This year I did my canning almost exclusively with Tattler Reusable Canning Lids. They have recently put out some new instructions that I wanted to try, and I have used them enough times now that I felt like I could give an accurate review on them. So here are some of my experiences this year:
How they work
The Tattler lids come with a plastic “lid” and a rubber gasket. You place the gasket on the jar and then put the lid on top. Finally, you secure it with a regular jar ring. The gasket acts in a similar manner to a regular canning lid. When the jar is finished processing it will suck the lid down and make an indentation in the gasket just like it does to a canning lid. Here is a picture to compare the two:
If you have used these lids before, you may want to take note of these new instructions. In particular steps #5 and #7 have changed. There were some sealing issues before as people were screwing the lids on too tight.
- Inspect top of jar for cracks and nicks.
- Wash, rinse and sterilize jars. Scald lids and rubber rings.
Leave in water until ready to use.
- Fill jars as indicated per canning instructions for that food
- Wipe top of jar after filling. Place lid and rubber ring
combination on jar.
- Screw band on jar loosely. Center lid on jar and hold in place
with finger while tightening the metal screw band finger-tip tight.
DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN. Product must be allowed to vent during
- Process as per instructions for various foods.
- TIGHTEN METAL BAND FIRMLY IMMEDIATELY UPON REMOVAL FROM CANNER.
- When jars have cooled, remove metal band and lift gently on the
lid to determine if any failure has occurred. Sealed jars may be
stored without metal bands if desired.
- When removing lid, gently insert dull side of table knife (or
similar object) between rubber and lid or jar to release the seal –
DO NOT USE SHARP KNIFE.
- Wash plastic lids and rubber rings, rinse, dry and store for
future use. Do not save any rubber ring which is cut or deformed.
I have quite a few jars that I got from my grandma that had very old rings on them. I used a few of these older rings as I didn’t have quite enough of the newer ones to use. I had a hard time getting them to screw on properly and then I actually had three jars that had their seals fail. In the past I haven’t always taken the rings off to store my canned goods even though it’s usually recommended. After reading the new instructions I decided to do it this time and I was glad I did. The jars looked like they were ok but as I took off the rings the lids slid off. They were not sealed at all! Look at the difference between an old and a new lid. You can’t tell in the picture but the old lid is slightly warped too.
If you are going to use Tattler lids, you definitely want to buy some newer rings if you don’t have any on hand. I bought a few packages of rings/lids and just used the regular lids for a couple of batches and then had the rings to use afterwards. Depending on how many batches at a time you do, you may need quite a few good rings. I manage to do only 3-4 in a day so I only need 28 rings for now. If I get a second canner and get all of my children in school I may need to up that some day
Buying the Tattler lids is more expensive than regular lids initially. So it can be helpful to buy a few boxes each year and gradually build up over time. That’s what I’m doing. I can’t wait until I can move to EXCLUSIVELY using reusables. I would definitely recommend keeping a FEW regular lids on hand though as it’s nice to stick them on with a ring when you keep a bottle in the fridge that you are eating out of. Also, if you plan to do any gift giving, do a batch with regular lids. Don’t want to give away your Tattlers!
If you are curious about the approved use of these lids, here is the official statement that most local extension offices are providing:
Elizabeth Andress, Extension Food Safety Specialist – Department of Foods and Nutrition, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and National Center for Home Food Preservation shares the following response:
“The Tattler lids have been around a long time, but I have never used them or known of them being used in any reported research (ie, publicly available research). If people want to use them, they just need to go by the guidance provided by the company/manufacturer. I have no information that would tell me anything about seal failures or sealing rates, number of re-uses and performance throughout re-uses. I do not know what kind of vacuum levels are achieved, which would indicate how much air/oxygen gets vented out of the jar during processing. The lid choice itself would not impact the safety of the canning heat process if used on the correct shape and size of canning jar as the process specifies, and all other canning recommendations for jar filling, canner use, food preparation style, etc., are followed. So if people want to try them, they just need to be sure they can tell how to be sure they have a vacuum seal on their jar after processing and throughout storage.”