Editor’s Introductory Notes: The following instructions work with both Tattler brand canning lids and the more recently-introduced Harvest Guard brand lids. The author uses the term “Tattler” generically, just as some people use the word “Kleenex” for facial tissue, even though there are many brands.
For time, temperature, and pressure data, be sure to use current water bath or pressure canning instructions, as published by authoritative sources, such as in the Ball Blue Book. – JWR
I have, many times over the years thought about learning to use Tattler lids because they are reusable – but they are so expensive! So I and managed to put off buying them for a very long time.
Last spring there was a sale on bulk packs of Tattler re-usable canning lids, and I just happened to have some extra money, so I bought 200 wide mouth and 200 of regular mouth size canning lids. I have known for a long time that I needed to learn to use them, and even though I have in my emergency stores over 100 boxes of the regular metal lids, in a long term emergency they would eventually run out, and personally, as a prepper that was not acceptable to me. I like the fact that Tattler or Harvest Guard kids can safely be used repeatedly, if handled properly.
So, now (before I needed to use them) was a good time to figure out how to can with the reusable Tattler lids. I did multiple searches on the Internet, and was totally dismayed to find most people said they had about a 50% failure rate. I figured (hoped) it had something to do with how people were using them, and I was determined I would learn the correct way to can with them.
The lids came with ‘REVISED (easier to follow) CANNING INSTRUCTIONS”. I read the instructions through thoroughly, and noticed on several of the web sites that the instructions were a little different than the instructions I received with the lids. The people who had a high failure rate probably used older –or different–instructions.
These are the instructions that came with my Tattler reusable canning lids (and a few of my comments which will be in italics after the instructions):
REVISED (easier to follow) CANNING INSTRUCTIONS ~ WHEN USING TATTLER RESUABLE CANNING LIDS
For Best Results ~ When Using Tattler [or Harvest Guard] Reusable Canning Lids
Follow Instructions Closely (especially #3, #5 and #7)
- Inspect top of jar for cracks and nicks.
- Wash, rinse and sterilize jars. Scald lids and rubber rings. Leave in water until ready to use. (Note: According to the USDA, “Empty jars used for vegetables, meats, and fruits to be processed in a pressure canner need not be presterilized. It is also unnecessary to presterilize jars for fruits, tomatoes, and pickled or fermented foods that will be processed 10 minutes or longer in a boiling-water canner.” What a time saver and for me at least fewer burns from boiling water splashing all over me while removing jars from the pan after sterilizing them.)
- HEAD SPACE: Leave a minimum of an inch to an inch and a quarter head space.
- Wipe top of jar after filling. Place lid and rubber ring combination on jar. (Note: If canning meat or something slightly greasy, using vinegar on your rag for wiping the jar rim might help. Also note, probably self-evident, but the rubber ring goes directly on the jar rim and the lid over the top of that.)
- Screw band on jar loosely. Center lid on jar and hold with finger while tightening the metal screw band finger-tip tight. To get a “feel” for the correct tightness prior to processing, place the jar on a counter top, or other smooth surface, place your index finger on the lid, not too much pressure, while tightening the metal band. Screw the metal band on until the jar begins to spin on the counter top. This is perfect for processing!! DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN!!! Product must be allowed vent during processing. (Note: This is one of the two crucial steps for using Tattler lids – and different from canning with disposable metal lids).
- Process as per instructions for various foods.
- Once the process is completed and the jars are removed from the pressure canner or water bath wait 3-5 minutes for the bubbling to die down (this is pressure releasing from the jar) place a towel over the still hot jar (for safety) and finish tightening the metal band. (Note: This is the second crucial step for canning with Tattler lids and is also different from metal lids – you don’t re-tighten with metal lids.)
- Now just let the jar cool naturally, when cool remove the metal band and gently lift the jar by the lid. It should be well sealed.
- When removing lid (to eat your food) gently insert table knife between rubber and jar to release seal – DO NOT USE A SHARP KNIFE. Or you can purchase a lid opener from Tattler ($3.50 and free shipping as of 10/2019).
- Wash plastic lids and rubber rings, rinse, dry and store for future use. DO not save any rubber ring which is cut or deformed.
- Reusing Rubber Rings:
When reusing your rubber ring the next canning session, look to see if here are sealing grooves indented into the ring from the last time you canned. Place the side with the sealing grooves next to the rim of the jar and the smooth side next to the plastic lid. This will help prevent ‘cross threading’ and insure a good seal.
It took me several days to actually get up the courage to can with my new reusable lids. I even called and questioned the nice people at Tattler several times, clarifying instructions and asking further questions (do you have to leave 1-1/4” for jellies too? – the answer was no, but she told me to leave about ½” instead of ¼” which is the usual amount of headspace for jams and jellies). I want to tell you, the customer service people I talked to at Tattler were really very nice and very patient.
Finally, all my questions answered, I had to quit procrastinating. Admittedly, I was nervous, I hate wasting food – especially the food that could be called upon to keep my family alive in a major crisis. I started with canning cooked beans – which are not the easiest things to can in the first place. I like a good challenge.
My Bean Canning Experience
When I cook beans, I always sprout them slightly first. The reasons for that are:
- Sprouting them slightly removes most of the “anti-nutrients” from the beans.
- Sprouting them increases the vitamins and enzymes – often 100’s of times the amounts.
- Sprouting them significantly reduces the gassiness of eating the beans. Sprouting them makes them far more digestible.
To sprout beans, I fill one or two of my ½ gallon jars about half full of dried beans then fill the jar with water, cover with a lid with screen in it, or cheese cloth, or a wash cloth and allow them to soak overnight. I then drain the beans, and fill the jar again – just so they get thoroughly rinsed, and drain the water. I usually do this several times per day to keep the beans wet for a couple days until I see the little white roots poking through. For beans this usually takes a couple days, for lentils only a day or two at most. Once those little roots poke out, that is enough, and time to cook the beans to your liking. I often cook half of them only slightly to can them, and some I leave in the pan to finish cooking them for dinner that evening.
After partially cooking the beans, I filled my quart jars – leaving about 1-1/4” to 1-1/2” headspace, I put them into my pressure canner, and processed them. When the pressure released from my canner, I carefully removed my jars, and re-tightened the metal bands as directed on the instructions for the Tattler lids, about as tight as I normally tighten bands for canning with metal lids before processing. Remember – this step DOES NOT apply to canning using metal lids. Then I allowed them to cool overnight.
Finally, the next morning I removed the bands and lifted my jars gently by the lids – success! All my jars had sealed. I did have just two failures a couple days later – probably due to my continued lifting them by the lids – I just could not believe they all had sealed.
JWR Adds: If you have a lid sealing failure, the consume or freeze the contents immediately.
I’ll be Buying and Using More
I have used the Tattler lids several times since, and continued to have excellent luck with them sealing. I will continue to purchase more and more reusable lids for both now and in the case of an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it event.