With the current shortage of canning lids, it is time to consider reusable canning lids. I’ve used them in the past… and would again in the future. In fact, I’ve got reusable lids in storage for just the situation we are facing right now. A canning lid shortage is showing its ugly face again.
Years ago when I first heard of reuseable canning lids I knew in an instant that I loved the idea of reusing them. Not having to buy more canning lids every year is an obvious benefit. That is a no-brainer.
But… do they work? My first question was… do they seal? Using reusable canning lids would not be worth it, if I ended up having to reprocess a lot of unsealed jars. I tried the lids available then (more on that in a moment) and the lids sealed just as well (or pretty close) as the traditional metal lids. A few misses here and there, but generally they seal pretty well. I little fiddly in placing them on the jars with the separate pieces but certainly not hard.
How do you use reusable canning lids?
Though the canning process is the same there are some differences with using reusable lids compared to traditional metal lids. Each manufacturer will include specific instructions. Please read and follow those instructions. This is just a brief overview.
- Prepare your food as per the usual tested method. with the final step being to wipe the rim of the jar clean and ready for the lid.
- To prepare your lids you want to scald or simmer your lid and gasket in hot water.
- Place the rubber gasket over the rim of the jar and add the reusable lid on the gasket. You could also lay the gasket on the lid first and then place both together on the jar but the gasket may flop over. The goal is the gasket and lids centered on the jar. It is not as difficult as I’ve made it sound!
- Then you’ll add a screw band just like you would with metal lids. Finger tight only. reusable lids need to be ever so slightly looser than metal lids so they vent properly. Place a finger in the center of the lid pressing down on the lid and jar. Tighten the screw band with the other hand. When the jar spins with the lid… that is about right.
- Then process as usual.
- There is a bigger difference after processing with these plastic lids than the metal. Metal lids you do NOT tighten the band after processing. With reusable lids you do. Take your jars out of the canner place a towel over the jar and let it cool 5 -10 minutes. Then with the towel still in place tighten the bands down. The towel will protect not only your hands but arms as well in case there is any food spurting out of the jar. (very rare occurrence)
- Now you can allow your jars to cool to room temperature and then check the seal.
Very very similar steps to using metal lids… but a couple differences, the biggest being tightening the screw bands down.
Why I stopped using my reusable canning lids.
After using reusable canning lids for a couple years almost exclusively, I went back to my metal lids. Two main reasons for this.
- I realized that I wanted to save them for emergencies when regular lids might not still be available. (Here we are! Yes, there is a shortage of canning lids. Some places jars are in short supply too.)
- Although reusable canning lids are certainly not hard to use, those metal lids are still pretty foolproof. That ease of use is convincing to a busy mom. So my reusable canning lids are saved for a rainy day.
And as soon as I’ve gone through my current stash of metal lids… that rainy day might just be here. I still recommend them for folks interested in prepping and self-reliance. It is nice knowing that they are there and ready in case the need arises.
What brands of reusable canning lids available?
There are two brands of reusable canning lids available at the time I’m writing this page. Tattler and Harvest Guard.
Back in the day only Tattler was available.
Back in the day when I got my reusable canning lids. Tattler was the only brand going. I was approached by them for a review and they send me some lids. However… The tattler brand has changed the structure of the lids since the days when I received them. I have not tried the new style lids. Here is my review of the old-style tattler lids. I am no longer affiliated with this company but my review still stands. Keep in mind these are the old version lids.
There is a new reusable canning lids manufacturer that I recommend; Harvest Guard.
There is a new guy in town! Harvest Guard is a new manufacturer of reusable canning lids. These lids I trust to be just as good as the Tattler lids and I have no hesitation recommending them. Again though please note, I have not actually tried these lids myself. Luckily… my wonderful assistant Rachel (who some of you know from our communities) got a handful of these lids for a Christmas gift and has used them with success. She wrote up a review of the Harvest Guard lids here.
Be cautious with any other manufacturers.
Unfortunately with the shortage of canning lids and the increased demand I’ve seen many canning lid websites and sellers appear out of nowhere. Some of these sellers are unscrupulous and are producing poor quality. Most of this I’ve seen with traditional metal lids.. But just in case this is happening with reusable lids too I wanted to mention it here. The above manufacturers are the ONLY two that I know of that are legitimate. If you know of other brands please let me know. I’ll check them out.
Have reusable lids been tested?
Do reusable canning lids work? From years of experience and stories, yes they do. Now the University of Minnesota is going to test these results. I can’t wait to hear what the results are. I’m guessing the lids will pass with flying colors. Time will tell.
It is interesting that in the brief article the University states “This lid should not impact the safety of the product as long as the food was processed properly.” If the extension had doubts of the safety they would not have been willing to even put this positive comment out there.
This test mentions Tattler specifically. Harvest Guard mentions on their website that the lids they manufacture are the same lids being tested just under a different company name. (There is a link between the two companies that is not my story to tell. Company splits and family issues. Check with Harvest Guard if you want more information on that.)
You may also be interested in…. Just for fun.
Just for fun! Are you worried about losing your reuseable canning jar lids that you give away on home preserved gifts? I’ve got a fun solution for you.
I was thinking about this problem the other day. What can I do about giving my home made jams or pickles away as gifts when they have my tattlers on them?
If the gift recipient is a canner…. I’d just consider the lids part of the gift. They can try them out for themselves!
However….. most people I give these gifts to have absolutely no use for the lids. They don’t do any canning themselves. I’m afraid they would just toss the lid! Eeeek. It would break my heart to throw away a perfectly good tattler!
