Outside the US, it's hard to find canning lids. Using the Tattler Reusable Lids solves the problem, plus they tend to seal better -- not to mention being environmentally friendly!

Tattler Re-Usable Canning Lids

When we were cruising in Mexico and Central America, every so often the big topic on the morning radio nets would be “where can I buy canning lids?”

Many cruisers like to can their own foods — particularly meats — as they feel it has better quality, better texture and they can add spices (or not) to their own taste.  But the problem once you get south of the US is finding lids, since the typical “Ball” brand lids that are sold in every grocery store in the US can only be used once.  And they are almost impossible to find in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America . . . or are ridiculously expensive.

This was one of the reasons that I didn’t can my own meat on Que Tal, although I’d done a lot of canning while living ashore.  I kept thinking that if I could ever find the reusable lids that my grandma had used when I was a kid, I could do my own canning on the boat, since I wouldn’t have to worry about getting lids.

Now, I know that you can take a whole bunch of lids with you, and pick up more on trips to the US.  That’s what some cruisers do.

But if you really are going to do much of your own canning, you’re going to need a fair number of lids.  And while each pack of 12 seems small, they do take up space if you’re carry enough for a year — space both in your luggage and aboard the boat until you use them.  And then there’s the environmental aspect of throwing something away when you can use a re-usable alternative.

AtOutside the US, it's hard to find canning lids. Using the Tattler Reusable Lids solves the problem, plus they tend to seal better -- not to mention being environmentally friendly! the Annapolis Sailboat Show, I found reusable lids!  It wasn’t from a vendor’s booth, though — it was at the Seven Seas Cruising Association booth, where Joan Conover, the cruising station coordinator, had brought them along to show cruisers.

The Tattler Re-Usable Canning Lids (link is to Amazon, they’re available in both regular and wide-mouth) come in 12-packs with a hard plastic (BPA-free) lid and a rubber ring.  You still need your jars and the metal screw-down rings.  And they work whether you’re using a pressure canner or a plain boiling water bath.  You can see that the rubber rings are much thicker than the little bit of rubber rim on the Ball lids, so you don’t have to worry about them tearing.

Outside the US, it's hard to find canning lids. Using the Tattler Reusable Lids solves the problem, plus they tend to seal better -- not to mention being environmentally friendly!Joan told me that she’d been using them for several years and they worked really well.  In fact, she liked them even better than the non-reusable ones as she had far fewer jars that didn’t seal.  And as long as you kept the lid and rubber very clean, they worked just as well the second, third and subsequent times. The photo at right shows the lid and rubber ring in use, with the metal ring removed.

IMPORTANT:  When opening the jar for the first time, don’t take a knife and stab it into the rubber — you have to use a bit of care not to tear them up.  The “no-added-parts” way to do it is to place the flat side of a table knife on the top of the jar threads and push down on one end to “pop” the lid off, rather than trying to pry it off by sticking the knife under the lid.  You can also use a bottle opener such as those freebies that come on key rings.

Detailed instructions on how to use the lids are contained in every box.  If you’re curious before buying them, you can read the directions on the Tattler website.  The Tattler website also sells the lids in larger quantities (3 dozen, 24 dozen, 500 or more) as well as replacement rubber rings (one dozen at a time) should you ever need any.

If you’re planning to do your own canning as you cruise, I’d seriously consider using the Tattler lids.  Actually, you might want to use them anywhere you are!

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20 Comments
  • PacificSailors
    Posted at 24 October 2011 Reply

    What perfect timing for this post! We have been canning anything we can get our hands on and have been thinking about buying extra lids for when we finally live aboard. The next question we have is how to store the jars on the boat? Is it bad for them to get jostled around all the time? We’ve also been drying and then vacuum sealing fruit. Do you have any tips for that? Thanks Carolyn!

    • Marilyn
      Posted at 07 January 2014 Reply

      We have cruised for years with canning jars on boat and never broken one to boat motion.
      I had a friend ,who had teen aged boys, save me the socks they outgrew or got holes in. I cut the socks into 5 inch lengths and slipped them over the jars to protect the jars.
      We also use this idea on wine bottles but use the entire sock on a wine bottle.
      Hope this idea helps.

