BPA-free canning lids

As the press on BPA keeps getting worse and worse, many of us are horrified to learn that regular Ball/Kerr canning jar lids have a coat of BPA-containing plastic on them. While still better than BPA-lined metal cans (because the food contacts a smaller area of plastic, and only when it’s actively boiling), I’d prefer an option with no BPA at all.

So far, I’ve found two potential options. I haven’t used them yet, though – has anyone out there tried these?

  • Tattler reusable lids – solid plastic (non-BPA) lids and jar rubbers that you use with regular metal rings. They are plastic, but made in the USA and infinitely reusable, which is a bonus in my book. Mark Hodesh at Downtown Home and Garden has offered to stock these for this coming canning season, and I intend to buy a couple dozen to try out. [UPDATE 7-23-11: see my review here!]
  • Bulk cannning lids from Lehman’s – these are pretty standard disposable lids sized for regular or wide-mouth jars, but looking at the picture, there doesn’t appear to be that layer of plastic on the inside of these. They are supposed to be way cheaper than buying lids by the box, too, but last year I think I paid $1.25 or so for a dozen – so they aren’t cheaper unless lid prices have gone way up this year. (Lehman’s is selling a dozen regular lids for $1.95, though, so maybe prices will be much higher this year.)

I know there are those beautiful Weck jars with glass lids, too, but they are so expensive, and you can’t use them for pressure canning, either. Update 12/6/10: Apparently you CAN use Weck jars in a pressure canner (the Lehman’s catalog says it’s safe), though you might want to use extra clips to keep the rubber gasket from shooting out from under the lid.

Published by Emily

I'm an instructional designer and gardener based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Free moments find me in my garden or the forest, hugging trees and all that jazz.

111 thoughts on “BPA-free canning lids

  1. How do you know the Tattler doesn’t have BPA? The website doesn’t have any information on it. Also, rubber products can also contain BPA, so I am not convinced that any company that sells rubber canning gaskets is offering a BPA free product. I note that Weck makes no such claim. People just *think* that’s the case.

    So, what it comes down to for me is that the stuff I can never touches the lid once it is done, so I am not worrying about it. The BPA coating is provided to protect against corrosion. I am hopeful they come up with a better way.

  2. I emailed Tattler too and the news is good! No BPA in either the gasket or the lid. I might try them for jam/jelly/pickles this summer. Not so sure about pressure canning, though. Weck hasn’t responded to my query yet about their rubber gasket.

  3. Emily,
    Thank you very much for your interest in our product and for giving it space on your Blog for your readers. Given the renewed interest in home canning we have revived our marketing thrust for the Tattler lids. 2010 production is under way and we plan to commence shipping March 15, or sooner. We do have a new, much more informative web site as you indicated, http://www.reusablecanninglids.com . Within the past few days, our old site is non-functional and anyone using the former address should be directed to the new site. We now have a Mid-Western and a Western location for ordering or questions. We are very proud that our product contains no BPA, and that it is completely Made in U.S.A. Readers, please visit our site for answers to your questions. If you have further questions feel free to contact us.
    L.C. Stieg

  4. Disturbing. I wonder how much the initial sterilizing boil of the lids removes the active BPA transfer to subsequent food? We reuse lids until they’re no longer safe to seal so as they age they would hopefully become less active about releasing BPA. This is true of other similar things. Thanks for this post. I hadn’t thought about this.

  5. I was so excited when i saw these options, but then did some research . . the tattler lids are made with POM- which contains formaldehyde. Sigg recently chose not to use this plastic for fear of leaching. did you contact lehman’s about the lids? I can’t figure out how to do this . . I know that BPA is often put between metal layers to prevent corrosion, but can still leach. I don’t know if there is any BPA in the weck’s rubber seals, but the old fashioned glass lids and bases may be the way to go if not. it is so frustrating that we can’t easily escape the industrial chemicals even as we try to prepare so much at home!

  6. This is not a self promoting post, rather it is being offered to clear up a previous entry.

    While we fully appreciate your concern and sensitivity to formaldehyde, we would like to inform you our product contains only trace elements and according to the manufacturer MSDS is not a factor until temperatures reach above 460 deg F, which is far above what any canning environment will produce. Additionally, this product is regulated under CFR, Title 21, 177.2470 which states “Any additives, that may be present, comply with appropriate, specific FDA Regulations.


    Types of food: All types of food except foods containing 15% or more alcohol.

    Conditions of Use: Use temperature not to exceed 250 deg F per 177.2470.

    The CFR regulation identifies a lower temperature threshold of 250 degrees F should not be exceeded, which also is in excess of safe canning practices. While we are fully confident the release or leaching of formaldehyde is not a concern in the canning process, we do appreciate your consumer sensitivity and concern.

  7. FYI: This is a reply from Lehman’s in response to asking who makes their lids and if they contain BPA:

    Thank you for checking with us!

    Regretfully, we are not permitted to give out our manufacturer information. The bulk canning lid sleeves are made in the USA.

    Yes, these lids contain a plastisol/PVC gasket and modified vinyl coating which is FDA approved.

    1. My convo with them went like this:

      Me: Hi- In the catalog I received yesterday, I noticed that the bulk canning lids (Item 110-8275) don’t have a layer of white plastic on the inside coating the metal. Is that accurate, and does this mean these lids are BPA-free? Thank you, Emily

      Lehman’s: They have been improved but we cannot guarantee it is totally BPA free.

      Me: The picture shows just metal and the rubber ring – is that an accurate picture, or is there also a coating on the inside of the lids?

      Lehman’s: That is accurate…..only the reddish ring.

      Do what you will with that info!

      1. Ya, and don’t trust what the FDA says, nor trust just because a label says “Made in America”. Those who hold the “REAL” power within both of these stated corporate institutions are the same consortium who use their medias to distort research all the time in order to market what “their” industry desires, or/and what “their” ideals that they desire to promote on those unwilling, or to lazy to do their own research on. Trust none, test all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        1. You said it!! Trust No one….test it all! Do not use anything with any chemical. It is not worth the risk.

  8. Just so you know, rubber sometimes contains BPA…so the reddish ring could contain it, and any rubber canning gasket can contain it. That’s why Lehman’s can’t guarantee it. However, if you are canning your food properly, it shouldn’t touch the lid or the gasket or the seal after it’s processed. It’ different than drinking out of a BPA lined water bottle.

  9. I emailed Weck and got this reply:

    “The rings and keep fresh covers are BPA free.
    Thank you for your interest.
    – Judy”

  10. It is so difficult to get away from using carcinogenic chemicals these days.
    I just wonder if when we use seals that contain BPA, even if the food does not touch the seal, if the heat of the canning process causes the BPA in the seal to turn into a gas that then permeates into the food within the jar?
    My granny used wax to seal her jars, but that only works on jellies and jams.

  11. I didn’t know about the BPA in regular lids and am disturbed because I’m chemically sensitive. I have been using a quart glass canning jar to drink my daily 2 quarts of water to avoid plastic and stainless steel. I wonder how much BPA I’ve ingested? Does anyone know if the Tattler lids are safe for drinking water all day with powdered vitamin C in it? It’s an acid that mars the inside of the glass jar over time. Thanks for your thoughts. Juliene

  12. What I want to know is what kind of “rubber” is used in glass top jars. Natural (gum) rubber is rated for about 140 dgF. So seals must be Buna-n, Neoprene, or ?.

