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I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
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Sunday, September 05, 2010

Tattler Reusable Canning Lids Review

Tattler reusable canning lids

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. ]

Abstract:
  • 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.
Results:
  • 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!
Miscellaneous Problems:
  • 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! 
Conclusion:

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.


16 food lovers commented:

LindaG said...

Glad to hear they worked out so well. That's great! :)

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks Linda :)

Angela said...

Thanks for the comment on my review of these lids. I'm curious if you've had any seals fail after they've been on the shelf for a while? Also, my local store canning lids regular price are approx .20 each. I've gotten them on sale a few times cheaper than that, but you've got a good place to buy if you can get them for .10 each!

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Angela and thanks for visiting :) So far I have not had any seal failures during storage. I currently have 33 jars with Tattler lids in storage with no problems. Dollar stores are now carrying the metal lids that work out to 10¢ each.

Leingang Family said...

Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I liked your review on the lids. I used them yesterday for the first time. I have yet to see if they sealed... I'm a little nervous now that I read your review. Any suggestions for me if they didn't seal? As this is only my second year of canning, I need any advice I can get. :o)

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Leingang Family and thanks for visiting :) I'm glad you liked my review. During the testing period for these lids it is reasonable to expect a few to fail so only 3 failures over this period is actually not bad. There is no doubt in my mind that the lid failures I experienced was due to the learning curve of using a slightly different technique and not due to the lids themselves.

Anytime a lid fails within the first 24 hours of processing the food can be reprocessed by reheating and processing it again with new metal lids or cleaned Tattler lids. If is only one jar rather than run the canner again you can refrigerate it to use within a day or two.

There is a lot of good information if you click on the canning information tab at the top of the page. The best advice for new canners is to educate yourself as well as use tested, safe recipes for canning.

realworldmom said...

So it's been fall and spring. I'm not sure what you can but was wondering how these lids are behaving. I am worried about spoilage. The metal lids in a water bath I can pull off with a little strength but I'm worried that if I "test" the tattler lids I will be able to pull them off even if they are pressure canned. I eventually would like to know if these lids will prevent spoilage over a few years of sitting. Do you have to leave the rings on in the pantry or can you take them off and box them up. I usually dont leave my rings on because I didnt have enough to continually can.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi realworldmom and thanks for visiting. My gosh I have put these lids through the paces. IMO they perform better than the metal lids. I do not keep the rings on for storage mainly because I wanted to see if there were any seal failures during storage. So far I have had no seal failures. I packed one case of jars all sealed with Tattler lids to take down to our vacation home so they made the trip from Ontario to Florida in December with a stop-over. Not one of the jars had a seal failure. So far everything I have tested these lids with have resulted in no seal failures. I've used both pressure canning and boiling water bath. Some of my lids have been used several times now. Aside of the learning curve of using the lids because the method is a bit different I have had no seal failures :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great review. Did you order directly from Tattler? Can you buy them in Canada?

Thanks,
Ro

Vivian said...

Just had a close call that could have been tragic, using Tattler lids, and I wanted to share this with other folks to hopefully prevent this from happening to others. I was canning stewed tomatoes, took them out of the pressure canner, and began to tighten down the lids (it's the last step with Tattler lids, you have to screw them down again after you take them out of the canner). One of the jars literally exploded in my hand, spewing boiling hot tomatoes all over my kitchen. It burned my hand pretty badly. If a child had been in the kitchen, this could have been much worse. I've been canning for over 30 years, and never had anything like this happen to me...it's my second year using Tattler but after this, I am having second thoughts. Also, I usually have one jar fail in every batch...it may simply not be worth it.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Anonymous, you're welcome :) I ordered directly from Tattler.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Vivian, anytime you are moving hot jars from the canner to cool can be rather dangerous. Using the Tattler lids adds that one extra step of having to handle the jars so increases the risk of breakage. Chances are the jar that broke had some type of flaw making it more susceptible to thermal shock but it's hard to tell. At any rate I use silicone oven mitts when dealing with hot jars especially those with the Tattler lids and glass seals. I've never had one break as you did but at least if it did I'm protected.

NutriMom said...

I would dearly love to know where to buy the glass seals you mention, if 'new'.

I have seen 'antique' glass lids that fit inside zinc metal rings - are those the glass seals that you mention?

Plus I have wondered where i could find rubber rings that would fit those antique glass lids to use for storing dried beans, grains, nuts and seeds. Perhaps the tattler red seals will work, as I see they are simple circls that do not have the little tab.

verbatim said...

Thanks much for your review. May I ask what method you used for vacuum sealing? (a bit new at this)
Thanks!

Garden Gnome said...

Hi NutriMom, the glass inserts I use are the antique ones. I have no problem getting the rubber gasket as they are still sold here. The Tattler rubber gaskets will not work as they are slightly smaller with a larger mouth opening and they are thinner than the rubber gaskets required for the glass inserts. The company that manufactures the rubber gaskets for use with the glass insert is Vicroy based in Toronto, Ontario.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Verbatim, and thanks for visiting. I use the mason jar sealer attachment for my Foodsaver to vacuum seal mason jars. If you don't have the attachment, you can seal inside one of the canisters then remove the sealed jar from the canister for storage.