Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Garnered Wisdom - Reusing a Canning Lid

I can ALL THE TIME.

I have an assortment of Ball and Kerr Jars. And I use the common canning lids by Ball and Kerr, as well as the reusable Tattler lids.

When my neighbor invited me to lunch with her mother, a canning enthusiast as well (having raised 11 children), I brought a few jars of recently canned stew. She asked about the Tattler lids and I explained that they were reusable.

Her mother said, "What do you mean reusable?"

I told her that the rubber rings and plastic lids could be canned with again and again, guaranteed for 20 years' use.

She smiled. "I reuse all my lids."

I was shocked. Being adventurous in my canning, I had tested my own lids. I knew that the 'experts' said each canning lid could only be used for one and only one seal. I had tried to reuse my lids. More than 50% did not seal for me and I never tried again.

Again, she responded with that smile. "I have reused all my lids for years."

Oh I was dying to know HOW!

She grabbed a canning lid and explained her invaluable wisdom to me.

As long as the rubber ring is whole and intact, the lid is capable of a seal. The problem is NOT the lid.

The problem is the screw top RING!

While canning, pressure is built up inside the jar and some air is released from each one, creating its vacuum seal. This released pressure actually warps and pushes out on the top of each canning ring.

She showed me how using a spoon I could easily press each ring back into shape. Pressing the curved of the spoon down onto the inside rim of the ring, turning the jar so that I press around the entire edge.

As I did this, I could see in many spots that this portion of the ring was indeed bubbled up.

I then proceeded to can 35 pints and 7 quarts of pumpkin.

I also wipe all my jar lids and rims with vinegar before closing them up. This increased my seal rate even when using new lids.

I share this technique with a 100% seal rate to back it up. I already called and gave many thanks to my neighbor's mother. She blessed my home more than she might ever know.

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