    1. My concern was regarding what type of material the Tattor reusable lids and ring seals are made of also.

      Juliene above claims “I tried the Tattler lids….they worked really well and are BPA free, lid and ring. I LOVE THEM!”
      however, I did not see BPA free on the Tatter website.

      And, unless I missed a page on their site that explains their products, the website says very little about anything.

      Although the “FDA approved” and “made in the USA” claims carries no weight with me, because I do not trust either enterprises, I still plan to order Tater lids and sealing rings once I’ve used up what I already have, but primary because its seems more economical to recycle all I can. Pardon the pun ^_^

        1. Thank you Emily, it now sure does, and in BIG LETTERS; BPA FREE!
          The paradigm is shifting back into a Golden Age where people are again becoming wiser, are now less likely to believe those who say is “safe”.

          I still do not believe all of what anyone says or what I read, but rather I research, then follow my intuition.

    2. I sent an inquiry to Tattler asking what kind of rubber their gaskets are made of. Their response was “food grade nitrile”.

      However I’m not sure what you mean about the temperature issue because Weck uses 100% natural rubber gaskets. The info is not on their website as far as I can tell but that was their answer to my question.

  13. On the box of Tattler lids, it says BPA free. I don’t worry about BPA much and canning, because if you are canning properly, your food doesn’t touch the lid. However, if it is something you worry about, you can rest easy. The Tattler lids are BPA free. For what I care about, which is being local, thrifty and green, they are all three!

  14. Lehman’s – Bulk Canning Lids
    I called Lehman’s at 1-888-438-5346 and asked if their Bulk Canning Lids were BPA Free. The operator said that they called the manufacturer of the lids and they could not give her an answer either way, Yes or No. So, in my book you should always assume the gun is loaded. In other words these lids contain BPA otherwise they could out sell Kerr and Ball lids altogether. 9-6-2010

  15. Properly processed foods can and do touch the plastisol lining on the canning jar lids especially in foods that are pressure canned. All canning jar lids manufactured in North America must have the plastisol lining that contains BPA. This is a mandatory requirement that applies to all metal that may come into contact with food. BPA leaches from the plastisol lining under high heat and/or acidic conditions both of which occur with home canning and more so with food that are pressure canned where foods come to a boil in the jar and usually are still boiling in the jar when removed from the canner.

    With that in mind I have been making the switch from the single use snap lids with the plastisol lining to the BPA-free Tattler lids and older glass inserts. The glass inserts not to be confused with old glass caps are very much like the Tattler lids only glass so there is no chance of anything leaching. The Tattler lids indent slightly so you are sure of the seal whereas the glass inserts do not. The regular mason jar bands can be used with Tattler lids but a special, deeper band is needed for the glass inserts. I have had excellent success with the Tattler lids so highly recommend them to anyone wanting to eliminate the BPA problem. I did a full unpaid review on my blog for anyone interested. The opinions expressed are based on my experience using Tattler lids for BWB, PC and vacuum sealing.

  16. @Mom’s Cafe – I love the Tattler lids, too. Here is why your food should not be touching your lid from the National Center for Home Food Preservation – ….hope this helps and good luck with your canning ventures:

    Do I really need to leave a certain amount of headspace in the jar?
    Yes, leaving the specified amount of headspace in a jar is important to assure a vacuum seal. If too little headspace is allowed the food may expand and bubble out when air is being forced out from under the lid during processing. The bubbling food may leave a deposit on the rim of the jar or the seal of the lid and prevent the jar from sealing properly. If too much headspace is allowed, the food at the top is likely to discolor. Also, the jar may not seal.
    properly because there will not be enough processing time to drive all the air out of the jar.

  17. @Cynthia, food does not touch the lid if using proper headspace. It touches the lid during the canning process and unless you have pressure canned than you won’t understand what I am saying. I have canned for well over 30 years. Anytime anything is processed using a pressure canner it will come into contact with the lid and that is with leaving the proper headspace.

    1. Actually, Cynthia is one of the primo canners in our town, hosts the Ann Arbor Canners forum, and has canned water-bath and pressure-style for decades, so yes, she does know what she’s talking about.

      I think the point you two are making is that food does touch the lid somewhat during the canning process, but if you have left proper headspace between the top of the food and the rim of the jar, the food will not *stay* in contact with the lid once it’s taken out of the canner. For some people, this greatly-reduced contact with a BPA-containing lid is an acceptable risk, and for others it is not. I, for one, am happy we now have another option in canning lids, and we can each make the choice that suits our preferences better.

  18. @Emily the point is the food does come into contact with the lid during the canning process and this is where the BPA is most likely to be leached out into the food. Food does not have to stay in contact with the plastisol to be contaminated with BPA it gets contaminated during the pressure canning process. Now just today another study as to the side effects of BPA was announced and it isn’t good so IMO if I can as a home canner avoid the whole issue of BPA I would like to. If someone is only processing via BWB canner then the food does not get hot enough to expand or boil enough to touch the lid so I don’t think BPA contamination is a huge issue if processed properly. BPA contamination is mainly a problem when pressure canning.

    With respect to BPA, a recent study showed 94% of those tested having BPA in their bodies. It is eliminated rather quickly but who knows what damage it does while going through. Some countries have already banned it, with my homeland Canada joining in working towards a ban. In comparison to commercially canned foods, home canned foods have considerably less BPA contamination. Moving away from the plastisol lined lids containing the BPA is likely a good think. I think we will see the metal lids changed to a BPA-free lining. Here’s hoping.

  19. I have been learning about this issue as well and was pleased to find this blog.

    I just called Lehmans as well, and spoke with a woman who said “No, the photo of the lids is no longer what we sell. That is an old photo. Because Ball owns Kerr, the shipment and current stock of all Ball/Kerr lids now contains the plastic BPA antibacterial white coating.” I don’t know where to find the old Kerr lids anymore. If you have any old Kerr lids and they are still a gold color, not white – take good care of them and keep them as long as you can because they aren’t making anymore!

    Also, I emailed Ball about the White Plastic Storage Caps they sell and here is their response: “We appreciate your message. Please be assured that plastic food storage containers (freezer containers/freezer jars) and plastic food contact articles (cutlery, straws, serving/canning utensils and canning storage caps) marketed by Jarden Home Brands and as provided to our private label companies do not contain Bisphenol-A (BPA).”
    So I am assuming that “plastic food contact artciles” and “canning storage caps” are indeed the Plastic Storage Caps, which you can buy from Ball and are sold at most hardware stores and online.

    So to summarize, the only BPA free lids I know of thus far are:
    – Balls, Plastic Storage Caps (not to be used for canning, but for storage)
    – Tattler plastic canning lids
    – OLD un-coated Kerr metal lids (in gold color)


  20. With regard to the Tattler lids, I think people would find this of interest:

    Note, that not only does formaldeyhde start releasing from polyoxymethylene at 250 degrees (which for my money is not safely well enough above canning temperatures, especially if you use a higher temp short cycle), but it can be released by abrasion and acid, alkali, enzyme, and oxygen exposure. Given that these lids are reused for a long period of time with ample opportunity to sustain abrasion and oxygen exposure and that many foods we can contain acids and enzymes, I would regard these as simply substituting a formaldehyde hazard for a BPA hazard.

