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Jar Opener wanted

I 'found' a year(+) old jar of artichoke hearts at the back to the fridge...

Question 1:
Is there a good and reliable jar opener out there that I can invest in? My hands are achey from trying to wring the lid off. Even with a cloth and rubber grip.

Question 2:
Even if I manage to get the lid off, can I still eat the artichokes?

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  1. Have you tried putting on a pair or rubber cleaning gloves holding the jar in one hand and twisting the lid with the other?

    If they were never opened ... definately. I'm guessing they were opened since they are in the fridge ... I'm still guessing yes ... unless it has grown some creature inside that is clinging to the lid and preventing it from being opened.

    1. Have you tried a little heat and a gentle bash on the counter? This works for me every time...

      1. run the lid under hot water for a while, that should expand the lid and the air space between lid and jar....

        1 Reply
        1. re: thew

          Running a jar lid under hot water is always a good idea. It does make it easier to open but there's another reason to do it. A consumer company was once running test on baby food to check purity. When they started to get positive reports for contamination, someone realized that any dirt, insect stuff, etc. that had accumulated around the lid edge while sitting on the shelf, was sucked into the jar when the vacuum seal was broken. A quick rinse eliminates this from happening.

        2. OXO makes the best jar opener. It is a V shape that has a serrated edge that locks onto the lid and a handle long enough to give you the leverage to open even the toughest lids. I bought mine at Bed Bath and Beyond about 5 years ago.


          4 Replies
          1. re: Kelli2006

            The OXO will open just about everything, but be careful with the metal lid afterward. The opener's serrated teeth can nick the lid up, leaving little rasping teeth on the lid which took a small patch of skin off the heel of my hand!

            1. re: Stephanie Wong

              SOLD! I will pick up an OXO. As I stated in the OP I'd tried the hot tap rinse/cloth/rubber glove technique to no avial. If the OXO does not work, I have to assume it's the jar.
              I'm somewhat a kitchen gadget geek but I've avoided the jar opener...I guess this means I'm on the bus to geriatric-arthritisville, which is okay.

              1. re: neighborguy

                I bought the original OXO for my mom who was developing arthritis in her hands and was not able to open jars. When I saw how efficient it was, I bought one for myself.

                I am quite embarrassed that I did not think of that first, because I have studied both mechanical engineering and industrial design.

                Stephanie, A few seconds with a emery board will smooth the burrs caused by the OXO teeth.

            2. re: Kelli2006

              While I'll probably lose a half dozen Real Man Points for saying this, I sometimes use my oxo opener on jars that aren't even stuck. Clever design and fun.

            3. Jar opener: ordinary "church key" type bottle opener. Stick the pointy end under the edge of the jar lid and pry it outward until you hear a gentle pop - voila lid is now loose. It's the vacuum seal that causes a lid to stick so tightly. You need to break this vacuum in order to loosen the lid so it turns. Works 100% of the time, costs $0 (unless you don't have a bottle opener in the house) and uses no elbow grease whatsoever. My 93 year old mother could do this.

              1. Take an ordinary "church key" bottle opener. Place the pointy end under the edge of the stubborn lid and gently pry it outward. When you hear a little pop, you've broken the vacuum seal and the lid will open. Guaranteed. It's the vacuum that causes a jar lid to resist opening - letting a bit of air in will loosen the seal. This works 100% of the time, costs you $0 (as long as you own a bottle opener) and requires no elbow grease whatsoever. My 93 year old mother taught me this trick.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Nyleve

                  Excellent tip. My wife and I were looking for the old fashioned church key openers the other day (she wanted to use condensed milk in her coffee) the only one we cold find was attached to a can opener / cork screw device. Still only a buck. I was going to suggest the Lee Valley jar opener . . . same principle and 10 bucks. Picture attached.

                2. Nobody answered Q2. Were these artichokes thay you opened a year ago, ate a few, then stuck the rest in the fridge? If so, you want some pretty serious acid content to make them last a year. If the word "pickled" doesn't appear on the label, pitch 'em. Even if it does, proceed with caution. Look for mold or other growths in the lid, on the rim of the jar, and at the waterline. And smell and taste carefully. When in doubt, pitch 'em out. Or just pitch 'em out. If the jar is unopened but has been refrigerated nevertheless, you should be fine so long as the button in the middle of the lid hasn't popped up.

                  As for Q1, the OXO opener gives you something no other opener does: leverage. If you're worried about burrs, cover the lid with something non-slip first (an old rubber glove works). We got one for my MIL years ago, and I keep an extra in the kitchen in case she needs a replacement (I'm too young to have arthritis in my thumbs, but my thumbs don't know this).

                  1. I have weak hands. This multi-opener tool has made a huge difference for me - it is better than any other type I've tried. I found mine at Sears, but this link has a photo:


                    1. I just came home from a visit to my favourite second hand shop where they had for sale this ginormous electric gizmo called the Jar Opener (or something like that) by Black and Decker. It's the size of a stand mixer and does one thing: opens jars. I cannot, in my wildest dreams, imagine how many jars I'd have to open before that contraption would earn so much real estate on my kitchen counter. Hilarious. I think they wanted $6.99 for it. I bet it'll be there for a long long time.

                      1. I agree that OXO makes the best jar opener, but I have a slightly different model than the one shown by Kelli2006.

                        This is the one I have:

                        I costs a couple of dollars more, has gripping edges on both sides of the v...and more importantly has an attached (but removable) rubberized mat on which to put the stubborn jar while removing the lid. Works perfectly and I highly recommend it.

                        1. A never-fail method for opeining jars with my poor old arthritic hands is to hold the jar at about a 90 degree angle, then strike the lid a glancing blow in the direction it opens with an old table knife handle several times all around the jar. Magic! Just twist the lid easily and it's open. Learned this from my grandfather when I was a kid, and it has never failed me for at least 65 years.