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Can I reuse canning lids?

Can I reuse canning lids?

This question gets asked more frequently than usual with the recent canning jar and canning lid shortages. While we do address the answer in a couple of other larger posts, we thought it was time to re-visit the topic.

If you were to ask us “Can I reuse canning lids?” we could assume that you’re referring to whether or not you can use the same lid in two rounds of canning. If you are talking about a standard 2-piece metal canning lid system, the answer is “no”. If you’re talking about a single-piece Hi-Heat plastisol lid, the answer is “no”.

Why can’t I reuse canning lids?

There are 3 basic reasons why you shouldn’t reuse canning lids:

  1. The risk of making someone ill. Seal failures don’t always show up while your jars are on the counter. They can also happen after you’ve placed them in storage. Depending on the product, the failure may not be obvious when you retrieve the jar.
  2. The risk of lost costly produce. Not all products can be re-canned if they don’t seal the first time around. If they can, product quality & texture will certainly be diminished.
  3. The risk of lost time. Canning takes time…time that you can’t get back. There are no short-cuts.

Manufacturers do not recommend reusing canning lids:

Manufacturers have designed 2-piece lid systems (and the one-piece lids) for single use processes, so anything outside of the intended use it at the individuals risk. There are limits to the life/functionality of the plastisol liner on those lids. Stressors like heat, acid, time take their toll.

The NCHFP does not recommend reusing them:

For all of the reasons above, the NCHFP will not recommend reusing canning lids.

What you CAN do with your spent canning lids:

Chances are, if you’re a preserver, you also use mason jars in other areas of your life too! These are easy ways to give those lids another use before they begin to rust or soak up too much pickled aroma and are ready for disposal.

  • use them as lids when freezing items
  • use them in the refrigerator
  • use them to top leftovers
  • use them to store drygoods
  • use them when sharing soups or other things in jars that don’t need to be processed
  • use them to store items in the craft zone or in the workshop
  • donate them to your local craft reuse shop (be sure to note that they shouldn’t be used for canning)

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