    Someone needs to put glass plugs with rubber ring seals back on the market for standard American canning jars. No, they don’t pop down to show a seal, but if you remove the ring after canning (which you should anyway), you can test the seal in the old-fashioned way by picking up the jar by the edge of the lid. If it lifts the jar, the seal is good.

    I’d be interested to hear if anyone with experience pressure canning with the Weck jars using 4 or 6 tabs instead of 2 to hold the lid and ring in place has a report on failure rates in a pressure canner in those circumstances. Weck recommends upping the clamps to 3, but says they need to be evenly spaced. I’d do it with at least 4 in that case, maybe more for wide mouth, just because it’s easier to set even spacing that way. I know there’s one popular blog that said the Weck jars simply don’t work for pressure canning, but right below that article there’s a post from someone who says she’s been using them in a pressure canner since the 1980s with virtually no failures. It would be nice to get more opinions before buying some.

    1. I read the site above (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15821686) and it says 250 C. no F.

      After doing the conversion, from Celcius to Fahrenheit, it turns out that it is 482 Degrees in Fahrenheit.

      Even in a pressure canner you won’t (can’t) reach that sort of temperature, so this really sounds like a non-issue.

      1. Also, regarding other reasons for degradation, maybe in not reusing the lids would be a wise approach. Expensive, that would probably be, but then, the whole reason for (some of us) is to reduce toxicity consumption. So, I’d say, don’t reuse.

        As for the acid degradation aspects, guess less acidic foods will be canned next year.

  21. http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:I7NDgoU_ehkJ:www.razinpolymer.com/files/msds/razatal/M111.pdf+toxicity+polyoxymethylene+plastic&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjrhGRZBA5oXsNw8Dq2SG7t333O7qHWFiqoYeu9DYSIJuc9zwjRAFxWtFgIGTq8b0Cf36LCR5k5ixWeP_8wCwMi76dFkRn-XSNHCjioeVPUjLOIj4ybhPlmlvNbrmLJPHiGEPcc&sig=AHIEtbTrmI_43M3uFBjPVQtugUjX_7tHpQ

    Note this line:
    “a. Ingestion:

    No toxic symptoms reported, however, low toxicity by this route is expected based on

    biological activity of high molecular weight polyacetal polymers.”

    There are a lot of chemical products the FDA has classified as GRAS and even safe in contact with food products that have turned out not to be all that safe at very low-level chronic exposure. I expect the only difference between BPA-containing plastics and polyoxymethylene in this respect is that the one has become very widely used with resultant studies after several decades of use casting questions on its safety. Polyoxymethylene can probably be sold and advertised as completely safe for a couple of decades after it comes into very common use before there will be any studies offering data on its actual safety in use with food products, but the basic chemical facts are not at all encouraging.

  22. Last, but not least:

    Chapters: Polyethylene Glycol, Polyphenyl Ether, Polyoxymethylene Plastic, Peek, Paraformaldehyde, Polypropylene Glycol, Polydioxanone, Nonoxynols, Poly(tetramethylene Ether) Glycol, Peg 400, Techron. Excerpt: Chemical structure of a nonylphenol ethoxylates. Nonoxynols or nonylphenol ethoxylates are mixtures of nonionic surfactants used as detergents , emulsifiers , wetting agents , defoaming agents , etc. nonoxynol-9 , the compound with approximately 9 repeating ethoxy groups, is a spermatocide , formulated primarily as a component of vaginal foams and creams. Production These compounds are produced by ethoxylation of alkylphenols . The precursor nonylphenol is derived from phenol and a mixture of nonenes . Toxicity concerns Concerns about the environmental impact of these compounds has increased since the 1990’s. These surfactants have a mild to medium estrogenic function. Consequently, this class of detergents has been effectively banned for commercial “down-the-drain” applications in Europe, and these compounds are not found in laundry detergents in the USA.

    If this class of plastics also has a mild to moderate estrogenic function, which is exactly the problem that has led to concern with BPA, I fail to see how switching to polyoxymethylene is any improvement.

    Yes, Tattler lids are, indeed, BPA free–but only because they are made of a different plastic with similar biologic activity.

    Yes, the FDA say that the Tattler lid’s polyoxymethylene is safe for food use. But then, that’s exactly what they said (and are still saying) about BPA-containing plastics. Why do you think DuPont’s lobbying money has allowed any more honesty in the second case than in the first?

  23. @citikit, thanks for all the great information! If formaldehyde is released from polyoxymethylene at 250ºF then under normal home canning conditions no formaldehyde should be released. The temperature of BWB gets to 212ºF while pressure canning reaches a temperature of 240ºF at 10 lb pressure. In this case the Tattler lids ‘should’ be completely fine for use in a BWB canner without any concerns regarding the release of formaldehyde. I, like you, am concerned over whether there is enough temperature leeway at normal pressure canning temperatures.

    My gosh, home canning just keeps getting more complicated with BPA from the lids, benzene from the lemon juice the USDA says to acidify with and now formaldehyde? The difference as I see the data is BPA is released at much lower temperatures so is released into the food via both BWB and PC. Formaldehyde would not be released via either BWB or PC under normal home canning conditions. So with the metal snap lids I am guaranteed to have BPA in my food. With the Tattlers I’m guaranteed to have no BPA at all, no formaldehyde using BWB and a possibility of formaldehyde if the canner reaches a temperature of 250ºF which under normal conditions it will only reach 240ºF.

    That being said, I’ve been working on buying glass inserts that look like Tattlers but are glass. I only have a couple of dozen so am still in the testing stages for these lids. I am liking the results so far. Finding the lids is hard though and getting enough of a stock for over 1,000 jars per year is pretty much impossible. The real problem with the glass lids though is finding the replacement rubber seals.

  24. My concern is that 15 pounds pressure is only a little over where you go with some canning recipes. Added to that, the information that acids/enzymes also cause release of formaldehyde from the Tattler plastic leaves me wondering what happens with that can of pickles sitting on the shelf or when a slightly less acidic food is pressure canned at just a little under 250 F–as we are now told to do with tomatoes, etc. for best safety. What is the cumulative effect of acid exposure plus a high temperature only 25 degrees or so under the plastic’s safety margin for temperature alone? I would expect it’s not all that good. Also, POM being in the exact same class of plastics as PET makes it highly suspicious that it will also be proven to leach endocrine disrupters when anyone finally bothers to investigate it for that, which no one has yet. All the attention has been focused on the plastics commonly in use with food in the home, and Delrin is an oddball that is generally only used to make some parts in things like espresso machines or on food assembly lines. It’s not going to have a high priority for investigation for problems with food use in light of more modern knowledge of plastics problems. As far as I can see, Tattlers have resusability going for them, but anyone who thinks their plastic is actually completely safe is probably living in wishful thinking land–or works for DuPont or the FDA, which most days seem to both amount to pretty much the same thing.

    Please, where are you finding glass inserts for sale for the Kerr/Ball jars? Who is the maker? That’s exactly what I originally went looking for, but could find absolutely nothing. I don’t need 1,000 a year myself yet, so I’d be very interested in also trying out whatever you’ve found, as that would let me continue to use the old Ball jars I have here with no chemical worries.

