Trying Out Tattler Lids
Several years ago I purchased a good sized supply of reusable canning lids from Tattler. I was intrigued by their claim of indefinitely reusable lids for preserving your food. Always on the look out for more sustainable tools, products, and methods of growing and preserving my food…I had to give them a try. One of my many concerns is how will I preserve food for my family without electricity or grocery stores in a bug in situation. The metal canning lids are only made for a singe use. This leaves you with two choices if the SHTF, stock up a gazillion metal lids and/or start reusing them and hope you don’t kill yourself with botulism. The Tattler lids sounded like a great supply to have on hand and I ordered 12 boxes of small mouth lids and 10 boxes of wide mouth lids.
Reviewing The Pros and Cons
Some of the things I like about the Tattler lids are that they are free of BPA, are indefinitely reusable, dishwasher safe, can be used for hot water bath or pressure canning, and made in the good ol’ USA (bonus!). I’ve canned jams, fruits, carrots, beans, chicken, broth, beef stew, potatoes, salsa, tomatoes, and water (yes, water) with these lids. The best advice I can give you about these Tattler lids is…you need a lot of practice to get it right. The first few batches I canned did not seal well. I had about a 50% failure rate, which is totally unacceptable in my book. I tried re-processing the jars and very few of them sealed the second time around.
At first I was pretty ticked off about the failure rate. I’ve been canning food since I was a kid, and I’m no spring chicken. So the idea that half of my jars didn’t seal was a real slap in the face. I chalked it up to learning experience went back to square one. I read the instructions again and decided that my mistake may have been in how tight to screw on the lids. The instructions say to tighten the lids, then turn back ¼ inch. I followed the instructions to a T and began again. My next attempt went much better, but I still had a jar or two from each batch that didn’t seal properly. More practice and quite a few foul words ensued.
What I don’t like about these canning lids is that, to this day, I still don’t have as good a success rate with the Tattler canning lids as I do with the disposable metal lids. You can’t tell if your jars seal by listening for the pinging sound that the metal lids make as they cool. You also can’t tell by looking at the lids for the depressed center and lack of ‘bounce back’ you’ll get from the metal lids when the seal is tight. You have to wait until the jars of food have cooled, take the metal screw band off, and then gently pull up on the lid to see if comes off. If it feels like it’s stuck tight, then the seal is good.
In addition to the learning curve necessary for using the Tattler lids, you also need to be prepared to replace the rubber rings every so often. They are not indestructible, so care needs to be taken when opening your canned goods. Don’t use a sharp knife to pry the plastic lid off the jar, or you may damage the rubber rings. I have a few that were dumped in the sink with other dishes and now they are all wonky and messed up. So I need to order a new supply of rubber rings.
Buy, Try, Diversify!
If you’ve read about the Tattler canning lids and want to give them a try, I highly recommend that you follow the instructions exactly, and practice, practice, practice. I don’t regret purchasing my Tattler lids. I know that if the SHTF and I can’t buy more metal canning lids, I will still have a way to can food because I have several hundred Tattler lids on hand. I keep working on increasing my success rate each year. And I definitely want to buy more lids and a big stash of the rubber rings to have on hand for replacements. For long term food preservation, I know that there may come a day when even my Tattler lids are no longer a viable solution. So I also practice alternative methods of preservation so I’m not dependent on just canning food.
My favorite methods for preserving food:
- Root cellaring or clamping
- Freezing (while we have electricity available)
The moral of this story is to diversify. Don’t rely entirely on one method of preservation or one tool. If the method you rely on fails, you’ll be up crap creek without a paddle.
Have you tried canning with Tattler lids? What did you like or dislike about them?
If you haven’t tried them yet, you can get some here.