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Monday, September 27, 2010

Tattler Reusable Canning Lids

We do a lot of canning here.  And the thought has always followed that in an emergency situation, canning things would be impossible without a good supply of canning lids.  The jars and rings can be re-used, but the lids are supposedly a one time use deal.  So we stock canning lids in the food storage.  A bunch of them.  But even those will eventually run out and then canning as a preservation method is done.

So one day, sweet husband got searching the internet (which is usually a dangerous thing) and found Tattler Reuseable canning lids and of course we had to give them a try.  The Tattler company was gracious enough to send me some wide mouth and some regular mouth lids to review.  I used them to can blueberry jam.  I'll post the blueberry jam tutorial later, today we're just discussing the very cool lids.

The lids come in 12 packs, just like regular canning lids.  Tattler also offers bulk pricing on them.  Each lid is two pieces, the white plastic "lid" and the rubber ring gasket.  You will need to have the screw on metal band that came with your jars if you bought them new.  The bands are also available from Ball/Kerr as boxes of lids with bands.  If you've been canning for a while you probably have plenty of the bands around. 

The Tattler lids are available for regular or wide mouth jars and fit all standard canning jars like Ball, Kerr, Golden Harvest, etc.  And at approximately $7.00 per dozen regular mouth and $8.00 per dozen wide mouth, it will only take 2-3 uses to make them less expensive to use than the standard canning lids.

So here's the instructions for using them:

Prep your jars as usual (wash, sterilize, etc.).  Put the Tattler lids and rubber gaskets in a pot of hot water and heat almost to boiling.  The box says "scald lids and rubber rings".

Now, their box says to leave the lids and rings in the hot water until you're ready to use them, but the little printout instructions they sent said to take the rings out and let them cool before using them, leaving the lids in the hot water.  I didn't read the box until after, so I took the rings out and let them cool.  I'll have to try the next batch leaving the rings in the water.

When you've got your food in your jars, wipe the rims of the jars, stick the rubber rings on the lids and put the lids on the jars.  Use the screw band to tighten it all up.  So far so good, right?  Pretty much like using any other lid except for the part of having to assemble them before putting them on the jar.

Now, here's something new.  After you've got the lid screwed on, turn the metal band back 1/4 inch.  That's one quarter of an inch, not one quarter turn.  It doesn't turn back very much, just a little bit.

Now the jars are ready to process in your canner.  These lids are supposed to work for either water bath or pressure canning.  I'll try pressure canning something with them another time.  Jam goes in the water bath canner, so that's what we did.  Process your food however that food is supposed to be processed.  This jam was in the canner for 10 minutes.

When the jars are done processing, here's the other change.  TIGHTEN the lids up when you pull the jars out of the canner.  Regular lids you don't tighten when they come out of the canner, but these lids you tighten.

Let them cool at room temperature and the lids kind of suck down.  I was a little thrown off by there being no "popping" sound, but they did look sucked down when they were done cooling.

To open the bottle, use a butter knife (nothing sharp) and stick it between the rubber ring and the jar and you'll break the seal.  I had to take a lid off already because I wanted to give some jam to a friend, but didn't want to give them the lid.  Really, they wouldn't know what to do with it.  Okay, maybe after reading my post they would, but that's not the point.  The point is I took a lid off.

To use it again, Tattler recommends putting the ring on the opposite direction that it was the last time you canned with it.  You can see the little grooves the white lid leaves in the rubber ring if you look close--those will let you know which way to set the rubber ring next time.  The next two pictures show the rubber ring taken off the lid and turned over to show the grooves.  You can see the grooves better in real life than they are showing up in the pictures.  You might have to get your reading glasses out, but you'll be able to tell which way the ring went so you can turn it over next time.  (If you click the pictures they enlarge and you can see the grooves a little better.)

All my jars sealed fine.  I've got them in the food room with the other jams and jellies now.  Impressive.  Why didn't I hear about these lids sooner?  If I'd purchased them when I started canning it would have saved me a ton in purchasing lids over the years.  And fewer old lids in the trash can.  Plus it solves the problem of running out of lids in the emergency supplies.

Having canned for a long time, there are a few things I'll have to get used to when using these lids.
1. I can't just sharpie the product and date on the lid since I'll be re-using it.  I had to get labels out.
2. I'll have to can some things with regular lids to give as gifts since I really don't want to be giving my special lids away.
3.  I'll have to find a new method of storing my jars since right now I have way more jars than reusable lids, so screwing a lid on each jar to store it isn't going to work.
4.  I need a tote or something to keep the reusable canning lids in since I don't know how many times I'll be able to just put them back in their original box before the box falls apart.

None of those things are worth too much though when you consider the longevity of the Tattler Reusable Canning Lids and not having to worry about your lid supply if there is no more grocery store deliveries.

A few more notes about the lids that might be of interest: They are BPA free, made of FDA and USDA approved materials, dishwasher safe, and indefinitely reusable.  The rubber rings are supposed to last 20 years or more before needing replaced.  Definitely worth looking into.

I'll be canning a few more things with my samples, then picking up some more of these for our canning supplies.  What do you think?

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