    As far as lemon juice contaminants go, you can buy pure powdered citric acid to use instead. You have the same ability to know exactly how much acid you are adding without having to deal with the stuff they put in commercial juice concentrates. (Not to mention that unless you can find Goya or a similar brand still bottled in glass, your lemon juice has been sitting there in a chemical-leaching plastic bottle until you dump it in your food with all those “little extras” from the plastic included.) If you’re serious about canning, of course, just invest in a pH meter, and you’ll never have to add acid by guess and by gosh again (or over add it because all the Blue Book recipes recommend overkill just to make sure enough will be added in worst possible case scenarios). You do have to use the thing correctly of course, and calibrate it correctly before use. I guess I’m very comfortable with that because I used to do pH analyses all the time where some kid had a much higher probability of dying if I got it wrong than the chances of anyone getting botulism, but like any other analytic tool, you do need to learn the basics of right and wrong and proper maintenance and follow directions scrupulously. What can I say, I learned to cook as a little girl from a chemical engineer who told me that the first thing to learn about cooking was the chemistry, and then you could do whatever you wanted. He had a point. 😉

    I’d like them to bring back glass stopper-rubber ring canning jars in brown glass, but I suppose that will really be the day, huh?

  25. All of the sources I found for pressure canning at 10 lb pressure say the temperature reaches 240 degrees F at sea level as mentioned in my reply. I am assuming the 250 degrees F mentioned by the NCHFP is reached at 15 lb pressure. If that is the case then processing in a BWB will not cause the release of formaldehyde nor will PC processing at 10 lb pressure but at 15 lb pressure formaldehyde starts to be released.

    The fact that anything is being released concerns me. The Tattler lids are safer when compared to the BPA containing lids but there still is a chance of contamination if the pressure canner reaches a temperature greater than 250 degrees F.

    1. But now you know the contamination issue is not a concern in terms of 250 degrees F. (See reply to #22)

      If there is an issue, it is related to “reuse” (from being scratched and marred) and from acid foods (I’d dare say, highly acid foods–as not the small amount of acid one adds (lemon juice, for example).

  26. You are correct that 250 is 15 pounds pressure. My concern, as mentioned above, is that many other things besides temperature cause formaldehyde release from that plastic, and the temperature is temperature required for release in a neutral air environment, not with exposure to additional acid and enzymes in a liquid interface. The safe temperature in that situation is very likely to be lower.

    The bottom line is really simple–no plastic is truly safe around food. It’s the nature of the manufacturing process and the material itself. It all contains small amounts of various objectionable chemicals and they all leach. The government regs simply concern how much is considered an “acceptable” level for each of the things that can and assuredly will leach. If you trust that their acceptable levels represent true safety, I have this bridge for sale in my city, and I can let you have it cheap. It’s also BPA-free! 🙂

  27. Here, in the FDA’s own words, is what they consider perfectly allowable and perfectly safe leaching out of POM. Read it and weep.


    This is what safety means when talking about plastics–no more than this and that amount of noxious chemical this and that, and you’re good to go buddy, wrap that food up in it, and bon appetit!

  28. Emily, thank you, yes, I’ve seen vintage glass lids on eBay, some for the old bail closure jars, and some the tops for use with screw bands and rubber rings that I was remembering and trying to find a current manufacturer for. I thought that was what the original post was referencing, not trying to painfully acquire a small collection of vintage lids and screw bands and then trying to find new rubber rings that fit. I probably misunderstood, and that is what she is actually doing.

    Sure wish someone would start making new glass lids and rings again for our modern canning jars. The vintage ones only show up in bits and pieces on eBay, many of which are chipped or rusted, and you do need new rubbers for them even if you finally acquire both lids and rings in decent condition.

  29. @citikit, I can at 10 lb pressure given our altitude so for me the issue becomes whether there is any formaldehyde leached out at 240 degrees F. If there isn’t then all around the Tattlers are safer than the BPA lids providing no further leaching issues come to light.

    I use citric acid, have a pH meter that sees a lot of use, have a very strong science background and definitely know how to use a pH meter. Any food that is BWB should not come into contact with the lid if stored properly but there is always a small chance of the jar tipping or being shook.

    I agree with you on the plastic issue. Here’s how I see it on the canning jar lids:
    * metal with BPA coating – leaching of BPA for both BWB and PC processing but USDA approved, eco-unfriendly
    * Tattler – no leaching for BWB or at PC 10 lb pressure but leaching at 15 lb pressure, not USDA approved, eco-friendly
    * glass inserts – no leaching for BWB or PC, not USDA approved, hard to find, eco-friendly

    As an aside, the USDA is no longer being funded for home canning research/testing so don’t expect much from them. There was talk of the NCHFP site coming down but for now it remains. Some universities (sorry I’m Canadian and not sure if extension services are universities or not) may continue to add to the canning knowledge base funding permitted.

    I personally would like to see the Tattler lids tested and better yet someone to resume manufacturing the glass inserts. I do like my glass inserts. At least I know they are safe.

  30. I agree, new glass inserts would be ideal. Maybe someone will see the business opportunity there. (A girl can hope.)

    As long as the lid is impervious and can be lift-tested after the jar cools, I don’t care who endorses it or doesn’t–the thing is a safe seal if it passes the lift test when going into and again when coming out of storage. Bail lids, yeah, I wouldn’t can with those these days because there’s no way to test for seal failure with those, but any lid/ring combo that can be lift tested should be just fine. Now we just need someone making them. 🙂 

    To me the Tattlers and the metal lids with the plastic lining are six of one and half a dozen of the other as far as chemicals leaching into the food goes–I just don’t see one as safer than the other there, given the nature of the plastics involved. BPA isn’t the only endocrine disrupter–just the only one people are talking about these days. The Tattlers do have reusability going for them, and overall are likely not worse than the lined metal lids, so they’re probably a better idea for some people. They’re not the kind of solution I was looking for or would be really happy with, though.

    The extension services down here are part of the old state land grant/agricultural college quid pro quo and were originally a mandated service of colleges that came into being that way. They’ve done great service to farmers and farm wives over the years, but you’re right that neither they nor the USDA are the resources they used to be for things like canning.

    My lust at the moment is for an active water meter so I can develop some safe canned breads and cakes made with healthy, organic ingredients for myself. Alas, they’re just a bit out of the average retired little old lady home canner’s price range. Phooey.

    1. “My lust at the moment is for an active water meter…”

      Have you been living inside my head? 😛 My research has led me to the same desire. Unfortunately it just isn’t happening right now, but if you ever do reach that point I’d be interested in reading about it…post it somewhere on the ‘net and I’ll find it with google. 🙂

      I have contacted Tattler requesting they make glass lids as an alternative option. I recommend others do the same. Perhaps if they see enough of a demand they might take it up.

  31. LOL, and here I thought I was the only one crazy enough to want something like that. Just annoys the heck out of me that there’s exactly one tested recipe for canned breakfast bread, yet there are several companies selling canned breads and cakes. Of course, they’re virtually all made with crap white flour and sugar and usually hydrogenated shortening and an alphabet soup of artificial flavors and additives as well, just to put the full chemical icing on the canned cake. The only exception is the canned rye and pumpernickel breads I had to import from Germany myself to stock the emergency pantry because no one here had the good stuff for sale.

