Sunday, April 17, 2016

Re-use canning lids

I did an experiment last night. For years I've wondered if the advice not to reuse canning lids was just advertising hype, and I finally decided to test it. Those who preserve food by canning hear it all the time. It's on the boxes, it's on the bottles, it's even on the blogs and boards where canners meet. DO NOT ever re-use canning lids. It's dangerous, they won't seal, buy new, buy new, buy new.

Right now the prices on canning lids are low. One commenter said "A few cents to assure my family's safety isn't too much." But I see no reason to buy into the "it's unsafe" hype without any logical reasoning behind it. The best "logic" behind the ban of old lids seems to be "They won't reseal." I can find nothing that really leads to a safety issue.

I chose lids that had been used previously. Some had only a very slight bump in the rubber seal, others had an indentation about half the depth of the rubber. Lids with deeper indentations will be tested later. None had any damage to the metal or the ring, other than the indentation from previous use. I discarded several that were either damaged or too stained. I chose to use pressure canning because I was planning a batch of chicken soup anyway and I figured the fat content would make a better test.

I chose not to scald the lids. I seldom scald lids (Note: with the Tattler lids you MUST or they won't seal properly) and I wanted the experiment to be the same as my usual process in every way. Otherwise it wouldn't be a fair test. I used half new lids (6) and half old lids. 9 pints (4 old, 5 new) and 3 quarts (2 old, 1 new). I used 15 pounds pressure for 90 minutes.

When I took them out, all but one were boiling and continued to boil. I turned that one on its head to keep the heat near the seal and it started to boil, reluctantly. When one of the bottles doesn't boil after being taken out of the pressure canner it often means that particular bottle doesn't have enough vacuum and won't seal. The one that threatened to fail was one of the new lids. It did seal overnight. All the others sealed within half an hour. Ping, ping, ping! :) Love that sound.

This morning I removed the rings and washed the bottles. All were sealed, all remained sealed when I lifted them by the lid and shook them gently. I've placed the bottles with the old lids in the pantry where I can keep an eye on them, and if any fail I'll have a better idea of how long the lids are good for. When they've all been used I'll use them again, and again until I reach the limit of their useful life.

I'll continue to buy new lids, but I'm glad to know that they CAN be reused if necessary.


Easy chicken soup (per pint):

1/2 c chicken
1/2 c carrots
1/2 c celery
1/2 c potatoes
1/2 c onion
If there's extra space, fill to capacity with chicken and fill the bottle with chicken juice.
Seasonings to taste. I used salt, pepper, garlic

This recipe assumes large chunks, there might not be enough space for 1/2 c of each if you cut the pieces small.

Double for quarts. I use the same recipe for beef.

No comments:

Post a Comment