If you have canning lids that you've already used, is it safe to reuse them again? The simple answer is no: Canning lids are designed for one-time use. Using them more than once may result in your jars not sealing properly. These lids have a special sealing compound around the rim that is only good for one use. So, if your jars fail to seal properly the first time, you have to put fresh lids on your jars before you reprocess them. And you definitely shouldn't reuse your lids from year to year, no matter how tempting it may be to save a few dollars. Risking your health just isn't worth the small amount that you'll save by reusing your lids.
But there is a bit of good news: replacing your canning lids every year doesn't have to mean throwing your old lids away. You can use your old lids to top jars of freezer jam, homemade mixes, dried goods, made-from-scratch salad dressings and other non-canned foods. As long as the lids aren’t rusty, they’re fine to use again and again for any purpose that doesn’t involve canning.
If it pains you to buy new canning lids each year, switch to reusable canning lids. These are glass lids that are designed to be used over and over again, and they're safe for both water bath and pressure canning. As long as they don't get chipped or cracked, they'll continue to make a good seal year after year. Unsurprisingly, these types of lids cost more than regular canning lids, but if you do a lot of canning, they could save you money over time.
Tattler is one company that manufacturers this type of reusable canning lid. Order a couple sets to try. Then, make the switch if you like them. You can always buy them a bit at a time until you have enough to use them exclusively.
Ways to Save on Canning Lids
Cut the cost of replacing your canning lids by stocking up when they go on clearance at the end of the season. If you buy a year’s worth at a time, you’ll never get stuck paying retail for them again. Just be careful not to buy too many. Those rubber seals dry out over time. Canning companies usually offer coupons at the beginning of the season. If they don’t expire for a while, hang on to them, and use them at the end of the season, after the canning supplies have been marked down.
If you do a lot of canning, look into buying your canning lids in bulk. Many online retailers sell them in big sleeves. Do you have an Amish dry goods store near you? If so, that's another source to explore. Buying canning lids in bulk may not get you the name brand lids that you're used to, but if it saves you enough money, and gets the job done, who cares?
Canning Supplies You Can Reuse
While you can’t reuse metal canning lids, you can reuse the jars and bands, as long as they’re in good condition. Rusted or chipped canning supplies need to be tossed, though. Safety should always come ahead of savings.
More Canning Tips and Ideas
Since you looked up this article about reusing canning lids, you probably have other questions about home canning. Here are some that we can help you with:
If you have additional questions about water bath or pressure canning, consult Ball's website (freshpreserving.com), the National Center for Home Food Preservation or your local ag extension office. Canning recommendations have changed considerably over the years, so it's important to make sure you're following current advice.
The Department of Agriculture says that all high-acid foods can safely be water bath canned, including fruits, pickles, sauerkraut, jam, jelly, marmalade, fruit butter and even tomatoes (with the addition of lemon juice or citric acid). So, take the time to learn about proper canning procedures, and you'll be saving money in no time. We're betting that you'll find the money you save on groceries far outweighs the expense of buying fresh canning lids each season.