    My research shows the same as yours though–all you need is an active water meter to use to test the recipes, and if you come up with one with 0.85 active water or below, even the FDA will bless you for canning it without high temperature processing at all, and botulism and its kin cease to be a worry at 0.90. One of those things the USDA and the extensions that don’t do stuff for us home food preservers any more could have done would have been to have given us a small selection of tested quick bread, muffin, and cake recipes that could be safely canned. (Goddess forbid we actually get anything out of them any more in exchange for our tax dollars, though–they’re too busy catering to the agribusiness lobbyists these days.)

    Unfortunately molding glass and molding plastic require completely different factories; we’d probably have more luck if we found someone still making glass items in this country, although I suppose it can’t hurt to ask the Tattler guy. He’d need to produce his own metal bands, too, though, since the glass would be too thick to use with standard bands. Since at the moment he’s going to be raking in sales by just slapping BPA-free all over the site, I’m not sure he’s going to be very motivated to work on a new product when the old one is finally selling after a couple of decades in obscurity.

    1. Canned bread? I’ve never heard of it. Does it come out like Boston Brown Bread? Wouldn’t storing ingredients and having backup cooking facilities be easier?

      1. You’re asking if it’d be more convenient to bake a loaf of bread from scratch than it would be to open a can and slice?

        1. No, I’m asking if it would be easier to store wheat and yeast and make bread when I want it, instead of making bread, canning it, and then opening the can. 🙂

          1. I should clarify, the idea of canned bread/muffins/cake is mainly for either convenience or emergency food (or both?) or possibly to have a taste of home with a long shelf life (imagine a soldier on deployment or a college student receiving canned bread from home).

          2. *smacks forehead* I just now realized your question. Sorry it took me so long.

            Canning bread is not extra work because it isn’t processed on the stovetop at all–you bake it inside the cans and then fit the lid while they’re still hot, and it seals as it cools. So you’re not baking bread, stuffing it into cans, and then processing, rather you place the dough inside the jars, bake in the oven, and then put lids on.

    2. Exactly. The three safety concerns I’m hearing for making your own recipes/canning just about anything are that it might not be acidic enough for safe BWB, that it might be too thick for heat to penetrate all the way through the can, and too much water activity. It isn’t just breads, either…I’d love to have personal assurance that I can make and can my own sweetened condensed milk, and of course when condensed enough and with the addition of the proper amount of sugar the water activity should get sufficiently low for BWB (pressure canning would scorch). Anyway, the first concern is easily solved with a pH meter, the second could theoretically be figured out at home through trial and error with the right temperature indicator strips (it’d be such a shame to make your own peanut butter but not be able to safely can it, since it has to be refrigerated otherwise) and the third concern could be alleviated by a water activity meter. With these three tools and the knowledge to use them properly it seems one could can practically everything with the confidence that they are not compromising safety in the slightest.

      I’m hopeful that some canning enthusiast somewhere will pick up on this, work it out in real life, and then start posting recipes for everyone else. 🙂 It’s time for a canning revolution! One where–gasp–people take responsibility for their own safety and rely on tools and skillful knowledge for assurance of safety rather than their government.

      BTW, I once had some home-canned bread made by my grandma before it was announced as unsafe. It tasted great, and I’m still here.

  32. You can make your own sweetened condensed milk from powdered whole milk made double strength and sugar if you don’t want to can it. I don’t use enough condensed milk to keep it around separately.

    If you’re only familiar with powdered skim milk, forget the barfola Carnation stuff in the supermarket and check your local Latin American food stores or the Mexican food section of WalMart for either Klim or Nido brands of instant powdered whole milk. If you can’t find it locally, best mail order price I’ve seen so far is here:
    Klim: http://search.store.yahoo.net/yhst-28464620869218/cgi-bin/nsearch?catalog=YHST-28464620869218&vwcatalog=YHST-28464620869218&query=Klim&x=10&y=5
    Nido: http://search.store.yahoo.net/yhst-28464620869218/cgi-bin/nsearch?unique=e591a&catalog=yhst-28464620869218
    The 3.52 pound can makes 17 quarts, and it just stirs into water and dissolves instantly, no big mixing project. The two brands were originally Nestle’s and Carnation’s, but they’re both owned by the same company now, so it makes no difference which you buy as long as you buy the actual Nido, not the Nido Kinder which is a formula milk for babies and infants. Both brands are very tasty, not at all your mother’s powdered milk.  

    1. I just don’t go for powdered milk, even whole powdered milk (yes, I’m familiar with it. 🙂 ) I’ve read things about how the spray drying of the milk results in oxidized cholesterol (oxysterol) and I’m just not a fan.

      I [i]want[/i] to can homemade sweetened condensed milk made with fresh wholesome goodness, but I’d prefer to do so with the assurance of safety, which would be easy with a water activity meter.

  33. From NCFHFP
    Can I can bread or cake in a jar?
    These products are not recommended for canning; choose recipes that you can freeze. In fact, most of these products are not really “canned.” The directions call for baking in the jar and then closing with a canning lid. Many recipes for quick breads and cakes are low-acid and have the potential for supporting the growth of a bacteria like Clostridium botulinum if it is present inside the closed jar. One university’s research showed a high potential for problems. You will see these products made commercially; however, additives, preservatives and processing controls not available for home recipes are used. Canning jar manufacturers also don’t endorse baking in their canning jars

  34. Cynthia, we are all aware of the HCFHFP recommendation against canning breads and cakes. The dirty little secret, though, is that all you need to do it safely is the ability to accurately measure the water activity of your product and adjust the recipe to keep that at a level that kills all microorganisms that are not destroyed at the maximum 212 F internal temperature that can be achieved by baking. The commercial canners have simply had the FDA approve their recipes as having acceptable water activity levels. It’s regrettable that there are no water activity meters available for the home canner at a remotely reasonable price. (The cheapest is about $1600, and it’s at least $2400 to $3600 for more accurate ones that allow you to have .01 to .02 higher water activity level in your recipe because they have a lesser error of measurement thand the .02 of the $1600 one.)

    For those not familiar with the concept of water activity versus processing requirements, the federal regulations are that any food with a pH under 4.6 _OR_ a water activity level under 0.85 can be canned without high temperature processing under pressure. It is not necessary to have both–just one or the other. It is possible to get a pH meter for your home canning at a less than totally exorbitant price. Alas, that is not true at this point for a water activity meter, and without an accurate water activity reading, you cannot be sure a canned bread or cake is safe.

  35. Okay, I understand you want to make your own. However, since adding well over a cup of sugar to a quart of milk that has been exposed to enough cooking to evaporate it down to half it’s volume and then to enough to can it safely is not exactly my definition of “fresh, wholesome goodness.”

    If cholesterol oxides are a serious concern to you, then you really should not be eating any cholesterol-containing products in canned form, since high-heat cooking is going to be as productive of them as spray drying.

    See the scientific article copied in English here:

    1. I’ll look into that.

      One difference is that if I make my own I can at least start with healthier milk.

      Another difference is that lecithin is often added to powdered milk–even though it isn’t listed as an ingredient–and I prefer to avoid that.

      But to be completely honest, no matter how much research I do, it boils down to the fact that I trust homemade processing a lot more than I trust factory processing.

