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Feb 18, 2011 11:46 AM

Jars, lids, resistance (or lack thereof)

Talking about purchased, and not home-preserved here. Issues like a popped lid aside, why is it that some jars can nearly give you a hernia from opening, but others (like I had this morning with olives), give an almost concerning lack of resistance ?

I am not sure whether there is any relationship between this and food safety, but I always feel best eating something that came out of a jar that I have to work with a little, and that gives an audible 'pop' upon opening.

What does it say about the seal if it is not popped (and no other obvious issues with the jar), but it opens so easily, and without much noise?

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  1. Not sure about the health issues but, as I get older, lids that are hard to open are becoming increasingly problematic. I assume the issue is vacuum pressure and/or machine settings at the packaging plant.

    I recently saw a very inexpensive metal 'erector-set' looking gadget on TV that you hook onto one side of the jar lid and the other side is adjustable along the length of the device.... sort of like pair of pliers in concept. The presenter was saying it was very inexpensive but the only similar type I can find online was in the mid - $15 range and had a few negative comments attached. Any clues would be appreciated. It's not so much the price as how well it will work I'm interested in.

    Here's the pricey one. The one I saw was all metal:

    5 Replies
    1. re: Midlife

      Get a Sear's "Baby Boa Constrictor" (dumb name, but it's amazing). It's not a kitchen gadget, but in the hardware area (cheap, too). I have 2 sizes, and it works like a charm. It's a hard rubber loop with a serrated edge that sits against the jar, and it gives incredible torque to open even the most recalcitrant jars. Love mine (just have to keep it from hubby who keeps taking it back to the garage workshop).

      1. re: pine time

        Cool idea. I've seen those at hardware stores. They're called strap wrenches. Thanks.

      2. re: Midlife

        I have a lack-of-grip/hand strength issue, and I learned a really easy, effective tip here on Chowhound for non-threaded jar lids. Take the pointed tip of a churchkey and angle it under the edge of the jar lid, then lever the shaft of the churchkey gently down - you should not need to do it hard enough to distort or dent the edge of the lid. This pops open the vacuum seal (you will hear, of course), making the lid easy to remove.

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          My method is to hit the edge (corner) of the lid with a solid item, such as the handle of a stainless steel knife. If done hard enough & at the right angle, it will cause the lid to pop - and then it's a cinch to twist open.

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            A butter knife, or the edge of a spoon, works as well.

        2. Think of the calories you burn when trying to open a tough lid. Almost like an hour in the gym

          1 Reply
          1. re: beevod

            It ain't the burn, it's the pain.............. mate. Check back if you ever begin to have symptoms of arthritis in your hands.

            Apologies to im_nomad. I've sortof forced this topic off the issue of resistance vs. safety.

          2. I use the back (not the sharp side) of a heavy chefs knife. Set the jar on a counter and hit the lid at the angle which it should turn. Works every time.

            1. I, also, as a dedicated home canner/preserver, tend to fret when that jar of smoked salmon opens too easily.

              On the other hand, when it is nicely, snugly tight, I still tend to use the 'run the lid under hot running water' trick. Metal expands and glass does not, so-o-o...voila!