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Has something changed with canning lids?

This is sort of an odd question, but I've done a few batches of canning over the last few weeks and don't know if I'm inattentive or if things have changed. Using Ball-brand supplies in all cases. I recall from prior years that using the gold-colored lids, after processing when they cooled and sealed, the "snap" was noticeable -- even if I was in another room of the house, as long as there wasn't much ambient noise, I could hear it and even count to myself as each jar "set". This year I've been using the silver-colored lids, and even though a dozen or so jars so far have clearly sealed (I can feel it running my finger across the top, and I can take the screw ring off and shake the jar upside-down with no loss of seal) I haven't heard a single "snap." The last two batches I've even made a point of being nearby and listening -- although I'm not going to just sit in the kitchen next to the jars for a couple of hours. Is there something different with the lids? Has anybody else noticed this?

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  1. Now that you mention it...the stuff I put up last week was a combination of gold and silver caps. I remember the gold caps "popping" but not the silver ones. There must be a difference. Maybe if I am bored enough next week I'll call Ball and ask.

    1. Interesting--I have been canning for all of 10 days now, but today I used Ball jars with the silver lids. After I took them out of the water bath, I heard one slight pop on one of the jars but none on the other. I waited for about 6 or 7 minutes and nothing (previously, I'd heard the pop within a minute or two). They may have popped after I left the kitchen, but I certainly didn't hear anything. I will test the seal tomorrow night (after the 24-hour time period has passed).

      1. The Ball website plays it as a "styling" change to match the look in our modern kitchens.

        I've used the silver lids for a 7 pint batch of cherries. A couple snapped while others didn't. All the lids did set properly when I checked the next day.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dave_c

          they're supposed to mimmick the old zinc rings and one-piece lids that are so popular in the Pottery Barn-style home accessory design world these days...along with old-looking wire gym bins and oversize clocks. Form over function.

        2. For me it's always been a matter of chance if I heard the "ping" or not. I never rely on the auditory cue. I feel the lids and then try to pick up the jar & its contents solely by the lid with the ring removed. That's the best assurance of a full vacuum to me.

          Hope you solve the mystery of the difference between silver and gold lids. ;>

          1. 10 jars B&B pickles pinging away...Ball Silver....Can here them all the way in here!

            1. Here is one observation: these days, when you buy ball jars, they come with the lid resting on the top of the jar and the ring screwed down. You have to pop the lid off the jar because it is actually stuck to the class. THESE lids have a distinct indentation in the sealing material where it was resting on the new jar (just as if the lid had been previously used), and they are certainly compromised by this. We have used about 10 of these lids one way and another this season and they seem NOT to have failed, but a friend had massive failures using new jars with the Ball-supplied lids.

              Ball used to pack rings and lids in a separate flat package on top of the new jars, but for a couple of years they have been skipping this step and applying the lids to the jars, which seems brain-dead if not worse.

              The silver lids seem flimsy but are in fact stamped from the same gauge steel (.007 inches thick); the difference is that the silver lids have a raised "dimple" in the center, while the gold lids are simply domed. This no doubt affects how they sound when they seal, and may affect the quality of the seal. We have been buying bulk lids from the local Amish, but we also have a lot of Ball and Kerr lids of various vintages in the pipeline as well So far (cross fingers) we have not had a lot of failures but we have really only used a few of the silver lids and are not going to use the others we have on anything that is likely to spoil. For instance, we can maple syrup, and you really don't have to seal that stuff at all.

              7 Replies
              1. re: girod

                "these days, when you buy ball jars, they come with the lid resting on the top of the jar and the ring screwed down. You have to pop the lid off the jar because it is actually stuck to the class."

                I noticed this too with several cases of new jars I bought. Some of them actually had a bit of a vacuum going on when I removed the lids on jars fresh out of the case. I wonder if they're putting the lids on warm jars somewhere in the production line or if it happens when they shrink-wrap the cases. I've had a few (negligible) seal failures this year but I can attribute them all to operator error and not the lids themselves. I've used both the gold and silver lids.

                1. re: morwen

                  they always used to pack them with the rings on but the lids facing up, so the glass rim was not in contact with the rubber/plastic. The rings were never tight--always loose.

                  Has anyone tried contacting Ball?? Surely they'll have an official statement.

                  1. re: toodie jane

                    You're right, I do remember them packed that way.

                  2. re: morwen

                    Went to the store today to pick up a doz. wide mouth pints.
                    Very hot outside right?
                    On the ride home, 5 of my jars sealed themselves.

