Product Review: Tattler Reusable Canning Lids

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:

Detailed instructions
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.

  1. Inspect top of jar for cracks and nicks.
  2. Wash, rinse and sterilize jars. Scald lids and rubber rings.
    Leave in water until ready to use.
  3. Fill jars as indicated per canning instructions for that food
    type.
  4. Wipe top of jar after filling. Place lid and rubber ring
    combination on jar.
  5. 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
    processing.
  6. Process as per instructions for various foods.
  7. TIGHTEN METAL BAND FIRMLY IMMEDIATELY UPON REMOVAL FROM CANNER.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Wash plastic lids and rubber rings, rinse, dry and store for
    future use. Do not save any rubber ring which is cut or deformed.

My Experiences
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.

Recommendations
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!

Disclaimer
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.

Canning 101: Everything You Need to Know to GET STARTED

The other night we asked this question on our Facebook page: What would be the ONE topic you would want to learn more about? You can only pick ONE, no cheating.

Overwhelmingly the response was that everyone wanted to learn more about CANNING. We’ve posted about different canning projects over the years but have never done a comprehensive “How-To” for you so today we’re going to give you a run down on everything you need to know to get started.

Canning 101: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started | Food Storage Made Easy

Get a GOOD Canning Guide

Ball has put out several canning books that I think are very helpful. Our favorite go-to manual is the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. If there is anything you are thinking of canning, there should be instructions in there for you. Make sure to take note of the sections on altitudes as you may find that your processing times are different if you live in a very high (or low) area.

Another book we’d recommend if you like to see more step by step instructions, beautiful photography, and personal tips, is Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry It, Too by Daniel Gasteiger. Click here to see a full review on why we love that book. It’s really fun to sit and browse through and great for seeing instructions laid out very clearly.

My pressure canner also came with a booklet with details on processing times for that particular machine. That’s a great resource to use as well.

Get Your Canning Tools

Water Bath Canner and/or Pressure Canner
If you are wanting process high acid fruits and vegetables all you need is a basic water bath canner. If you want to process meats, beans, and some vegetables, you will need a pressure canner. Here is a video we did explaining some of the differences in pressure canners and pressure cookers.


As mentioned in the video, you can also use a pressure canner as a water bath canner (you need a 23 qt pressure canner in order to water bath quart jars due to the size). So if you think you will do both kinds of canning just go with a large pressure canner to avoid making two purchases.

Here are a few links to the canners we recommend.

Presto Pressure Canner


I have the 16 quart shown here but would love to upgrade to a 23 quart some day.
All-American Pressure Canner

This is a higher-end model of canner. It doesn’t have any gaskets and it is a heavy-duty machine. You will never need another canner.
Water Bath Canner


This is your basic canner. I see these at garage sales quite often, so keep your eyes peeled. They are also fairly inexpensive to buy new.

Canning Lids
For all canning projects you must have canning lids and rings. This can be an expensive part of canning because you are supposed to buy new lids every time. At $4-$5 per box of 12 that can really add to the expense of one jar of food. I recently have started to buy Tattler Reusable Canning Lids (I buy a few boxes before each big canning session I do so it’s not too expensive all at once). I’ve had a great experience with them so far and I love that I don’t have to throw them away after one use.

Canning Jars
I usually see these in Wal-Mart at this time of year. Another great place to look is at garage sales or second hand stores. If you buy new jars it’s nice because they come with lids and rings. If you are going to use the Tattler Reusable Lids you’ll need enough rings for a few batches since you process the jars using rings, and then have to leave them on while the jars cool. You can also find jars at a reasonable price on Amazon.

Optional Tools
You can buy extra tools that you may want to have on hand such as tongs, a large funnel, a lid lifter, etc. which will make your canning tasks much easier. This kit is comprehensive and a great price if you are buying everything to get started.

How to Actually Can Things!

Over the years we’ve done several tutorials on canning some of our favorite things. If you are new to canning, these can be a great way to follow step-by-step and give you the confidence to get started on your own.

Canning Peaches … Delish!
Learn how to can peaches, Jodi has a little different technique than most books recommend. (To view in a video, visit this post)

How to Make Strawberry Jam
Homemade strawberry jam is such a treat, it is so much yummier than store-bought, which is truly the reason to make it.

How to Can Homemade Applesauce
Applesauce is one of the easiest and most delicious foods to can. This is a step by step tutorial on how we do it. (To view in a video visit this post)

How to Pressure Can Ground Beef
Jodi gives a step-by-step overview of her experiences with this process that intimidated her for a LONG time. (Includes a video)

How to Pressure Can Chicken
See how easy it is to can your own chicken so that you can have shelf stable chicken ready for recipes, and in case of emergencies. (Includes a video)

One of the things people seemed most interested in with canning was canning MEATS. We know that meats are one of the more intimidating things to consider for food storage. We are going to be sending out an informative newsletter on this topic later this week to all who are subscribed to our Babysteps Checklists or our newsletter list. So make sure to get on one of those lists to get the full details on meat preservation and usage in food storage.

