i ordered some lids from lehmans, never shipped, never billed until last week. saw the charge on my CC and checked. yup shipped a year and a half later. they were very helpful when i called and said it was on a open order and they had just received them in stock. i’ll take them. send them on.
I don’t think canning lids expire. Someone gave me all their parents canning equipment about 10 years ago and there were packages of lid for $0.19. They seal fine!
Been buying canning lids and ammo at Walmart. Hit or miss just check store once a week on Thursday morning, been lucky with 12ga target and 22LR & 22mag. Also talk to self stocker…after while they know me, and run in back room to get what I need. Payys to be nice !
My Dad did this experiment for us back in the early 70’s . His rate of failure averaged 1 out of ten . The failures always showed up within a day or two and we then used that product quickly before spoilage set in . Dad had lids that had been used yearly for over 20 years . He was a depression raised kid and tighter than bark on an old Oak tree .
I reuse my lids (assuming no dents, etc) for things a) dry canning items like cereal, flour, meal, sugar, etc…..and b) those I dont think will survive my family’s eyes for very long. No matter how many batches of baked beans or dill pickles… about 6 mos is the longest they’re allowed to survive in my house.
I used tattler on some salsa this year in a water bath. They did well. When I put the lids on I screwed the rings down as far as I could WITHOUT holding the glass jar, then I placed my index finger in the middle of the lid and using moderate down pressure with that 1 finger I screwed the lids on until the jar turned. Put them in the canner and they all sealed. This was a test run for me, I was kinda stoked about it. I used some Pur lids with the same technique and they all sealed also. Pur are much thinner than ball or Kerr. If you tighten them to tight you run the risk of your jars busting because they won’t vent, too loose and they will rattle off, or just not pull down.