Saturday, September 18, 2010

Canning Tutorial: Tattler Re-Useable Lids

I've been using the Tattler Canning lids for a while now, and I can't recommend this product enough! Yes, Tattle is an advertiser on this blog, but I'd be singing their praises with or without the ad. In fact, that is why I asked if they would like to be an advertiser... because I can whole heartedly recommend their product.

What's to love? Let me count the ways...

• The lids won't rust, so they always seem so much cleaner to me.
• They're reuseable, so you don't have to buy more lids all the time.
• They're BPA free! You can use them with confidence that the lids aren't leeching toxins into your food.
• They're easy to work with (and I'm going to show you how).
• The folks over at Tattler are so nice! (I like dealing with nice people.)

When I first heard about the re-useable lids, my hesitation was how to actually process foods with them. Sometimes I just get a bit intimidated and I am not the most confident canner to begin with. Tattler is changing that for me. Somehow I just feel more assured with these lids that they are actually sealed and working correctly for me. I hope this mini-tutorial will help you to feel confident that you, too, can use Tattler Re-Useable Lids!

Using Re-useable Canning Lids

Bring a small pot of water to a boil...

drop lids and rubber rings into the boiling water and turn off the heat source...

wipe the rim of your canning jar to be sure it is clean for a good seal...

remove one lid and ring at a time and place the rubber ring on the underside of the lid.

Place the lid on your canning jar...

add a metal band and close completely, but not tight...

then turn the lid back to loosen it by a quarter inch (1/4"). This step is crucial so that it can vent, but not as scary as it seems.

Process as you normally would in either a water bath canner or a pressure cooker. As you remove the jar, just be sure to tighten it down completely (another crucial step, but easy to do). The jar in the photo below is cool because I forgot to take a picture earlier, but you will need to use a couple of towels or oven mitts to do this because the jars are extremely hot as they come out of the canner (but you knew this already!).

Don't you just love a sight like this! Let the jars sit overnight to cool down. You will not hear the popping sound of metal contracting like you do with traditional lids. I know this will disappoint some of you, but after a while, you'll get use to the quiet! I have noticed that the white Tattler lids look a bit like they are being pulled down in the center ever so slightly. 

The next morning, remove the metal band and check to be sure the jars have sealed by trying to lift up on the lid. If it did not seal, it will come off almost instantly;  you won't have to pry at all. I've had one that didn't seal, but on reflection, I remember thinking I had forgotten to tighten one of the jars as it came out of the water bath canner. Then when I found it loose, I was sure I'd forgot!

There are a couple of drawbacks with the Tattler lids, but I find they are fairly easy to live with. For one thing, if you plan to give the jars as gifts, you'll want to be sure the recipient returns the lid and rubber ring. Or you could just use a few traditional lids for gift jars. Personally, I find that the cost of these lids is reasonable considering the life of the product. However, I don't want to just give them away either. So think about this as you're canning.

9/21/10 Update: I've come up with a little poem to request that the lids be returned which can be written on a tag and attached to the product...

"These lids are re-useable 
and kindly for that reason, 
please return me to my home 
if you want some more next season!"

The other drawback has to do with closing the jars once you've opened them. The two piece lids are a bit cumbersome when getting in and out of jars on a regular basis. It's certainly possible to patiently re-adjust each rubber ring and lid when you get into the food item, but most family members are in a hurry and the rubber ring falls into the jar and food gets on it. I've found a solution that I'm happy with for now... plastic storage caps from Ball. 

These caps are not suitable for processing in a canner, but they're great for items that you're currently using as well as for canning jars that you use for dry storage. The lids I purchased were from WalMart, but unlike the boxes below, they were in the new bright green box and on the bottom right front it clearly stated "BPA-Free". I'm not sure if they changed their formula or if they've always been BPA-free, but be sure the caps you purchase state that they are! Ball has not been openly responsive to customer complaints about their traditional canning lids containing BPA, but apparently they may be getting the message.  

I really like it when things are simple to use as well as clean and neat! It will be nice to say so long to this...

To read more about Tattler lids and how Homestead Revival™ readers are using them, check out this topic on the Community Forum.


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