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)

We Heart Pinterest Day 4: Canning


Since we LOVE Food Storage, and LOVE Pinterest (see post here), each day until February 14th, we’ll be showing you some of our favorite Pinterest boards and neat things we have found and have pinned there! It’s so great to see and share what others have done.

Today we are highlighting our Canning board. This board is a great place to find canning recipes and tips. Canning is one of those things it’s hard to remember all the instructions and directions, so having a place you can go back to reference is very helpful!

To see the whole board, click here.


  • PIN 1: This is something we saved because we HAVEN’T tried it yet, and really want to try it. Curious to see what that food is? Go to the pin!
  • PIN 2: These are jar “containers” that we are really curious about, and want to test out ourselves! Seems like your jars would stay protected in here.
  • PIN 3: One of Jodi’s first things she canned. Since then she has ventured into much more foods.
  • PIN 4: The book Jodi has named the Canning Bible. She doesn’t can anything without referring to it.

Make sure you check out the rest of the items on the Canning board. We’ll keep adding to that board as we find great stuff, and we’ll see you tomorrow to highlight another one of our boards!

Don’t forget you can Follow us on Pinterest so you don’t miss any of the great stuff we will be pinning in the future.

Book Review: Yes, You Can!

Please note: This is part of a series of reviews we are doing on food storage, emergency prep, and self-reliance type books. For more reviews click here.

 
 
Yes, You Can!
And Freeze and Dry It, Too
by Daniel Gasteiger

 

Background: The “Yes, You Can!” book is like a Ball Canning Guide meets “The Pioneer Woman” meets “Our Best Bites“. Thus it equals total heaven for me. Up to date recommendations on modern processing times and proper procedures like the Ball guides include, beautiful picture tutorials like I love from The Pioneer Woman, and helpful tips along the way like Our Best Bites provides with so many of their recipes. Whether you are an expert at canning and other home preservation techniques, or a beginner who is a little intimidated to get started on all of this … this book will have something for you!

What I Liked: Yes, You Can! really makes you feel like your mom or grandma is right beside you in the kitchen showing you step-by-step how to do everything and giving you little tidbits of useful info along the way. I LOVE how the book is laid out. There are sections on all kinds of preservation techniques so you can get ambitious and try more than just canning. Each section includes helpful information on the tools you will need for that particular preservation method, then a general step-by-step guide on how to do it, followed by specific and very detailed info on particular foods including great recipes to use.

My Favorite Part: I absolutely love how Daniel Gasteiger gives helpful and detailed information from someone who has actually DONE all of these things. I always wonder how many pounds or cups of fruit are needed to make a certain amount of quarts. He includes that. He also gives recommendations on how much to grow in your garden based on how much you want to preserve. I love this type of information as it saves me from so much trial and error and experimentation. Plus I always forget to write things like that down for the future. There are sooo many tips and tricks included, I feel like whenever I am working on a project he will be right there to make sure I do every little thing right.

Feedback: The tagline of Yes, You Can! is “The Modern Step-by-Step Guide to Preserving Food” and I think that is a great description. The only thing that was missing was information on preserving foods besides product. I think meats fit in with canning, freezing, dehydrating, etc. and it would be a wonderful addition (or sequel) to the book to add information about those process in the same format. I would LOVE it!

Summary: This book has become my new go-to book whenever I am doing any home preservation. If you want to get a really good feel for the book go check out the preview on Amazon.com. If you click the “Look Inside” button you can see a ton of the book. Flip through to chapter 3 and you will see all of the things I mention in the “What I Like” paragraph above. You definitely want to have Yes, You Can! on your bookshelf if you are into self reliance!


How-To Video: Canning Applesauce

Halloween is almost upon us, thus canning season is about to move over to make room for BAKING season :) I was scrambling to finish up a batch of applesauce before I left on a vacation last week. I wanted to do a little video tutorial to add to the step-by-step photo instructions I put together a few years ago. Hopefully it is helpful for you if you are new to canning!

How to Can Applesauce

Tattler Reusable Canning Lids

In the video I mentioned using reusable canning lids. I gave a more in depth review of the lids a few weeks ago in my post about canning peaches. They are awesome and I can’t wait to get more. Yay!

Julie’s Garden Update

So Jodi gave her garden update on Monday, and today it’s my turn. For those of you who have followed you know this year was my first year gardening. I still don’t have a yard that I can garden in (it’s small and shaded – always) so this year I borrowed some of my mom’s garden area. There were some advantages to this. She is a master gardener so she could teach me stuff, she tended to it while I was out of town, and she felt bad for me if some of my stuff didn’t come up right and gave me some of hers. The drawbacks of doing this was that I couldn’t just go to my backyard to pick lettuce for dinner, or see the growth each day. I’m glad I did it so I could learn a lot. I just can’t wait to have my OWN garden but…. once upon a time I had no room for food storage either. It’s a process.

Today I thought it would be fun to share with you how I’m using various garden vegetables. It’s SO fun and delicious to eat the yummy foods!


Green Peppers: When I first starting buying my own food in college, green peppers were 25 cents. Now they can be close to $1. For some reason it’s the only food price I remember, so it always bugs me just a little to buy green peppers. I love having them to throw in omelets with tomatoes, and onions. I make pizza once a week (more about that later) and love to top it with some fresh green pepper. I also love putting it in salads and bean salsas.

