Monday, January 31, 2011

Reusable Canning Lids - Part 1

One of the reasons I got into canning was to make my own "convenience foods."  I love being able to make my own soups, canned pasta sauces, and other things that can be stored in the pantry and be ready to pop-open and reheat or cook with at a moment's notice.  All the convenience of supermarket-bought items with no defrosting time, way better taste, and I know what went into it and where it came from.  One of the things I don't like, however, is the wasteful non-reusable lids.  My local recycling center will not accept them in the metals bin and it's just not worth the risk of botulism to attempt to reuse them.

In any event, I've been meaning to order some Tattler Reusable Lids for awhile now after a positive review from Marisa over at Food In Jars.  Apparently, these plastic and rubber alternatives to the traditional metal lids used to be on the market years ago and became scarce for awhile.  With the sudden resurgence in canning and the worries over BPA, they've come back.

My order just got here today and I'm almost giddy with excitement to give them a try on a batch of soup or something that'll be staying here (at 50 cents a lid, I don't want them going much further than immediate family, who dutifully return my jars).  I'll be sure to post my thoughts about working with them as soon as I can.  In the mean time, here are my initial thoughts:

  • PRO - They're made in the USA.  Very few plastic items can make that claim these days.
  • PRO - They're reusable...need I say more?  Now, when I can a batch of soup and my wife and I plow most of the jars in a week, I won't feel so bad about how little time the lids spent actually holding the jars closed before they end-up in the Central Landfill (or how much of a dent they made in my wallet).
  • PRO - The price per lid is reasonable at about 50 cents (if I did the math right).  That's roughly double the price of the metal lids.  If the rubber rings hold-up through multiple uses, they'll pay for themselves quickly.
  • CON - Currently, the only place to buy the lids is on Tattler's own website, which I'd label just shy of, "Hello, 1990 called and they would like their website back."  KitchenKrafts has them but at 3 times the price--a rather stiff markup, don't you think?  Perhaps Tattler could get with the 21st century and offer them on Amazon or something?
  • CON - Tattler only offers them for sale in packs of 3-dozen, even though they actually ship in 1-dozen packages.  If you just want one box to try them out, tough luck.  You're in for an investment.  On top of that, their cheapest shipping option is USPS Priority Mail Flat-rate (minimum of about $10).
  • PRO/CON - They offer bulk packaging with a discount.  However, the bulk packs are 500 or 1000 lids--numbers very few canners I know would invest in upfront.  That's a lot of jars to go with that many lids (by my calculations, a $6,000-$10,000 worth of jars).  Wonder if they've had any takers?
  • Potential CON - They're white...and every plastic item I've ever had that's white and gets exposed to heat and tomato products stains.  I guess we'll see if these little guys follow suit or not.  I'll reserve judgment until then.
Stay tuned for Part 2!


  1. I used a bunch of these lids this summer while doing my tomatoes, and so far, they seem to have done a good job. However, they have retained the tiniest pink tinge from the tomatoes. Not a huge deal, but I do wonder how it will be after repeated use.

  2. Hmmm. I think that crack about not returning jars might be aimed at me. I have a few almost-done-but-not-quite jars from you I haven't returned. :)

  3. Actually, the crack had nothing to do with you. :-) When I gave jars away as a gift--especially to someone who lives far away, I know I won't get them back and I'm okay with that.

    However, when you combine the cost of the jar (about 80 cents) with a reusable lid (about 50-80 cents), it makes sense to keep those lids close-by. I really bought them for "in-house use" anyway--soups and things that I preserve specifically for our own personal use as opposed to giving away.


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