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Jan 17, 2009 02:39 PM

Re-using Canning snap lids

Everything I have read tells me not to re-use the snap lids on my mason jars when canning. I do anyway. I figure, if they seal...they seal. I have never once had one fail to seal.
Is it just a myth to get us to spend more money on their products, or is there something else to consider than just a seal (or not).
If I had one that didn't seal, I would just put it in the fridge and eat it first.

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  1. The food preservation experts say toss 'em, and they ought to know. I've always noticed that the interior shape of the lids is permanently affected after they're used once. I'm sure the first seal is the best. Before the intentionally-reusable, one-piece white plastic mason jar lids were available, I just reused my lids for other storage purposes.

    Lids are cheap!

    1. The seal is never as good on the reused lid, so you may get slow leakage several months down the road. Lids are cheap compared to the cost and labor of canning. Why risk spoilage to save a few cents?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Eldon Kreider

        I had this conversation with a friend who did canning. He mentioned some things that are less likely spoil may be OK to reuse lids because of lower risk, such as jams in which sugar acts as a major preservatives, or things that are pickled because of the acid content. The lids were indeed designed to be used once only. But for some of the other things you may put yourself and those you gift with home made preserves at risk of food poisoning or worse.

        He also mentioned that his grandmother used to just use cloth and wax. She'd also reuse the wax over and over again. Maybe it's something else you want to look into rather than just purchasing new lids.

        1. re: moreana

          Sealing jams and jellies with wax has been strongly NOT RECOMMENDED for years. The seals are prone to failure with molds and other microorganisms growing under the wax.

      2. When I can / preserve I apply every 'rule' and can't imagine sharing something I had made without that process. If you choose to make /eat / store things in less than perfect condition and precise processing that is your choice of risk. Most of what I make goes to others.

        2 Replies
        1. re: OCEllen

          Ellen, that is a very good point and one I will have to consider. Most of what I can I use myself, but I do give some away to friends who want them. Usually pickled beets :)
          Since making my original post, I have found a unlimited supply of very, very cheap brand-name snap lids. No reason to take chances any more.
          Thanks to all

          1. re: billieboy

            I do experiment with ingredients, various fruits, levels of sugar, etc., just not with sterilizing and processing. Jars that don't seal or that I'm afraid are iffy get put in the fridge for family use.; shipping has it's own hazards, I've always assumed, with possible pressure changes in airplanes.

        2. Lids are so cheap... why risk it?

          1. I reuse lids for things that go into the fridge/freezer right away (curry paste, oil packed veg) but never for things that go on the shelves. Canning jars are so handy, and affordable that I use them for many things other than the intended purpose. Much better than plastic.