  36. The bottom line is that the healthiest thing to eat is completely fresh, unprocessed food, preferably homegrown by organic methods. However, few of us can be assured of an uninterrupted supply of fresh, unprocessed food year round, which is why canning and other methods of food preservation came into being. It is way better to eat something fresh picked or killed than canned, generally nutritionally better to eat frozen than canned, and generally nutritionally better to eat dehydrated or freeze-dried than frozen. It’s better to eat any kind of preserved food, though, than to starve. 🙂

    Freezing requires an uninterrupted energy supply plus expensive freezers, and even bench-sized freeze-drying apparatus is outside the budget of most home food preservers. The practical methods for long-term shelf stable food storage for foods preserved at home are therefore still canning or dehydration. For purchased food storage, the best nutritional choice is freeze dried, although canned and/or aseptically packaged may be superior in taste for certain foods. Frozen foods are only a practical choice for a food reserve if you generate your own low-cost energy and are assured of being able to continue to generate it totally off grid in any emergency. At the very least, you need to be able to supply backup power to your freezers for a week of blackout if that is your food preservation method of choice.

    1. I actually disagree that fresh food is always the best. 🙂 Cooking makes food easier to digest and makes different nutrients available or in some cases binds anti-nutrients (broccoli is one example). Fermentation has a similar effect, breaking down anti-nutrients and making it more digestible. Aged meat is tastier and more tender, as the enzymes break down the connective tissue and I reason it has similar benefits as fermentation.

      But I get what you’re saying…..there’s no such thing as a free lunch. With every method you’re going to sacrifice in one way or another, whether nutritionally, plastic leeching, no preservation, expensive preservation, etc etc. It’s a complex world.

      1. By fresh I didn’t necessarily mean raw, just not preserved long-term by salting, drying, freezing, canning, etc. All methods of preserving food beyond it’s usual life span involve nutritional and adulteration tradeoffs. Even cooking does improve the availability of some nutrients, but also destroys others. You have to do a cost-benefit analysis for yourself for the various methods for the various items you’d like to store.

      2. Cooking food, while meritous in some forms, kills the life preserving enzymes.

        Without enzymes, disease is certain.

        So, if you are really interested in good health, eat less cooked foods, despite their seeming valuable claims, and eat as much raw food as possible (not raw meats; veggies, fruits, of course).

        Eat 75 to 80% raw and the balance cooked. If sick with disease, eat 85 to 90% raw until healed. And focus on enzyme rich foods (papaya, pineapple, avocado, etc.) and nutrient dense foods (Kale, Collard Greens, Spinich and Romaine lettuce–in order of foods highest in nutrients).

        Of course, organic raw food is what I am talking about here (ideally).

        Canning does kill enzymes, and that is not a good thing. But like was said, being enzyme deficient (from having eaten canned foods) is much preferable than dying of starvation. And, after all, the idea behind eating canned food is, it’s temporary. Once winter is gone, you grow the enzyme foods (raw food) again, and restore the enzymes your body has become depleted in. So, as always, there can be balance as long as fresh raw produce can eventually be produced again.

  37. For those who want the exact government regulations, this is the part of the FDA rules that applies to water activity level in foods:
    (Please note that water activity is a totally different thing than water content. Although the two are linearly related in a specific food, you cannot guess water activity simply from water content. Water activity measures available water and is influenced by salt, sugar, and other ingredients which bind water content so that it is not available for the growth of microorganisms. It is generally measured as the amount of water vapor released by the food item compared to that released by pure water under the same atmospheric conditions.)

    This is the section on FDA inspection rules for low-acid canned foods, rules which involve the food’s water activity level.

    Water activity is widely measured and used in certifying their processing methods by companies that can commercially. It is a concept totally unfamiliar to most home canners because they have not had access to the tools to measure it.

  38. @Citikit Not so – someone said there’s only been one tested food safe recipe for cake or bread in a jar – that’s why I responded. To my knowlege, there isn’t one. Just trying to help!

  39. The recipe in question is this one:
    It was developed and tested by a professional food scientist and is still safe if you do not alter _anything_ in the recipe when you make it.
    It is no longer posted at Penn State, and people are not pointed to it these days because of the concern that people will ignore that warning and decide to alter it just a little to suit themselves–without having the equipment to test whether that alteration changes the water activity, and therefore the safety.

    It’s not that breads and cakes can’t be canned safely, it’s that home canners are unlikely to have the equipment to check recipes to know if they’re safe for canning or not, and those who could develop tested recipes are afraid people won’t understand how critical it is to follow such a recipe absolutely precisely–including preferably weighing all ingredients rather than measuring them.

    It’s easier to just say you can’t do this.

    The same applies to thick purees such as pumpkin butter. Obviously, they actually can be canned safely because we can buy approved canned products. The issue is that the home canner has no way to verify temperature in the center of her jars for her particular batch.

    It easier to just say you shouldn’t can certain things.

    If you happen to have the necessary equipment, know how to use it, and understand the reasons for the experts saying you shouldn’t do it, then you could can bread and pumpkin puree just as safely as the commercial companies that sell them canned. That doesn’t mean, though, that you can just grab your favorite banana bread recipe, bake it in jars, put a lid on it, and have it be safe, or that a generic pumpkin butter recipe will produce a safe product using your pumpkin, your jars, and your canner. You should only try canning breads and cakes if you have a water activity meter, develop a recipe that meets the requirements for safe canning, and then double-check each batch you make. You should only can pumpkin puree if you can do it with a temperature read out for the coldest spot of your processed jars (which depends on the precise size and shape jar, and is only very rarely the center of the jar).

    As for baking things in jars, you want old jars that were made without recycled glass–the newer ones are indeed liable to have problems in an oven.

    Of course, you could get around that by buying a can sealer and baking in cans instead. But then you’d be back with that BPA problem unless you could get hold of some of the cans Ball produces for Eden foods with the alternate BPA-free liner. 🙂

  40. I spoke with Lehmans this morning. They say that their Bulk Canning Lids are BPA free. They say that they have an email from the manufacturer to this effect, but would not send me a copy of the email. So far, their web site does not mention it.

    They have had alot of discussion on this internally, and I think eventually they will change their web site if enough folks call them about it.

  41. Ok, I’ve been doing a bit of research. According to @chitikit formaldehyde is released from Tattlers made with POM but:

    “Both POM products started to degrade at approximately 250 degrees C, and, by 420 degrees C, both products had completely decomposed into their fundamental molecular structure, formaldehyde.”

    Notice that is centigrade not fahrenheit! That means that the POM does not start to degrade aka release formaldahyde until it reaches a temperature of 482ºF. So in this case there was a mistaken problem of interchanging celcius units for fahrenheit. Since no home canning application would ever reach 250ºC (482ºF) then the Tattler lids are more than safe for home canning purposes.

  42. You are confusing the temperature at which POM begins to suffer structural deterioration and breakdown into its chemical components with the FDA’s maximum safe temperature for its use in contact with food. BPA, too, does not begin to lose structural integrity and begin breakdown until temperatures much higher than those used in canning. However, at the usual canning and storage temperatures, it has been proven to leach endocrine disruptors into food.

