I think my canning stockpile is getting to where I feel more comfortable using the traditional two part lid system. I have been picking up lids every time I find them, though never more than a box or two, and I check jar prices every few days and hit decent sales when I find them.
However I have been moving into a mindset where I want to get into more reusable methods because I know me. We’re only at the end of May and my concerns on food waste have me microbatching a lot more than I might on a normal year. Factoring in the things I normally can heavily on a normal year and I’m looking at reusable methods for several reasons including price and waste.
So I’m sitting at my first week with reusable methods. To define the term, because I know at least one person is sitting there thinking mason jars are reusable by default. I am talking specifically about systems designed for the lids to be reused, normally with a rubber gasket.
Currently the three systems I’m testing are Harvest Guard, Tattler, and Weck.
You’re going to hear a lot of mixed noise about Weck and I’m starting with them because they’re the system with the biggest learning curve and where I had my first true lid failure I think ever, honestly. However it was totally me. It was complete user error.
They’re finicky. They’re gorgeous but finicky. You have to heat the gasket with the lid in hot water, make sure the gasket is fit over the lid, seat it correctly and clamp it into place with a separate clamp system.
Guess what I didn’t do first run? Any of that. Guess what didn’t seal the first run? I have another run cooling now and just visually I can tell that they’re at least trying to seal even if I don’t hit it this time. I figured out 90% of the ‘correct’ way just by troubleshooting the first run on my own. If the other 10% gets me in the end will be determined.
Weck jars have no FDA testing behind them but they’re the primary jar style in Europe. Make your own decisions based on that info. There is no plastic whatsoever in this style. However I also spent $20 after gift cards on 6 jelly jars. You pay for these jars.
Harvest Guard is a brand of American made reusable lids. You get a plastic lid and a gasket. They’re controversial because there’s something like a 30% failure rate however I will also say that again my own lid failure is my own misuse. This is also why I completely misused the Wecks the first time, because this was my first use of a gasket and with Harvest Guard you DO seat the gasket first and then the lid. So I just sort of went with that pattern with the Wecks.
The trick to this style of lid is that you do not tighten down to process. You tighten after the run is cooling. This is where my failure comes in, I went to tighten the rings at the appropriate time and the ring was already as tight as it was going to go. That was me, not the lid. The other three lids in my sample pack went on fine. I will get getting more of these lids.
Tattler is the most recognized of these types of lids. I have a sample pack coming and will come back to this when I run them.
I’m putting this as a separate point. Every company except Harvest Guard will be very direct about only using a gasket once. Most bloggers will too. However there’s also a certain amount of wink wink nudge because most people seem to run gaskets until they degrade. The wording is suggestive of this too, as in, do not use gaskets that look worn out. I do intend to rerun gaskets at least as an experiment. I’ll report back later.