Zucchini. Oh I LOVE zucchini. I wish I had the abundance of zucchini I have right now YEAR round. I use it in everything. Really – spaghetti sauce, pizza toppings, grilled, boiled, fried, zucchini bread and more. The best part of it I think is the pizza though. I’ve been doing this amazing garden fresh pizza lately. I do whole wheat crust, tomato sauce, a little mozzarella cheese, and then top it with TONS of little chunks of zucchini, tomatoes, green peppers, onions and a little Parmesan cheese. Oh its HEAVENLY and it feels so light and guilt-free.

Spaghetti Squash. I may love spaghetti squash as much as I love zucchini. My favorite recipe is chicken Parmesan with spaghetti squash. I did a post about that one here. Well great- now I’m starving.

Lettuce, carrots, tomatoes: Who doesn’t love having fresh salad on hand all the time. The tomatoes are just coming in so I’ll be talking about that more later. I’m excited to can them with my mom and use them all year!

Gardening Updates as Fall Approaches

School starts in a week around these parts. How is summer over already??? We figured it’s been a while since we did our garden updates (although we’ve posted little updates on Facebook here and there) so here is a little summary of how things are going for us this year.

This year has been an interesting year for my garden. I got a late start on some things but they are finally catching up and I’m excited to START harvesting soon. We’ve been having pretty mild falls here lately so I’m hoping to still get a few months of good tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, etc. Most of my spring plantings got eaten by my chickens so I’ve had to adjust a few things to avoid that problem in the future. They were thrilled to discover brand new carrot and spinach seedlings growing in my garden and dug up the entire bed.

Here are some pictures of my current garden!


First pepper harvest (my kids think it’s the funnest thing ever to harvest).

My HUGE pumpkin plant that has taken over the yard (that’s what I get for actually WATERING it this year, lol)

The world’s best tomato cage. Every year my tomato plants fall all over the garden boxes and take over the yard and break my tomato cages. This one has been awesome so far!

Here is a “volunteer” tomato plant that grew out of a crack in my paver stones. There are actually tomatoes on it!

I managed to salvage a few green bean plants from the chickens, gotta assign these to the kids next :)

My cute little corn patch. I always try to grow corn and it never works that well. So far I have quite a few little cobs coming on, and the chickens seem to have kept the grasshoppers in check so maybe this year will be the year!

And THIS is the problem I have been facing … I try to keep the kids from letting them out when I’m not outside to keep them out of the garden. You can see how well THAT works out ;)

Items Not Pictured

I have two huge areas full of potatoes that I need to harvest. One I planted, and one is full of volunteer plants from last year. I am planning to try to can them since I will be pulling up so many all at once. I’m excited to try my new reusable canning lids for this project! I also have some zucchini just coming up (I planted two plants this year because they both looked half dead when I moved them outside … what was I thinking???). I have a few cucumber plants that almost died while we were on our trip to Canada, I THINK I will still get come cukes though. Probably not enough to make pickles this year though. I also have a few onions ready to pull up. I have decided I am not ambitious enough to do any fall planting. I will just enjoy harvesting what I’ve planted so far, and prepping my beds for next year.


Stay tuned later this week as Julie shares HER garden updates this year (her first year gardening!)

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!


Blasts from the Past: Learning the Lost Arts of Self Reliance

If you have been following along with our Extreme Food Storage Makeover you will have already been introduced to my mom, Grandma Lori. I remember growing up we used to eat homemade strawberry jam and bottled peaches and my mom would make alfalfa sprouts on the kitchen counter. As I got older my mom kind of stopped doing those things and when I got married I was so busy I didn’t give it a second thought.

When we started our blog people started to ask us about some of the “food storage swear words” like gardening, canning, dehydrating, and sprouting and we realized we knew nothing about them. I asked my mom why she never taught me how to can and she said “When you can buy canned tomatoes at the grocery store for $0.50 why would you waste the time to can them yourself?” Because I wanted to LEARN HOW, Mom!

I decided it would be good to learn some of these self-reliance skills even if I don’t ever “HAVE” to rely on them. Plus there truly are some legitimate benefits to processing your own foods such as the health factors, you CAN save money, and a lot of it tastes so much better home grown and processed then store-bought. Not to mention it is really fun and satisfying to know you did it yourself. I am still a beginner to much of this stuff, but here are some of the fun projects I’ve attempted so far:
 

COMING THIS SUMMER!
As part of a series I’m going to be doing on self-reliance

I had never tried any of these things before I started blogging about them, so if you have been scared to try, believe me, if I can do it so can you!


Day 9: Food Storage Christmas (fruits and veggies)


While not critical for sustaining life, fruits and vegetables are a welcome addition to any food storage program for the health benefits, variety, and to help you save money on your day to day grocery shopping. Include the Day 9 Tags to complete today’s gift ideas:


Options that are Free or Under $1

Gardening Seeds

Gardening is a great way to become more self reliant. Try giving a few packs of gardening seeds to help motivate people to get going on gardening. If you know the person doesn’t have a lot of space, pick herbs, or things you can grow on kitchen counters.


An Option that is $5-$30

Canning Supplies

A fun way to start using foods you garden, or buy in season for great prices is by canning them. A lot of people don’t have what you need to start canning and don’t think of buying it for themselves. A small canning kit along with a canner is a great idea to get started.


A More Expensive Option

Food Dehydrator

Another way to preserve fruits and veggies is through dehydrating. Again, if you’re feeling generous a great idea is a food dehydrator. You might want to be sure this is something the person is open/ready to get going on. You wouldn’t want to intimidate them too much :)

Freeze Dried Fruit or Veggie Buckets

For someone who is busy and doesn’t have time to preserve their own fruits or veggies, you may want to consider giving them some of these Lindon Farms Fruit and Veggie Buckets. They are a great price for a variety of items and stack nicely for easy storage.

Back to the 12 Days List