    This is copied from the FDA regulations cited above for using the POM of which Tattlers are made in contact with foodstuffs:
    “(1) Poly oxy methylene copolymer in the
    finished form in which it is to contact food, when extracted with the
    solvent or solvents characterizing the type of food and under conditions
    of time and temperature as determined from tables 1 and 2 of Sec.
    175.300(d) of this chapter, shall yield net chloroform-soluble
    extractives not to exceed 0.5 milligram per square inch of food-contact
    (2) Polyoxymethylene copolymer with or without the optional
    substances described in paragraph (b) of this section, when ground or
    cut into particles that pass through a U.S.A. Standard Sieve No. 6 and
    that are retained on a U.S.A. Standard Sieve No. 10, shall yield total
    extractives as follows:
    (i) Not to exceed 0.20 percent by weight of the copolymer when
    extracted for 6 hours with distilled water at reflux temperature.
    (ii) Not to exceed 0.15 percent by weight of the copolymer when
    extracted for 6 hours with n-heptane at reflux temperature.
    (e) Conditions of use. (1) The polyoxymethylene copolymer is for use
    as articles or components of articles intended for repeated use.
    (2) Use temperature shall not exceed 250 [deg]F.

    The maximum safe temperature for POM’s use _in contact with food products_ is 250 degrees FAHRENHEIT per the FDA, which also lists the _acceptable_ amount of chemicals it can release per square inch of food contact surface when in contact with liquids typical of the food stored in it at temperatures typical of food preparation and storage. That number is well above zero, as it is going to have to be for any plastic in the world. They all leach chemicals into food. Zero tolerance for plastic contamination of food stored in it would mean zero use of plastic to store food–which is what I think we ought to have. YMMV (and indeed, it appears that it obviously does).

    We obviously have to agree to disagree here. You are very concerned about BPA leaching into your food, but not at all concerned at the various extractives of POM or the adulterants allowed in its manufacture leaching into your food. I, OTOH, see no reason to believe the chemicals leached by the one plastic are any safer than those leached by the other.

  43. I think it’s very interesting that Lehman’s won’t send you a copy of any documentation that their lids are BPA free. To the best of my knowledge, every canning lid made here and in Canada is made by the same company, and up until now that company has stated that they all contain BPA. If it is now making some that don’t, I would think it would be trumpeting that from the rooftops, as would any company with a supply of such lids to sell.

    Further, it’s my understanding that the FDA at this point does not approve any non-BPA-containing liner material for use with acid foodstuffs. That is why Eden has been unable to switch to BPA-free cans for its tomatoes, although it is using them for its beans and chilis. Therefore, the FDA would probably refuse to certify any BPA-free canning lids for sale at this point. At best, it would insist that such lids contain a warning label that they are not for use with any high-acid foodstuff.

    That leads me to think the person you spoke to at Lehman’s is either confused or being deliberately dishonest.

  44. No, I am concerned about any leaching not just BPA otherwise I would not be following this conversation. I’m looking for the safest alternative for home canning without the fear-mongering. I’ve found absolutely nothing to indicate the Tattler lids are unsafe for home canning. They definitely do not present an issue at BWB conditions and doubtful at normal PC conditions. So I am doing the responsible thing by researching further POM.

    Now let me ask you, since obviously you are interesting in home canning, what lids are you using? Anything other than glass? I’m curious.

  45. Well, I suppose there is a third possibility where Lehman’s is concerned. I suppose it’s just possible that they may have found and imported from some other country a supply of lids that happen to fit our canning jars, although they do not meet the FDA standards for sale here. In that case, they are not about to put anything on their website about their lids being BPA-free lest the FDA confiscate them and leave them looking at red ink on their balance sheet.

  46. I am just getting back to home canning in any quantity after many years lapse, and at this point, I have decided I will be trying out the Weck jars for pressure canning because, yes, I think glass lids are the only safe alternative currently out there, and I do think the objections to bail lids (the inability to validate a good seal) are valid–which leaves Weck as the only canning jars readily available that meet my requirements. That’s assuming extra clips and careful attention to headroom prevents any but an occasional sealing failure with the Weck jars in a pressure canner, which remains to be determined. I have a small supply of vintage Mason jars, only about 100, and old metal lids for them which may or may not have any BPA on them–possibly not, given they came out of my father’s old canning supplies and are all gold, but unless I can come up with some of those old glass plugs for Mason jars on eBay, I probably won’t be using any of my Mason jars for anything but vacuum storage of dried and freeze-dried foods that have no direct or water vapor contact with the lids to allow chemical leaching.

    I use no plastic storage containers in my kitchen or refrigerator, just glass. I buy no food in plastic jars or bottles if I can possibly find it packaged in BPA-free cans or glass instead, and I often can. (That means I have a lot more foreign than American brands in my kitchen these days, however, since the rest of the world is apparently much less enamored of plastic packaging than we are. Outside of any issues of chemicals leaching from plastic, that is probably because all plastics are semipermeable, and food in plastic bottles goes stale and rancid far sooner than food bottled in glass. The rest of the world is much more prone to keeping more than 3 days of food stored in their house than we are, and therefore apparently pays more attention to keeping quality.)

    Unfortunately, the best one can probably do is just cut down on the plastic contamination in one’s food these days unless you’re in the position of having a totally self-sufficient homestead furnished out of your grandmother’s attic. Plastic packaging is becoming ubiquitous, and it’s all suspect. If you want to use Mason jars, then at this point you get to choose between the partly-known hazards of the chemicals leaching off the standard one-use lids of the still to be quantified hazards of the chemicals that are going to leach from the multiple-use lids. I can understand opting for the multi-use lids, just not declaring that they’re obviously much safer than the single-use lids. As far as I can see, they’re likely no more or less poisonous, you’re just going to be ingesting small amounts of slightly different toxins from the two. It’s kind of like debating whether it’s better to be ingesting lead or mercury because it’s a given that you can’t avoid heavy metal contamination of some kind.

    The bottom line is that we aren’t being given any really good, affordable choices at the moment. I just hate to see people fixating on BPA because it’s in the news at the moment and overlooking the fact that the real problem is all plastics used to package food.

  47. Ok, let’s put this in perspective. You are ‘just’ getting back into canning? While you have done some research you are not in the thick of canning, are you by your own admission? I can between 1,200 and 1,400 jars of food each year. There is absolutely no way I could justify the expense to switch over to Weck jars not only in terms of cost but also storage concerns. It is commendable you use no plastic in your kitchen. Gosh, that really takes out a lot of appliances, storage and so much more. There comes a time where you need to be reasonable as far as risk verses reward. The Tattler lids do not present a problem from the available research when foods are home canned properly. The lids containing BPA do present an issue for all foods canned with them. So there is no trade off at all that I can find. The fact that you are anti-plastic is your opinion and only that. I’m anti-plastic as well but am not into fear mongering and I’m not American so has a much different perspective than others.

  48. You are completely correct that the expense for 1,200 or more Weck jars would be a killer in North America. That’s one of the reasons I said that we are being offered no really good alternatives at the moment. Someone really, really needs to put out reusable glass lids with rubber rings for Ball/Kerr/Mason jars.

    And yes, I didn’t do tons of canning when I was living by myself in a city apartment, mostly just some small batches of sauces, chutneys, jams, and jellies from excess out of the roof garden or a basket of stuff here and there from my parents’ place, which accounts for the hundred or so canning jars I do have in use now. Funny about that. OTOH, I’m over 60 and grew up with the kind of quantity canning you are now doing, and would like to get back to doing probably about a third of that quantity for myself, so I do understand the problem that the only halfway decent canning jar currently available is apparently affordable in Europe, but not here.

