One of the downsides to canning is only being able to use a lid once before having to throw it away. I know some people say they’ll use a lid twice before disposing of it, but I’m a bit more cautious and would rather not risk a bad seal. Well a company by the name of Tattler has come out with a reusable lid. The company also has different colors for their lids, and will have special runs of a particular color at times.
A big complaint of the conventional metal lids was that the rubber inside contained BPA, a chemical known to cause hormone issues with people who consume it. The Tattler lids are BPA free. Recently most of the companies manufacturing the metal bands have changed to a BPA free formula as well.
Since my wife and I tend to give away some of the jars we can we usually do a mixture of disposable and reusable lids. After using the Tattler lids several hundred times I can say I love them… and hate them at the same time.
Let me explain the previous statement. When the lids work they work great. I get an awesome seal and I am entirely confident in the safety of the food in the jar. However, the lids can be a bit tricky. Since the process involves a rubber gasket and a plastic lid you cannot fully tighten down on the lid as you would with a metal lid. The reason being is pressure. The internal pressure cannot vent during the boiling process in the canner if the lid is too tight. It will eventually push out, and when that happens often some of the food comes out with it. This can prevent a good seal later when it’s cooling due to food getting between the gasket and lid
To ensure the best possible seal I’ve learned to place the jar on the counter with the gasket and lid inside the metal band. I place the band on the jar and turn the band with one hand as tight as it’ll go until the jar starts to spin on the counter. Basically finger tight. I’ve had really good luck with this process.
The jars are processed the same way as the disposable lids. There is not time difference for how long they have to boil. I would recommend at the end of the boiling period to remove the lid and turn the heat off on the canner and let the jars sit for five minutes before removing them.
Once the jars have been removed place them on the counter. I like to use an old kitchen towel to make sure the hot jars don’t damage my counter. Take a couple of kitchen towels, oven pads, or silicon oven mitts and tighten the full on the jars. This step is important to ensure the jars full seal.
With all the above being said I do have a jar occasionally fail to seal out of a batch of jars. Normally I don’t mind as I like trying out whatever I’m making anyway. Another thing to consider is even though the lids are more expensive, after using them three or four times you’ll have broken even if you had been buying disposable lids. After that you have a 100% cost savings in lids.
Tattler has since updated their lid design and now sell an E-Z seal lid which on their website they say you can treat the same as the disposable lids. Once I’ve acquired and used some of the E-Z seal lids I’ll be sure to update this post.
Until then happy canning!
– Jason Snell