                    1. re: kornsilk

                      We just bought some boxes of Bernardin (I think it's a Cdn company). They pacakge their jars the same way, with the lids in seal position. Mr S was carrying them as we went in and out of different stores on a really hot day. We kept hearing pings on and off on our errands.

                      1. re: kornsilk

                        Wow, now THAT"S some info that should go directly to BALL!

                        They should be boxed seal-ring facing up, as in old days.

                    2. re: girod

                      they used to always pack the jars with ring and inverted lid attached loosely. The lids were never compromised that way.

                    3. Yep, just thought to myself the other night after doing applesauce and then a night later red pepper jelly that there were not nearly as many pings...I don't know about you but I love the sound of the jars sealing, very satisfying...I know, I need a life:). I do think I got more pings from the jelly then the applesauce and I was wondering if it was due to what was in the jar and how it was cooked? Anyway, be interested to hear other thoughts. So far, knock wood, no sealing issues...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: geminigirl

                        I know this is an old thread, but getting some new traction.

                        Wow, I used to teach canning at PCC Foodworks here in SEA, and at the end of class, when the jars were out of the canner, resting on my awesome old flour sack towels, I would do the 'wait, wait - listen for it...ping, ping". It was one of the satisfying highlights of beginning canning class for people. That they would KNOW if they had succeeded.

                        I do use the silver lids/rings alot, as I like the new styling of the jars, etc. I guess I have been canning long enough I didn't notice this as clearly the lids were concave and ring could be removed and seal was clearly there....

                        But, a PING is preferred!

                      2. Reading all these responses is interesting. My off-the-cuff response when I read the OP was "get your hearing checked," but it seems a several people are experiencing the same problem. I haven't had any trouble hearing the "pop," nor has my husband, who normally announces the seal from the living room where he's ensconced in a surround sound system. I did experience my first-ever complete lid failure ... or user failure? Lost a jar or marmalade (damn good marmalade at that :( ) to a popped lid mid-canning.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: odkaty

                          I used a set of the silver ones(that came with the jars) and was thinking that I missed them popping-darn but I was in and out of the kitchen. I did have two not seal. I would really miss it if they didn't pop-I love that sound.

                          1. re: wekick

                            dont you guys tap the lids too? Its been a few years but they sound different if you tap with a spoon after the lids are sealed than before. At least thats my remembrance.

                            1. re: jen kalb

                              I always manually check the lids too. Normally I just try to push on them, there's no give if they're sealed. The ones that didn't seal will depress and pop.

                          2. re: odkaty

                            Updated observation: canned tomato sauce this weekend, using a mix of new (silver) jars and re-treads with a mix of gold and red plaid (so appropriate!) lids. One of each lid type didn't seal.

                          3. This is my first year of using mostly silver lids. To my ears, they are overall much quieter. It's definitely a more subtle sound. I haven't had any failures, though, and I've probably done 200 jars in the last month or two.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: Vetter

                              jfood used the silver lids this weekend and noticed a little difference in the pop, but he checked after they cooled and they were concave and when jfood tried to lift by the edges they held very firm.

                              1. re: Vetter

                                Just put up some plum jam with the new silver lids this morning. The pops were really loud! I heard it from two rooms away.

                                1. re: csdiego

                                  I've been canning for 20 years....I hear pinging only intermittently, as always. It has nothing to do if you have a good seal or not. The way to check is pressing down on the center to make sure it stays concave; if it "oil cans" you've got a bad seal. I posted on another thread that I've started using these totally reusable Tattler lids that are plastic with a reusable rubber gasket. They don't ping because they are plastic, but they don't have any BPA in them and can be reused indefinitely. Love them! http://www.reusablecanninglids.com/

                                  1. re: momskitchen

                                    Are you still happy with the Tattler lids after a few years use?

                                      1. re: gingershelley

                                        Finally replying.....after a couple years use, I have found that the Tattler rings get stretched out and don't seem to seal as well as a Ball lid after a while. I don't like to get failures, so I tend to use the Ball lids more often. Then I can give them away to people and not worry about getting the lid back.

                                        1. re: momskitchen

                                          I recently spoke to my Extension agent. They have finally finished studying these lids. She said they have a 30% failure rate with the rate increasing with the use/lid, She said regular lids have a 5% failure rate.

                                          I bought some a few years back. One I have used 5 times - so far no failures. I have not used them in pressure canning yet.

                                    1. re: momskitchen

                                      I bought their tester kit this year, which is about 40 wide mouth and normal lids. So far I've had a few more failures than I usually get with sealing, but I'm looking forward to reusing the lids in the future.

