Canning 101: Preserving with Tattler’s Reusable Lids

Tattler lids

One of the primary truths of canning has always been that while the jars and rings are reusable, the lids are not. When I teach canning classes, I’m careful to emphasis that those flat metal lids only have one trip through the canner in them and that they lose their mojo once through a boiling water bath.

However, a brand of canning lids called Tattler recently returned to the market and they come sporting a pair of dual virtues that make them nearly irresistible for home canners. First is the fact that they are nearly endlessly reusable. That’s right, these are lids that you don’t have to toss into the trash after emptying the jar.

Second is that they are free of Bisphenol A (known in shorthand as BPA). Lots of people have turned to canning in recent days to get away from the BPA that lines so many commercially canned foods, only to find out that the lids for canning jars are also lined with the stuff. Typically, I try not to worry about them, comforting myself with the fact that properly canned foods shouldn’t actually be in contact with those lids after processing. Still, it’s a concern.

I bought several dozen Tattler lids at the beginning of the summer, but didn’t end up using them until my marathon tomato canning period that started over Labor Day weekend. I spent two full months passing them up, each time reaching for the disposable lids in my cabinet. I was a little bit wary of them, uncertain whether they’d work. Additionally, since I typically squeeze my canning into the hours after dinner and before bed, there’s often an element of frenzy to my putting up. I always felt like I didn’t have time to teach myself the steps necessary to make the Tattler lids work.

However, when I was canning all those tomatoes, I reached into the cabinet and realized I was completely out of regular mouth lids. I had to use the Tattler lids. It was trial by fire, particularly since I was canning in both a boiling water canner and a pressure canner that night. I had a moment of panic after the processing was complete but before the jars had fully sealed, when I realized I hadn’t left the rings as loose as was necessary for proper venting, and yet still, it all worked. All the jars sealed and sealed strong. They pass my standard seal test (grasp edges of lid and lift jar holding nothing but the lid) with flying colors.

What to Know

There are a couple additional steps to ensuring a good seal. When you apply the lids and screw on the bands, you MUST then unscrew the band a quarter turn. This ensures that there’s enough space for the hot air to escape from the jar during processing. Then, when the jars have finished processing and you’ve removed them to the counter, quickly give all the bands a good, quick tighten. This brings the rubber seal into firm contact with the rim of the jar and allows the air tight seal to form.


So far, I’m pretty thrilled with the Tattler lids. Despite my minor user errors the first time out, they still sealed well. They worked equally well in the boiling water canner and in the pressure canner. I have just two issues with them. The first is their cost. They are pretty pricey, ringing up at approximately $.80 per regular mouth lid (not including shipping).  Because of this, I can’t make an immediate and complete switch. However, I plan to add more to my collection every few months until I’ve got a more critical mass.

The second issue is that they make it harder for me to pass my canned goods along to friends and family, because I don’t know if I’ll get them back. Like so many new Tattler users, I think that I’ll continue to keep some of the disposable lids in my arsenal for those items that I plan to gift.

For those of you looking for a step by step guide on how to use these lids, take a peek at this post at Homestead Revival. It is amazingly detailed and accurate.

For those of you who’ve used the Tattler lids, I’d love to hear what your experience has been like.

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79 Responses to Canning 101: Preserving with Tattler’s Reusable Lids

  1. 51
    Kristina says:

    Thanks for the post Marisa! I’ve been using Tattler lids for two seasons now and love them, but I’m still not keen on having plastic in every area of my kitchen. What can you do? I’ve recently discovered Weck jars, and wondered if you had any experience with them?

    On the subject of tightening and getting a good seal on Tattler lids, be sure to check the website on the company’s new instructions. About 8 months ago I got an email directly from Tattler saying that they’ve changed the instructions for canning with their lids, and instead of tightening and unscrewing 1/4 of an inch (not a 1/4 turn), they recommend a “fingertip tight” band before going into the canner. Upon removal from the canner, the lids should be tightened firmly. I know others have said something similar, but it’s interesting to note that this change in instructions came directly from the Tattler company.

    Marisa, I look forward to your update! Any experience you have and would be willing to share on the Weck jars would be great too!

  2. 52

    […] Preserving with reusable lids  […]

  3. 53
    Laura says:

    Have you opened any of your jars of tomatoes yet? I recently opened one of my jars of tomato sauce that I used a tattler lid on and the lid is now stained. I have soaked it in baking soda, but the stain is not coming off. Just wondering what others are experiencing.

    • 53.1
      Marisa says:

      Laura, tomatoes will stain the Tattler lids. I just keep a stash that I use exclusively on tomatoes. The stain doesn’t impact their utility.

      • Sydney says:

        Just leave the lids in a sunny area for a few hours and the stain will disappear! It works on tomato based stains on clothes too.