How to Can Peaches – Video Tutorial


2 bushels of peaches, approximately 56 jars of peaches (8 batches)

How to Can Peaches

Last year I did a little photo/text tutorial on canning peaches. I know some people prefer to see tutorials in video format so this year when my husband and I were canning two bushels of peaches we decided to document the process on tape for you all. Enjoy!

Tattler Reusable Canning Lids

As mentioned in the video, I was experimenting with reusable canning lids for the first time. I removed the lid off of one jar and reused it in a later batch and it sealed just fine! Overall I was very happy with the results. I think it will take a little getting used to it is a little bit different than traditional lids in how tight you have to put the lids on … but definitely worth figuring out!

What I LOVE
If you are a canner, you may have noticed that the disposable lids have gotten quite a bit more expensive lately (12 lids for around $4 or $0.33 per lid). I’ve also had a hard time finding them in stores (they only seem to have wide-mouth lids in stock ever). To buy 3-dozen Tattler lids with the gaskets it was $26.40 including shipping ($0.73 per lid). We visited with the people at the Tattler booth at the Self Reliance Expo over the weekend and they told me to expect at least 15 uses with the gaskets before I would need to replace them. The lids are reusable forever and the gaskets can be replaced VERY inexpensively.

With the amount of canning I do each year, this is going to save me a LOT of money (and a lot of trash). My only problem now is I need to get myself a lot more of the lids. I’ve also noticed it’s nice to keep a few of the disposable ones on hand so that when I have open bottles in the fridge I can stick those on and immediately reuse the Tattler lids.

Comparing a used gasket to an unused gasket
This picture shows you what happens to the gasket after it has performed a proper seal (top one is used). It is indented and you can easily tell it apart from an unused gasket. Each time you use a gasket you should invert it so it wears evenly on both sides.

Comparing a gasket to a traditional lid
You can see that the indentations in the gasket look very similar to the indentations in a traditional metal lid. Getting familiar with how they look will help you easily recognize which way to place your gasket on your next batch.

PLEASE NOTE:
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.”

Is It Your Canning Season Yet? Start Planning!

It’s so fun having blog readers all over the country and even the world. We get to hear about what people are doing in their gardens and what fruits are coming in their area, and everyone’s situation is so different. We know a lot of you will have canning season coming up shortly, so start planning now so you can be ready if you see something come on sale!

There was a time where neither of us thought that we had the time, energy, knowledge, or desire to learn how to can. I finally broke down and begged my mom to give me instructions on how to make her strawberry jam when she moved out of state from me for two years and I couldn’t steal from her supply. When I stocked up my own year supply, with strawberries I got on sale for $0.88, and it was all absolutely delicious … I was hooked. I wanted to can more.

While it IS a lot of work, and I always complain while I’m doing it … I love the end result. Home canned foods are so much yummier than store-bought. You can also control how much sugar you put in (ok I admit I don’t home can to make things lower in sugar, but other people do!) There are no weird preservatives that you can’t pronounce. And if you have your own garden, you can get a year supply of fruits and vegetables at very low cost (especially if you already have your jars).

I was curious what other home-canned foods people can’t live without so I asked on our Facebook page (love Facebook for informal polls, lol) and we got a great response. Here are a few of the responses:

I’ve done a few tutorials on different items I’ve canned over the past few years, and I am hoping to add to the collection this summer/fall. If you are just getting started with canning these might help you overcome any fears or worries you may have.

Canning Peaches … Delish!
Learn how to can peaches, Jodi has a little different technique than most books recommend.

How to Make Strawberry Jam
Homemade strawberry jam is such a treat, it is so much yummier than store-bought, which is truly the reason to make it.

How to Can Homemade Applesauce
Applesauce is one of the easiest and most delicious foods to can. Step by step tutorial on how we do it.

How to Pressure Can Ground Beef
Jodi gives a step-by-step overview of her experiences with this process that intimidated her for a LONG time.

How to Pressure Can Chicken
See how easy it is to can your own chicken so that you can have shelf stable chicken ready for recipes, and in case of emergencies.

One thing I’m really excited about trying out this year is reusable canning lids. I heard about them and got so excited because I really hate having to buy the disposable lids every year (totally ups the cost of home canning). And also I kept worrying about a long term emergency situation where I would want to preserve my own foods, but what if lids weren’t available. I can’t wait to find out if these will be a workable solution. They are more expensive than traditional lids but … REUSABLE! I will be using them for my tutorials and letting you all know what I think of them. Now I just need something to can! Hurry up tomatoes!