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Tips for Canning with Tattler Reusable Lids

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Tattler two-piece reusable canning lids and rings

I’ve been using Tattler reusable canning lids for about eight years now. Many people like them, but many people don’t. The biggest complaint is that they seem to have a higher failure rate than conventional metal canning lids. When I first started using them, this seemed to be true. But the appeal of not having to buy new lids every year was high, so I started to analyze why I was having fails. In this blog post, I’ll share what I’ve learned, and how I’ve significantly increased my success rate with Tattler lids. It isn’t going to be a canning tutorial, just some tips for dealing with a specific problem. To learn how to can, I’m going to refer you to The USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning at the National Center for Home Food Preservation website. It’s offered as free PDF files at that link. 

So:

Who this blog post is for: Folks who are experienced canners, want to use Tattler lids, and are willing to experiment for a better sealing rate.

Who this blog post is not for: Folks who have never canned before, or who tried Tattlers, didn’t like them, and prefer metal canning lids.

Okay, here we go. In observing and analyzing the lid failure problem, I have figured out four primary reasons why my Tattler lids don’t seal. 

1. Something gets caught under the red rubber ring

The first step in successful canning is to use jars with flawless rims and to careful wipe those rims after filling the jars and before putting on the lids. Anything between the rim and red ring is a guaranteed failure. Assuming I’ve followed the first step, I’ve observed two reasons for this to happen:

a. During venting, tiny bits get caught under the rubber ring.

This lid failed, with chili powder being the culprit.

During processing, air is vented under the lid, which helps create the vacuum as the sealed jar cools. We’ve all had jars that lose some of the liquid during canning, no matter what kind of lids we use. Proper headspace along with consistent canning temperature and pressure are supposed to prevent this. But sometimes, jar contents boil out as well. I find this especially true of powdered spices that don’t dissolve and fruits with tiny seeds, such as blueberries. 

  • For the spice escape problem, the answer is to either omit spices that don’t dissolve, or put them in a spice bag while cooking the canning contents. Remove the spice bag when filling the jars.
  • For the seed problem, I had a terrible time canning blueberries. If I canned them as jam or pie filling, no problem. It was only as canned berries. So, the solution is either to choose another preservation method or accept the fails for the sake of getting at least some of it canned. I figured, the lids are reusable, so, so what? I used the fails to make blueberry jam. You just have to decide if that is acceptable to you or not.

b. The rubber rings aren’t spotlessly clean.

Of course, used rings are washed with hot soapy water after the jar is opened, but does that make them spotlessly clean? Not always.

Here’s what I’ve observed; that when I scald the rings and lids, the heat sometimes lifts food residue from the ring. It’s something I don’t see beforehand, but after scalding, oils (I think) rise on the surface of the ring. 

This ring looked clean when I put it into the pan to
scald. But look what the scalding water revealed.

So, each scalded ring is examined carefully before putting it on the jar. Rings with residue are scrubbed again and re-scalded. Doing this increased my successful sealing rate noticeably.

2. The rubber rings slip a bit off the jar rim
Rubber ring slippage

This was a problem when I thought I didn’t need to carefully follow the instructions from the Tattler manufacturers. In other words, I was taking a short cut which resulted in more fails! To prevent this problem:

a. Feel to make sure the ring and lid are centered on the jar rim.

b. Visually check the ring to make sure it sits flatly on the jar rim.

c. Hold the lid and ring in place while screwing on the band.

My failure rate decreased significantly when I started following those steps.

3. The metal band doesn’t screw on properly.

Not all metal bands fit all jars! Seems like they should, but sometimes they don’t. Perhaps that’s because of variations between brands and batches in both jars and screw bands. Or, maybe the band has become slightly imperfect. What I’ve figured out is, that if the band doesn’t screw down perfectly on the jar, the seal will fail. The band may fit another jar just fine, but if it doesn’t seat properly on a particular jar, I use a different band. I eliminated a few more fails after I started doing this. 

4. Allowing the jar to cool too much before completing the seal.

Tattler lids are loosened sightly before being put into the canner. This is to facilitate the air venting process. After processing, the lids must then be tightened to complete the seal. This is easiest with waterbath processing, because the jars are removed immediately when the time is up. With a pressure canner, the pressure must return to normal before opening the canner. Sometimes, I get distracted and don’t get to completing the seal until after the jars have cooled a bit. If the contents of the jars have cooled too much, they won’t seal properly.

Sometimes a jar passes the seal test, but later, after it’s been in the pantry for awhile, I discover the lid is loose. I believe this is from completing the seal after the jars have cooled down too much. They’re still hot enough to seal, but the vacuum is too weak to maintain a good seal over time. Again, I’ve had less fails since I started being more diligent with completing the seals.

Old rings will eventually fail too and must be discarded. 

When you have jars that fail, always take a careful look at the rubber rings from those jars. That can help you diagnose the problem. If a rubber ring is questionable, I’ll use a different color screw band (I have a few that are white) on that jar to double check it. I keep a supply of replacement rings to replace those that must be discarded.

I still have occasional fails, but they are much more rare than they used to be. When they do happen, I either add the contents back to the next batch to be canned (for broths, applesauce, tomato sauce, etc.), add it to my leftovers jar for soup, or we eat it. Nothing is wasted, and there’s peace of mind in not having to rely on the annual canning equipment supply chain.



Source: https://www.5acresandadream.com/2021/10/tips-for-canning-with-tattler-reusable.html


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