As I said yesterday, I tried something new with my canning this time…reusable canning lids!
I have been canning for about ten years now. I have made everything from jams and jellies to raw pack fruit, different tomato products, chicken stock, etc. I have done both waterbath and pressure canning, though definitely more with the waterbath canner so far.
One of the things I dislike about canning is that I has to buy new lids each year. I like using things that are reusable whenever I can. Somehow, in all my years of canning, I missed out on the fact that there are reusable canning lids, and have had many last-minute runs to the store to buy lids when I ran out (not fun!). These lids have been around since 1976, so I don’t know how I never came across them, but I didn’t. It took a friend of mine, who had never canned before and was researching it so she could begin, to tell me about Tattler Reusable Canning lids. I was so excited when I heard about them I couldn’t wait to try them out!
I must admit I was a little taken aback when I began perusing the internet and seeing what people had to say about these lids. It seems that people are in one of two majorly different camps. First, there are the people who love them, never have any problems with them sealing (except the expected amount of seal failure that is true with metal lids as well), and use them over and over again. Then there are the people who hate them, feel they are a waste of money, have major seal failures, and couldn’t be more unhappy with the product. I already wanted to try them out, but the severe difference in the two camps made me even more desperate to try them. How could so many people feel so strongly opposite about the same product?
So I went out on a limb (for me) and decided to ask Tattler if they would give me a free sample so I could try them out and review them for you. They agreed and sent me the sample. I would like to step in here and say that I have no problem giving an honest review, good or bad, even if the product was given to me for free. You will get my honest opinion of the product, and a factual description of my experience with it.
I anxiously awaited the arrival of 12 wide-mouth and 12 regular canning lids from Tattler. They arrived very quickly and I dove right in to my plan to can my homemade ketchup and BBQ sauce. I only tried the lids using the waterbath method.
I read the directions and noticed that there are definite differences in how to properly use these lids compared to the metal lids. I read the directions a couple of times to be sure that I was clear on what to do and then I started.
Tattler lids include two pieces, a plastic lid and a rubber ring.
The rubber ring is fitted onto the edge of the plastic lid. It then goes onto the jar, rubber ring down, and is held on by a regular metal canning ring.
In preparation, I hand-washed the lids and rubber rings (they are dishwasher safe, but I was in a hurry to get started). Then I fitted each ring onto its lid (for ease of using when it was time) and put them in a small saucepan of water. I brought it to a boil and then turned off the heat but left them in the water and on the stove so they would stay hot during the process (I did this immediately before I began filling the jars).
I heated my sauce and jars, and cleaned my metal rings as usual. Then I began filling my hot jars, with my hot sauce to the correct head space. I wiped the top edge of the jar as well as the threads. I then used tongs to remove the first lid from the pot and was able to use my hand to fit it into place. I didn’t have any trouble with the rubber ring moving around or displacing at all, it stayed put.
Then I put the metal ring on and, while holding the center of the lid with one finger so it wouldn’t move around, I tightened the metal ring finger-tip tight. The tightness I used was the same I use with my metal canning lids. As with metal canning lids, the directions for these lids say to not over-tighten. So fingertip tight is what I used.
My definition of fingertip tight is that I use my fingertips and thumb to tighten the lid (as opposed to grasping it with my hand and palm) and I turn it firmly until I reach strong resistance. This is a subjective thing, but that is the best way I can explain how I do it.
I did each jar this way and put them all in the canner and processed them. As soon as the processing time was over I lifted the rack up and let them sit for a couple of minutes in the rack, then I used a hand towel to tighten each ring down as tight as I could get it (using my full hand and palm). Tightening after processing is one of the differences from these lids to the metal ones. I found that each ring only tightened about 1/4 inch turn or less. I placed them all on a towel, with space in between them, to cool.
Then I waited anxiously. 😉
After the jars were completely cool I removed the rings and tested the seals by lifting the jars up holding only the lid.
EVERY single jar of the first load of 7 jars sealed! Yay! I ran a second load of 2 jars (that is all the ketchup I had left). Both of those sealed as well.
The next day I canned two canner-loads of BBQ sauce with the regular size lids. Of the 12 pints I canned, 11 sealed and 1 did not seal.
Since I have heard of seal failure after storage, and I want to be completely thorough with my review, I plan to check the seals at 1, 2, 3, and 4 months and report back my findings, linking them here:
As far as price goes, the reusable lids range from about $0.75-$0.95 per lid, depending on how you buy them, and metal lids range from $0.25-$0.40 per lid. So in my mind that means I need to get at least 3 uses out of these lids for them to pay themselves off. From my experience thus far, I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t last at least that long. Also, the plastic parts are guaranteed to last a lifetime. The rubber ring is not guaranteed but has been reported to last 10 years or more by customers. The replacement rubber rings cost $0.23 each when bought in bulk.
So what is my final opinion? I was extremely happy with my Tattler Reusable Canning Lids. I am so glad that I have found a product that will replace my single use metal lids! I am planning to order a large amount so I will have them for all my canning. I am still going to use some metal lids on the canned items I give away as gifts, because I don’t want to have to worry about whether or not I get my reusable lids back. But I am going to buy enough of the reusable lids to use them for all my home canning.
I think the price is reasonable for how long they will last. And I do not consider 1 seal failure out of 21 to mean product failure. I have had that ratio with metal lids as well. Since I ran 4 separate loads, and thus had 4 different times to mess up using them, I was extremely happy with the fact that all but one of them sealed.
Back to the question I asked at the beginning of the post – “How could so many people feel so strongly opposite about the same product?” I’m not sure, except it seems to me that if a product is working fine for some people and not for others there is a strong possibility it is simply user error. Maybe people are going into it expecting to be able to do it just like they have for all the years they have canned and thus are somehow not using this type of lid properly. I don’t know for sure. But I do know, without a doubt, that I had no problems with the lids and am very excited to keep using them in my canning.
We have continued to use these reusable lids for the last 3 years since this review. We have used them on over 500 jars now, and we have used them for both water bath and pressure canning. We have used them on fruits, jellies and jams, meats, broths, vegetables, and tomatoes with no troubles. We continue to love them and have success with them. We have the occasional seal-failure, just like we did when we used ball metal lids. At this point we have collected enough lids that we only use metal lids when we buy a new case of jars that come with the metal lids on them. Other than that it is only Tattler reusable lids for us.
Now, onto something fun that I’ve never done before – a GIVEAWAY!
Tattler has agreed to give 12 wide-mouth and 12 regular lids to one of my readers! So now one of you can try them out too! Unfortunately, the giveaway is limited to US Residents only (sorry to my readers from around the world).
Leave a comment telling what you will can first with your lids if you win. Chance to enter closes on Thursday, May 30th, at 11:59pm MST. Next Friday, May 31st, I will put all the entrants names in a bowl and have one of my kids draw a winner.