  4. 54

    […] concerned about the conventional Ball jar lids, which I recycle when I’m finished with them. Food in Jars also has an informative post on canning with Tattler […]

  5. 55
    Jennifer G says:

    Just read comment #54 by West of the Loop, which appears to say that she recycles the conventional Ball jar lids. I understand that they are not recyclable (most recyclers need the various materials from a product separated or separatable, and the jar lids have metal, the rubbery ring, and the white film on the inside). So I went to the blog and read her full article, which appears to have since been edited and doesn’t call the Ball lids recyclable anywhere in the blog post. Though I LOVE the ease of use and price of the conventional lids, I would prefer something that isn’t single use (“throw away” isn’t really ever “away”; it’s in a landfill). So I’ve been switching over to Weck with each major holiday in which I can justify asking for some as a gift. Still negotiating in my head how to gift jams this summer without gifting the jars…

    • 55.1
      Tori M says:

      I know this is an old post, but I am just now learning about Tattler lids, so I came across this blog. Here’s how I have managed to get jars back from gift jams.

      I started by just making jams “just because” – not as a gift. I used the 4 oz size jars. But when I gave the jams away, I told people that the jars are one of the most pricey parts of making jams, and I would be able to make more (hence, they would get more) jam if they returned the jar and band/lid. I would guess I get about 90% of my jars back now. Even when it is a “gift”.

      The only time that I haven’t gotten the jars back lately was when I used the pricey “cute” jelly jars that have the design on them. But those were actual gifts, so I just kind of figured that they kept the jar for another use, and they will think of me whenever they use said jar.

  6. 56
    Bonnie says:

    I have been using Tattler for three years and I would not recommend using them on potatoes. I canned multiple loads, using various kinds of potatoes, and nearly all of the jars with a Tattler lid became unsealed during storage. All of the jars with a metal lid are fine. Never again! Tattler are too expensive and have too high of a failure rate to ever be my sole source for a canning lid.

  7. 57
    Liz says:

    I’m on Tattler’s website and I see they’re marketing their lids as redesigned “E-Z seal” lids – do you know anything about this? Is this just new branding or a different lid?

    • 57.1
      Sally Davis says:

      Tattler has reworked the lids and done some redesigning to make them seal without the 1/4 turn. That’s the “EZ” thing.

      I have a lifetime supply of the original type (about 1200) and so I haven’t bought any more, and doubt I ever do.

      My Tattlers perform every bit as well as any disposable lid anywhere, with one exception – and that is with short-term BWB stuff like jams. The processing time just is not long enough to create enough vacuum to keep them sealed. I use disposables for those.

      I have also learned to be very generous with headspace when using Tattlers. If you cheat and say, “Oh, that extra two green beans won’t hurt anything, ” smack yourself and don’t do it. The headspace is necessary to create a good vacuum. Any failures I have had (especially the dreaded “failure in storage” have been with jars that were overfilled (I had a terrible bad habit of doing that).

      I have Tattlers on jars that have been sealed for three years. They are fine.

  8. 58
    Terri says:

    I used Tattler lids the1st time for my jars last week , without any turning 1/4 turn, it’s worked well , tight sealed as same as Ball lids.

  9. 59
    Dee Tague says:

    You DO NOT unscrew the lids a quarter of a turn…..the instructions read a quarter of an inch!

  10. 60
    Linda B. says:

    re: sterility of lids
    The big issue I have is how to keep those germs away. I am so used to not not not touching the lids – using magnet and tongs, etc. Now I’m supposed to put my fingers in there and apply the seal. It seems so wrong! I must admit I miss the sweet sound of success when the metal lid seals down and pings.

    • 60.1
      Marisa says:

      As long as you’re processing your jars for 10 minutes or longer, having sterile lids isn’t important. They’ll become sterile during the boiling water bath process.

    • 60.2
      Esther says:

      I preload the rings onto the lids, and place them ring side up in the pan of water for lid preparation. It seems to work best to use two dinner forks to lift them out of the water. Even if the water has boiled, the plastic isn’t so hot that I can’t flip it over like a CD or DVD and pop it on the jar.

  11. 61
    Barb says:

    I found that some of my bands didn’t turn so easy, may have a bit of rust on them. So it caused the rubber to gather up a bit from trying to get the band on. So yes the seal did not work, it was my fault. Now I have started to hold the taller lid in place with my finger pressure on it, till I had the band where I wanted it to be, I have a small hand, but achieved this, with no problem.

  12. 62

    I have had nothing but trouble ever since they made the lids bpa free( ball and Kerr). I make about 100 quarts of pickles a year and for the last three years only about half of them are sealing. It sounds like Tattler has to be processed. My pickle recipe is hot brine only with no other processing. What do you recommend?

    • 62.1
      Marisa says:

      The Ball lids are not designed for open kettle canning. They are designed for heat processing. So that’s probably the reason that your pickles aren’t sealing.

  13. 63
    Will Affeldt says:

    I get 2 or 3 uses from my traditional ball lids …. before you call me crazy …. I uses them ONCE for hot water or pressure canning, Then when a make a large batch of soup or chili I freeze the left overs in ball wide mouth pints. No sterile airtight seal is required for freezing there is no safety issue. I do reuse them for canning only for freezing . The amazing thing is the freezing seems to seal them so they probably would have worked for
    a second canning ….. but I am not willing to bet my life on it. PS the pint jars freeze well never had one break , no plastic tastes, and the pint is a good size for a single guy like me. ( NOTE -split pea and other cream soups seem to expand more than broth soups during freezing… leave a little more head room.


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  2. All About Jars - West of the Loop - April 18, 2013

    […] concerned about the conventional Ball jar lids, which I recycle when I’m finished with them. Food in Jars also has an informative post on canning with Tattler […]

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