  • Carolyn Shearlock
    Posted at 24 October 2011 Reply

    Re: Jars of Canned Food — I’d store them like I do wine bottles, in an upright rack made from 4″ PVC. I’ve been planning to do an article on making one, so I’ll move it up the list. But I think that if you put the jars inside old tube socks and then in the PVC tubes, they wouldn’t get jostled so badly that any lids would un-seal. Every year, I’d have a few jars of home-canned foods, and I never had one lose its lid. I don’t know if just putting them in tube socks without the PVC rack would work as I never tried it.

    Re: Drying and Vacuum Sealing Fruit — The only thing that I know here is that it has to be REALLY dry. I haven’t tried drying my own (I keep saying I’m going to . . .) but I did get quite a bit of “home-dried” fruits in Mexico at various farmers markets, which I then vacuum sealed. I found that it didn’t last nearly as long as the commercially dried and packaged products . . . probably due to additives. Even vacuum sealed, store it in a cool place and don’t expect it to last longer than about 3 months. Some that I bought (I think it was mangoes?) seemed a little moist at the time and got moldy in just a couple of weeks.

    Good luck and let me know how it goes so others can learn!

  • Candy Ann Williams on Facebook
    Posted at 06 March 2012 Reply

    Wow! I am so excited I love that you found these-I didn’t know they existed!! I store my jars in thick tube socks that I cut to size. Haven’t lost any…knock on wood…thanks again for sharing.

  • Behan Fravel Gifford on Facebook
    Posted at 14 April 2013 Reply

    I love canning, and these look great, but my problem is the bands rusting out- which this doesn’t solve. Have you seen bands that don’t rust?

  • The Boat Galley on Facebook
    Posted at 14 April 2013 Reply

    I haven’t seen any other than the standard ones (which rust), but I’ll keep an eye out.

  • Behan Fravel Gifford on Facebook
    Posted at 14 April 2013 Reply

    Carolyn, neither have I, although maybe I haven’t looked hard enough! Some of them have literally rusted through. I just use them, rust and all, but eventually I won’t have enough. 😛

  • Lorraine Dolsen on Facebook
    Posted at 14 April 2013 Reply

    Looks great! Added to my list to buy for our next trip.

  • Behan Fravel Gifford
    Posted at 15 January 2014 Reply

    My problem hasn’t been lids- it’s been *bands*. They rust through and are a pain to replace- spare lids were easy to store. Reusable lids are awesome, but I’d like to find longer lasting bands even more!

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 15 January 2014 Reply

      Behan — I found a company that is offering stainless (304) bands. Not cheap, but if you store jars without the bands you could get by with fewer. They’re accepting pre-orders now. http://www.ecojarz.com/products/stainless-steel-bands-pre-order/

    • Behan Fravel Gifford
      Posted at 15 January 2014 Reply

      Once again Carolyn you are a gold mine of excellent information! I swear I’ve been looking for these. I usually store without bands and wouldn’t need many, so yes, that works. Thank you!

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 15 January 2014 Reply

      I think they look like a great solution. Hopefully they’ll be shipping by the time your next guest visits!

  • Pat Kastengren
    Posted at 03 February 2015 Reply

    My husband and I don’t sail yet (we are still training and researching), but I do can a lot. There is a European brand of canning jars called Weck. They are much heavier glass, have glass lids, separate rubber rings, and stainless steel spring clips that hold the lids on while processing. The best place to buy them is thru the Weck website. Amazon and William Sonoma sell them also, but they charge more. The USDA does not recommend them for canning, but after some investigating I found it isn’t that they found anything wrong with Weck jars, they just haven’t tested them. I used them for the first time last year and was very happy with them. They come in lots of sizes and styles, including juice jars and tall ones for asparagus or uncut green beans.

  • Sonjashootingstar Wells
    Posted at 11 July 2016 Reply

    bwahaha, ONE CLICK 🙂

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 11 July 2016 Reply

      Here’s the link: http://amzn.to/29tDjgW I am confused by your comment. Are you saying you want me to post the link to Amazon up in my “intro” so you don’t have to go to the article?

    • Sonjashootingstar Wells
      Posted at 11 July 2016 Reply

      The Boat Galley oh no, sorry, I love the post, letting you know I quickly ordered them already with “one click”

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 11 July 2016 Reply

      Oh, okay. Sorry for misunderstanding!

  • Richard Scott Howerton
    Posted at 11 July 2016 Reply

    Brittany Mcmanus I guess we should keep your mason jars after all!

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