                                    2. re: csdiego

                                      Plum jam sound great, csdiego! Please share your recipe!

                                  2. I live in western south dakota, in the mountains here, so there's an elevation difference, which I wonder if that has any bearing with hearing the "snap."

                                    I canned all day yesterday using the silver lids, but only heard one snap. Then again, the last time I canned many years ago, it was the same thing.

                                    In fact, again I don't know if it's the higher elevation, but my seals often tend to slowly seal. Like a few of them won't have that center seal going, but then I'll check an hour later, and it will have slowly sealed, with no snap.

                                    1. I know this is an old thread, but I just started canning in the last two months and I love the ping! I use the Balls with the silver bands and they almost always ping and I've only had one jar fail to seal properly (which I only discovered when I checked the lid with a little tug). I've probably canned 50 jars or more in the last two months.

                                      2 Replies
                                        1. re: momskitchen

                                          I'm new to canning so have started pretty simple. My parents had a ton of tomatoes and apples in their backyard. So I made applesauce, caramel apple butter, tomato-apple chutney, and green tomato salsa. I'm about to make some green tomato chutney and some pickled speckle pears. I've also made some pickles and cured some olives but didn't can any of those. I'm really enjoying taking advantage of all the produce available both for free and from the farmer's market in the last few months.

                                      1. We have been canning for almost four decades. Last year (2013), we had our first major seal failure, using Bernardin Snap lids. We ended up freezing later batches of peaches.

                                        Our lids would "seal" so we stored them in the garage,as usual,(over 20 years of doing this). Anywhere from a few days, to a couple of weeks, to a few months later, we would hear "hissing" sounds. The fruit had fermented. We threw out about 25 lbs. of peaches, as well as wasting our lids and time. The top peaches had also turned brown - never had this problem before.

                                        I contacted Bernardin, in 2013, as they appear to have a Canadian monopoly, at least in B.C., on such lids. We used to be able to buy both Ball and Kerr lids, years ago.

                                        In reply to the previous post,in 2014: I have had the same problem with the new Bernardin Snap-lids, only mine sealed and then "unsealed" when I lifted them with my finger. The seals appeared to be "perfect". These lids "pop" really quietly so one has to stick around to keep an eye on them. The top peaches were also starting brown.

                                        In 2013, I was told they had changed the rubber (no BPA?). The rubber also appears to be thinner when compared to Bernardin's "older" lids.

                                        The help I got was to refer to their canning manual and follow the directions - guess what? Same problem. They were also against pressure canning (no scientific reason given). We've been pressure canning for almost 40 years! Water bath canning takes ages in comparison.

                                        Maybe all the companies have changed their lids, I don't know. For the time being, we'll freeze or vacuum-seal our fruit.

                                        1. I've been canning with Ball jars and lids for 25+ years, and I've rarely had a failed seal. However, this year I've already lost more jars of things I've canned with the seals failing a few days after they originally sealed. I do water process and pressure can as recommended. Ball has changed something with their lids. I'll be using Kerr lids from now on.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: pvtbarnes28

                                            Both Ball and Kerr are owned by Jarden Corporation. Perhaps different factories make the lids but I would think they are the same.http://www.jarden.com/brands
                                            Here is a discussion about it:

                                            I read recently somewhere that directions for heating lids have changed. My old packages (just found in barn from 2007) say heat to simmering but NOT boiling. New packages don't seem to be as clear about how hot to get water.

                                            1. re: dfrostnh

                                              Per the Ball website "After many years of research, it was determined that preheating BallĀ® and KerrĀ® lids is no longer necessary. The sealing compound used for our home canning lids performs equally well at room temperature as it does pre-heated in simmering water (180 degrees Fahrenheit). Simply wash lids in hot, soapy water, dry, and set aside until needed."

                                              1. re: gourmanda

                                                This is good to know if I come up a lid short when doing up a batch of something. However, since "old habits die hard" and it "can't hoit" to simmer them, I will probably continue to do it the old way.

                                                1. re: al b. darned

                                                  Actually, it can. If the new lids are overheated it can cause the sealing compound to thin out and not seal properly (or at all).

                                                  1. re: gourmanda

                                                    its unclear how they could overheat if they are in boiling (simmering water) - it wont rise above 212. If Ball says they can still be prepared that way, I would not hesitate. anyway, I do not simmer, I just pour a cup or so of the boiling water from the canner over the lids.

                                                    I canned a couple dozen jars of pickles and tomato sauce in the last few weeks using a mix of new and old ball lids and saw no problem with the lids or sealing. Time will tell I guess. I take the rings off for storage.