I hate canning.
I really do, but please don’t pick on me for saying it!
I don’t like trying to coordinate the timing on getting everything hot at the right time, having sterile jars and the right amount ready to go, all the water that seems like is wasted in the process, and how long it takes. I’m so tempted to learn how to can homemade stock, but I feel like it would be so much work and water that I wouldn’t do it even though I know it’s way less work on the other end when you don’t have to thaw anything.
I’m not good at figuring out how much water to heat and often have to add more, then wait longer for a boil, and I really dislike that once you realize you don’t have enough food for a full canner batch, there’s really nothing you can do to fix it.
I know a lot of people can all the time and love it, and I’m not knocking the process, I’m just saying that I’m a bumbling idiot in the kitchen and don’t juggle canning very well.
I probably just need more education, training, and practice…I just haven’t pursued it yet.
That said, I’ve always canned tomatoes because it’s (almost) the only way to have diced tomatoes without BPA-lined cans, and I usually can some applesauce every year simply because we buy a lot of apples, and I have to preserve them somehow without taking up too much freezer space.
I’ve always seen Tattler reusable canning lids around the Internet but never cared enough to look into them (I hate canning, remember?). I figured that the food doesn’t touch the lids long enough to matter all that much on the BPA issue…right?
But maybe my head was in the sand. On my most recent batch of canning, I noticed that all that bubbling while processing really makes the food touch the lids the whole time, at high heat. Is that enough to leach toxic chemicals into the food at a high enough rate to matter? (Is there any safe rate???) Some of my applesauce is even still touching the lids, probably because I’m a doof at canning. Headspace is not my forte.
That most recent batch was applesauce, the perfect thing to can in the autumn in Michigan.
I thought I made PLENTY of applesauce and expected to even have some leftover for dessert on a gray Sunday to go with gluten-free homemade pizza…but alas, I only filled 5 quarts! Not even the whole canner!
I was so frustrated, because once the jars were in the canning pot (found on Amazon), it didn’t seem like I could make MORE and add to it, and besides – I had already cleaned up the peeler/corer/slicer mess (affiliate link goes to the one I bought last year from Amazon). I ended up canning water just to make the water in the canning pot get above my jars. Sigh. Turns out for my testing purposes, canning water was a great idea because now I know what to tell you about how easily (or not) the lids open.
This experience is coming off the heels of my batch of canned pickles last year, which all sealed…then came unsealed as they sat in the basement. Even though the literature says not to reuse regular canning lids, friends have told me that they do it…so I did. Big mistake, I imagine, OR I just didn’t wait long enough for a real boil before I started timing.
Either way, it was a horrible feeling to dump all those pickles, all that time spent, down the drain. I was pretty down on canning in general, and then I manage to mess up applesauce too.
“Why can’t I figure out canning? What am I missing here?” I cried out in frustration.
My husband, ever helpful, offered this: “It’s just a guess, but I’m thinking maybe apples.”
Thank you, point-out-the-obvious man.
But How did Tattler Canning Lids Work?
Despite my ineptitude, I did manage to can some applesauce. Readers had mentioned that there’s a little learning curve with Tattler lids, so I was nervous, but I really didn’t need to be. Here’s what I found about them:
- Since there are three pieces (including the ring) instead of two, it’s one more thing to juggle, but it’s really, really minor. I didn’t think they were any more difficult to use than the lids I’m used to.
- Tattler’s directions are really thorough – I had to remind myself not to tighten the lids too much as emphasized in their literature. Fingertip tighten because air needs to move in and out of the jar (or just out?). That could have been my pickles’ downfall too, I suppose.
- Since the food really does touch the lid quite a bit during processing – which for me takes FOREVER because I keep restarting the timer, worried that my pot wasn’t at a full boil long enough – I’m so happy to have BPA-free lids.
- There’s no “pop” sound. This is a bummer, because that part of canning is really fun and gratifying. Perhaps this is where the learning curve comes in – how do you tell if the lids sealed? That’s why I’m glad I canned water, because I could test out how tight the seal really is without risking unsealing a sealed jar of applesauce. I pulled with all my might on both Tattler lids on the jars of water, and nothing would budge. I even tried to pry the lid off using only my fingers – nothing. So you can absolutely test your seals by yanking on the lids as hard as you can.
- (I unfortunately had one jar that didn’t seal for whatever reason, but that’s pretty normal for me. At least I found it right away and put it in the fridge for the week’s lunches.)
- Opening the lids isn’t difficult, but I wasn’t able to use a butter knife like the literature recommends as a possibility. I had much more confidence with a flat can opener (because you don’t want to use something sharp and damage the rubber seal since you get to reuse it!).
- I do love the reusable part. One reason I cheated (stupidly) and reused the other kind of canning lids was that it always pained me to throw them away. It seems like such a waste of resources.
So my bottom line? I do think Tattler lids are a great idea, they aren’t difficult, they are safer, and I trust the seal (well, as much as I trust anything I have done!). I’m super impressed by their lifetime guarantee and so appreciate the BPA-free quality.
Tattler also has a breast cancer awareness month promo that does NOT include the Komen Foundation, but rather an organization that gives help to women already battling cancer, funding groceries, childcare, trips to the hospital, etc. – things that women who are sick really need. I love that.
If you’d like to try some lids, please use the code KSShip here for 5% off through at least the end of this year (my list said “2014” but I’m not sure if that was intentional or a typo).
Have you ever used Tattler’s lids? Would you like to?
PS – I’m giving away a TON of reusable canning lids through 10/31! Check out the giveaway HERE.
If you appreciated the balance and depth of the review you just read, you will love my resources page, with REAL products that have passed my rigorous testing enough to be “regulars” in the Kimball household, plus some other comprehensive reviews. Updated at least once a year to boot the losers and add new gems!