I announced that I was experimenting with Tattler reusable canning lids the first week of August. I have now had a month to test out these lids on various home canned products. I tested 3 dozen of these lids under various conditions looking at several variables that were important to me. Here is my full review of these lids. [This is not a paid review and I have no affiliation with S & S Innovations, Corp. The opinions expressed here about these canning lids are my opinions. ]
- product - Tattler reusable canning lids are a BPA-free heavy plastic reusable canning lid made in the USA. The lid requires a separate rubber ring that is included with the lids. Additional rubber rings can be purchased to replace damaged rubber rings.
- why? - Currently the only approved lids for canning are the two piece metal, single-use snap lids. The three problems with these metal lids are: 1) single-use which adds to landfills; 2) availability which isn't guaranteed; and 3) BPA content in the plastic coating on the metal lids.
- test conditions - I tested the Tattler lids under normal home canning conditions using different sizes of jars, boiling water bath (BWB) and pressure canner (PC) processing. I also tested the lids for ease of use, seal failures, staining, reusing, vacuum sealing, cost, storage and miscellaneous problems.
- cost - The metal, single-use snap lids cost me 10¢ per lid at their lowest price. The Tattler's cost me an 84¢ per lid investment meaning I need to reuse each lid 8 times before realizing a payback but after that they will cost nothing to use saving me about $100 per year.
- ease of use - The Tattler reusable canning lids have a slightly different preparation method. Once the lid is placed on the jar it and the ring tightened it is extremely important to turn back the ring by ¼- inch for proper venting during the canning process. I used the 'A' in Tattler to gauge this by tightening the ring then turning back the size of the 'A'. I really did not have a problem adjusting the method for using the Tattler lids.
- processing method - The Tattler lids performed equally well in BWB and PC conditions.
- jar sizes - The Tattler lids performed well on all jar sizes I tested on: 125 ml, 250 ml, 500 ml and 1 L.
- seal failures - I experienced 3 seal failures during the testing period. All were directly due to learning the proper method and there is a learning curve.
- reusing - I tested using the lids canning water both in BWB and PC. I then reused the lids to can other foods and I reused the seal failure lids. Lids that were reused performed as well as new lids.
- staining - I used the lids on blueberry and several tomato products. I experienced no lid staining.
- storage - Anyone doing larger scale home canning can relate to the storage issues for both filled jars as well as new lids and rings. I remove the rings, wash and dry rings and jars then replace the rings loosely for storage as per Bernardin's instructions. Storing large numbers of reusable lids could be a problem especially with larger scale canning. I plan to store the lids and rings not in use in a large plastic tote. Not storing the jars with rings on has already created a back-up of rings but in some ways that is good because I can cull out some of the older, well used rings. However, not storing the jars with rings prevents convenient stacking of filled jars using the ring to hold the next layer steady. My solution is line the filled jars single layer on shelving and to repack any overflow into the original canning jar boxes to stack.
- vacuum sealing - The Tattler lids outperform the metal snap lids for vacuum sealing!
- the ping - The most notable difference with Tattler lids is there is no audible ping to indicate the lid has sealed! I'm going to miss that. If a Tattler lid doesn't seal it simple lifts off the lid so it is quite noticeable eliminating any guess work as to whether the lid has sealed.
- burr - There is a slight burr on the lid that is annoying. While this does not affect performance it can cause problems like a slight cut on your fingers. I solved this problem by using a nail file of the burr. It's not a huge problem but would be nice if I didn't have to deal with it.
- labeling - I label my jars using a Sharpie permanent marker on the lid. It is not possible to use this technique on a Tattler lid. I tested this on one lid and after 30 minutes of set time even using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser there was still a ghost mark on the lid. I don't like using labels on my jars so my solution on Tattler jars is to write the product name and date directly on the jar. A Sharpie works well but I will be switching to an old fashioned grease pencil to eliminate off gassing from the Sharpie markers.
- gifting - Cost is an issue when it comes to home canned foods that will be gifted. Our kids and most of our friends are very, very good at returning my jars for refills so I would not hesitate to send a jar or two of food home with them with a Tattler lid because I know it would get back to me. However, some of my home canned foods go out to friends that don't know the rule is to return the jar for a refill. The cost of Tattlers is prohibitive for single use so I will be using the single use metal lid which means my work around is to can foods for home use with Tattlers and those designated for gift giving with the metal snap lids.
- shipping - I do think the shipping is a little high especially since sending to a US address address via Priority Post would cost about $4 while they charged $9.33 so that is just a tad excessive in my book. I'm sorry but this has to be one of my biggest complaints with the lids!
My inital investment on the Tattler lids was $30.28 for 3 dozen lids. I tested the Tattler lids on several home canned products. I am extremely impressed with the performance of the Tattler lids! I actually found myself preferring the Tattler lids over the metal lids. In my opinion once you get over the learning curve for using these lids they are far superior to the metal lids.
As someone who cans well over 1.000 jars of food annually I am elated to be able to secure a reliable source of reusable canning lids while reducing what is going to the recyclers or landfill. In my opinion this makes Tattler lids the eco-friendly addition to home canning. In general I found these lids seal better than the metal lids. With a metal lid there can be a false seal where it looks like the jar is sealed but later it becomes unsealed. With the Tattler lids if a lid is not sealed it is immediately apparent so it removes the whole issue of false seals. Any of the problems I encountered were easily solved other than the shipping costs.
The Tattler lids are one product I will recommend based on my initial testing. I was impressed enough with these lids that I ordered a second time. I did not order the larger 500 lid amount because I am really curious as to how these lids will perform under repeated test conditions. Also there is very little price incentive for ordering the larger amount. You do get a 5% cost reduction on the lids at 500 lids but there is an larger inital investment however the costs work out to 60¢ per lid giving a lower pay back period. Once I do the long term testing on reusability for these lids I will place an order for the 500 lid count if the results are favourable.