REUSABLE CANNING LIDS ARE A THING!
At first thought this sounded like an amazing idea, but of course the natural born skeptic in me had questions…..
Reusable ‘Tattler’ canning lids have been on the market for a little while now, since 1976 actually. If they’ve been around so long why hasn’t popularity increased? What’s the deal with these lids anyways? If you’ve heard of them before and have been wondering the same thing, or are just finding out about Tattler for the first time, I’ve put together a little bit of information and my own little review for your amusement here:
A little background on the lids first-
Tattler lids are a reusable option to the typical Ball /Kerr /off-brand metal one time use lids. Metal lids are only designed to be used once, reusing them puts you at risk for serious food contamination or illness. Personally, I don’t even use the lids that come on the unopened packaged jars for processing, and am not sure why they even ship jars with lids when it compromises the seal of the lids. Seems very wasteful!
Tattlers come in both small and wide mouth sizes and are safe for both water and pressure canning. They are made of BPA free plastic, and are dishwasher safe, as well as recyclable. They are also FDA approved for food contact and can be used to can any product comprising less than 15% alcohol at home.
The lids contain a two-part system of
1. White Lids
2. Rubber Sealing Ring/Gasket
(You use the same metal bands for tightening and sealing as you would for metal lids.)
Lids run at about $8.50/doz for both lids and rings to get you started, and you can find some here. This is a significant difference from the metal lids, but they claim to be reusable for all of eternity (rubber seals are the only part that may need replacing after several uses/years), so still more cost effective than buying new lids each year if you can build up a supply, especially when you put by as much food as I do!
Not wanting to spend money on something without researching all I could find about the product, I ended up scrolling through several other homestead blogs and forum sites. Much of what I found all sounded pretty similar- that the lids worked but definitely still had their flaws. Several users hate the lids and refuse to use them again, but I’m one for trial and error and experiments before taking someone else’s word for it.
I was still so excited to find some kind of lids that would be reusable to save on cost and waste, and bought a dozen of each size to try out on this summer’s harvest. They arrived quickly, as do most things from amazon, and I must say that if Tattler has been around since 1976 they sure haven’t changed their marketing since then. Regardless, I put them to the test right away.
Now, I have been canning for several years and would like to think I am not a ‘newbie’ to water, steam, or pressure canning. Though I am still definitely learning something from my experiences each year, as it is both a science and art in my opinion. And one tasty hobby. That being said, this year I had 100% success rate with my regular metal lids.
Ahh, metal lids. Lets talk about these for a minute.
I always seem to run out when harvest is in full swing and canning days take up several recipes in all size jars, then end up running to the mini-mart as a last resort only to pay $3.00/ pack for emergency lids! Ugh. Plus, in the last year or two it seems the quality has really gone down… Ball made a bold statement that lids are only good up to 1 year on their packaging, which sent longtime home-canners into a tizzy. So much drama for one little metal circle! Last year I had purchased some emergency ‘off-brand’ lids, which had even worse success rate, leaving me with several unsealed jars when usually I only have one or two.
Since I have been making a little bit of everything lately I thought it would be best to throw one lid on each different food type and test the Tattler’s this way, so they would be exposed to different processing times and styles. As part of my research, and thanks to the Instagram community of being able to find anyone that knows something about nothing, I already knew there would be some secret tips required to get the lids to seal properly the first time.
-make sure the gasket and lid have both been washed, soak gaskets in scalding hot water before placing on seal
-leave additional headspace in jars
-to tighten bands properly, use the fingertip approach, this means use one finger to spin the band tight until it stops or the jar spins with you.
-when jars are pulled out of the canner, tighten them fully and let sit for 24 hours before checking
All in all, following these steps I had a fairly decent success rate for my first time using them. The food items I processed using Tattlers shown below are both pressure and water bath recipes from top/bottom, left to right are:
Creamed corn / Sloppy Joe Sauce / Golden Beets / Salsa / Horseradish Beet Relish / Corn Salsa / Creole Pickled Okra
Out of 10 jars ( I processed two jars each of the creole okra, horseradish beet, and corn salsa using Tattlers) I only had two not seal properly, one was noticed right away on the horseradish beets and one a few days later on the salsa. Not bad for what I had been expecting from everyone’s warnings, so I guess the only real advice here is if you’re curious- give them a shot. Use some of the tips above and make your own little experiment out of it. You may love them or not but I’m happy to keep these on hand for when I run out of regular metal lids, they’ve already earned their keep that way!
**this post contains links to affiliate suppliers**