I figured I could add a pretty gift tag asking for the lid back. I wondered if it would be tacky…. then thought about the people I tend to give these to. I know them well enough to know they wouldn’t mind at all.
THEN I had a brilliant idea. Talk to mom! My mother is a poet at heart and has always written poems for her children. I just put in a special order. Tattler lid return requests… in ditty form. And here is what she came up with. She is so cool!
Reuseable lids, oh so fine
Don’t forget that they are mine!
These lids you’ll love they last forever.
Please send them back when thru
I’ll really be grateful when I use them again
And always think of you.
My lids do travel, they’re tattlers you know
but at times they never return.
So please send them back, when you are thru
thanks much, for your concern.
Some more ideas from our readers.
I also asked readers for their poems and dittys. We have some creative canners out there. 🙂 Check out the list below for inspiration.
by: Janet Pirlot
These tattler lids come with a heavenly return spring and you just might get our fill jar.
Roses are Red!
by: Krysta Swygart
Roses are red
Violets are blue
I made you some food
Return the lid to me
And I will be in a good mood
This little white lid
With rubber so red,
Return it to me,
and I’ll keep you well fed.
Receive this gift as my love is true,
Return the lids.. Or I’ll hunt for you!
Veggies, fruits, jellies and jams
I canned this jar for you
Done with love and a Tattler lid
Which you will return, won’t you?
by: Sarah B
If preserving is not your thing,
please return these supplies to me.
But if it is, the gift is more,
a Tattler lid to reuse some more!
If you don’t send my Tattler lid back,
The next thing I give you will be a crack!
You know you like my Cookin’
So send my Tattler lids back
Or next time you’ll just be lookin’
There are 2 things I like to keep –
Good friends and my Tattler lids!
Please send my lids back.
rhyme for Tattler
by: Judy Delk
The love and time I spend for you
Reflected in the bright hue
Of homemade goodies just for you.
This gift I give, includes the plea,
Along with your thanks to be,
Please return lid and container to me –
If you want to be
Recipient of further from me
With all my love, Judy D.
Tattler lid ditty
I canned this homemade food just for you,
And would greatly appreciate the re-usable lid back when you’re through!
Tattler Lid Return Ditty
by: Kelley M
This is a reusable seal you see,
I’d appreciate you return it to me.
Return my Tattler please
by: Sylvia Warren
From garden to kitchen to you my friend. I hope that you enjoy this gift as much as I enjoyed making it. If you are unable to reuse the Tattler lid and jar I would greatly appreciate their return. So that I may reuse them to share with you again!
My Favorite Ditty
I enjoy canning, and when I do, I often think of friends like You…
But my Tattler Lids, unless returned…
Might just as well be money burned!
return the lid, please
From top to bottom
From bottom to top
Filled with goodness
From this seasons crop
Please return the lid when finished.
These canned goods I know you will enjoy,
but please return my tattler lid, no need to be coy.
3 Tattler haiku
by: krys lefler
I re-use you in canning
again and again.
Tasty treat inside,
please, enjoy and share alike…
Return jar and lid.
Please enjoy this jar…
Tattler, attached to its top
refill, if returned.
I already started my garden planning
Peppers, pickles and plenty of canning
The Tattler lids will help out too
So I need to go out and buy two!
by: Mary Ann
Here’s a gift not sold in your store.
Return the lid to enjoy some more.
by: A Donovan
I hope you enjoy this jar of wonderfulness made especially for you! The best part is that IF you return it to me, I will refill it AGAIN with something new just for you!
“Ditty ” for Tattler
by: Susan V.
Please return the lid,it’s a Tattler,
because if you don’t can, it won’t much Mattler
OK… it sounded better in my head… LOL
Solution for lid or jar return!
Attach a coupon that says ” This coupon is good for a free jar of homemade canned goods when you return the Tattler lid and empty jar to me”! I tell this to all my friends and kids! works every time!
I like this better–Tattler
This Tattler Lid I lend with pride,
please return to me, I’ll do a dance inside!
Tattler lid return rhyme
This Tattler lid I lend to you,
Please send it back when you are through.
Tattler lids gift tag
Enjoy these sweets and I will enjoy my Tattler lids returned when your done! Reduce, reuse, recycle.
by: Laura Williams
This jar of home canned goodies won’t get you in a pickle. Be a dear and return the Tattler Lid and jar so I won’t get in a jam come next canning season.
by: Cynthia L.
O, please do return
its for you I yearn
my givees should learn
my thanks they’ll have earned.
How did they do? 🙂
I knew you would like those tattlers. Isn’t is wonderful to know that we never have to rush to the grocery store during canning season again?!
Thanks for all your wonderful information too. If you could please send those back before spring is here? Thanks 😉
From Sharon’s inbox:
Sharon, I would like more information on the reusable lids. Do you buy the rubber seal every year? I want to try them but really scared. I don’t want to lose my food. Thank you. Yes I have checked their site but want to hear it from someone.
Hi Kaye, The rubber seal is estimated to last about 10 uses. So if you use the seal once a year that is 10 years. Many of my seals get used more than once a year. I store them and just grab them when I need them so it would be really difficult to keep track of just how many uses I’ve gotten out of each.
There is a learning curve to using them. Some adapt quickly and easily, some seem to have more trouble. The most common mistake I see is tightening down the rings too tight. They have pretty good instruction on their website.
They do have a sample pack with just a couple of lids that you can order if you want to try it out without investing too much. I hope that helps you make your decision.
More on canning jar lids
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Page last updated: 2/26/2021