    As far as appliances and kitchen storage being a huge problem for me because I avoid plastics whenever possible….ummm, no, not at all. My Scots great-gran’s cast iron meat grinder is still going strong. My Dutch grandmother’s coffee grinder is still grinding, as is my own brass Turkish coffee grinder. I bought my blender back when they were made with glass jars, a waffle iron before they invented Teflon, and a metal grain grinder at the same time, had the good sense to keep all my grandmother’s lovely glass refrigerator containers with the glass lids, supplemented with some all-stainless-steel lidded Japanese shallow rectangular pans in nested sizes from 12×18 down to 3×5 and stackable circular dishes I saw for cheap in a Japanese grocery back in my youth. They’ve outlasted dozens of sets of plastic containers in my friends’ kitchens. Also kept all my gran’s old glass kitchen canisters with the screw-on tin lids as well as a lot of old green glass bail-style canning jars in all sizes for pantry and refrigerator storage, lots of tin boxes for crackers, cookies, etc., and have a bunch of those ceramic-plug Grolsch beer bottles for liquids and oils plus some big glass and ceramic crocks. I still have a working 1940s all-metal toaster, a good mixer that is all steel (well except for the optional copper bowl for egg whites), a metal mandoline for slicing and dicing, make my coffee with a lined copper briki, a stainless stovetop espresso/cappucino maker, a stainless Vietnamese phin, or a china Melitta pot, and my tea in a china pot or with a metal mesh filter. The tea kettle is obviously metal. I do have a microwave/convection oven, primarily for the convection because my apartment oven was very small, and if I microwave something, I use glass/pyrex, not plastic. So what the heck else do I need in storage or appliances that would force me to go buy a bunch of plastic? I’m not into a bunch of electric gizmos for cooking wit In fact, if the electric toaster, waffle iron, and blender die before I do, I’ll probably just go back to using the wire contraption that leans the bread over a stove burner, the stove top waffle maker, and put recycle the glass blender jar onto a hand crank base rather than buy a made-in-China piece of plastic crap that will die in a couple of years. The Germans and Dutch side of my family were all thrifty, the Scots were somewhere way past that, and we never threw things out in my family. My younger brother has the blanket chest built on the family farm with hand forged nails back in the early 1700s. The oldest thing I’ve got in that line is just a sewing table from the early 1800s built by her slaves for one of my Southern great-great-grandmothers. My other brother has the wooden-works Eli Terry clock from the farm kitchen, built during the metal embargo era of the war of 1812. He likes to tinker with clocks, and is the only one of us really equipped to keep it running–which it still is, 200 years after someone bought it from the peddler.

    I think I’m perfectly reasonable as to risk versus reward. I eat a lot of fresh food and buy everything in glass or at least BPA-free metal that I can. I live with the lids and linings of what I can’t find alternatives for, although I give finding an alternative a good shot first. However, if I’m going to go to the trouble of canning my own foods to avoid the crap in commercial food, why would I want to do it using any kind of plastic in the lids?

    As far as my being guilty of fear-mongering, I find getting into a tizzy over just BPA while ignoring all the other plastics leaching chemicals into your food to be foolish. You see the Tattler lids as somehow a much safer alternative, so by all means use them; they’re obviously a solution you’re happy with. To me, though, they’re just the same song, different verse. Outside of their resusability, I see nothing more appealing about them than the standard metal lids with the plastic lining.

    As I said, we shall simply have to agree to disagree about the greater safety of canning with Tattlers over standard Bar/Kerr lids, and I’m certainly not interested in getting into some kind of pissing contest with you over who knows more about canning; I was simply researching the current options for expanding my own inventory of canning jars, which is how I came across this blog. My conclusion, as I said before, is that there are no really good options. I came across the Tattlers earlier in my research, but they were plastic, which didn’t really appeal. I did some brief investigating, linked above, which confirmed me in that opinion. For now, I’m going to try a dozen or so Weck jars for myself and see how it goes. If they work well for me pressure canning, I guess I’ll contact the gal who ships me my bread from Germany and see if there’s any way to get a better deal if I import a case of them myself. She runs a business arranging shipping overseas for things that are hard to find outside of Germany, so maybe she can check that out for me. Maybe in the next year or so, there will be a more appealing alternative to the current Mason lids, in which case the worst-case scenario is that I’ll have bought a couple of dozen really pretty jars that only work really well for water bath canning.

    Wood and glass and metal are not only safer than plastic, they give you a much better return on investment as they last and last and last.

  49. Ackerrj, that makes sense. At this point in the BPA tizzy, anyone who actually had BPA-free lid lining on lids that could be legally sold here would be trumpeting it all over the place. (Which of course wouldn’t necessarily mean the option they had was actually better for you, depending, but all most people are going to care about is that “BPA-free,” so they would advertise that just as the Tattler guy now does.)

  50. I’d like to comment on plastic and food in general, and I hope people will listen because this is an important point.

    Ready for it?

    Plastic makes me physically ill.

    Different kinds and compositions have different effects. I can eat fresh caught salmon just fine, but canned salmon gives me a headache after only a few bites. Canned sardines of the same company also gave me a headache after the first few bites.

    I fill up glass bottles with water, but storage in the refrigerator upright for a week (the cold should slow any leeching) still leeches enough chemicals from the seal in the cap to make the entire bottle of water taste horrible to me. If I force myself to drink it anyway, I gradually become more and more nauseous until I vomit. Vinegar lids seem to be made of a harder seal and do not have this problem. Hard plastic lids with no seal also seem to be okay, though those tend to be only on jars.

    Home canned foods with regular ball lids have a similar problem for me. The top third or so of the food tastes so strongly of rubbery plastic that I gag on the first bite and feel extremely nauseous. This isn’t me trying to be picky–I despise wasting food–but only the bottom two thirds of the jar is edible for me if I want to keep it down. I have tried so many times to just force my way through it and have finally accepted that this is the way things are.

    Want another example? I keep organic candied ginger on hand to deal with nausea. I figured I’d put a few chunks in a plastic baggie so I could carry some with me in my purse. The other day I decided to “rotate” my store to keep it fresh, and though it tasted old and was hard to get down I convinced myself that it should be perfectly fine. There was no nausea, but lets just say it resulted in an intense but thankfully temporary crisis concerning the other end.

    These reactions are not allergies; antihistamines have no effect on them. I have a disease called Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, which renders my body incapable of handling even very low doses of toxins that healthy people’s bodies can handle without a problem. For this reason those with MCS are considered “canaries in the coal mine” concerning the toxicity of the times. Of course, people often prefer to write us off as crazy instead of listening.

    I’m not against people using plastic. I understand that there are a multitude of factors that weigh into the decision of using plastic vs. another material for the job, and people generally have good reasons for choosing what they choose. What I am against is misinformation, the idea that “safe” plastics are completely safe, that BPA is the only concern out there, and that as long as you don’t microwave in plastic you’re good. While your body may not be able to detect these things leeching into the food, mine can and trust me this stuff is not beneficial.

    You’re right; it’s a huge inconvenience and expense to package all food in glass instead of plastic. Some of us don’t have a choice.


      While I don’t have MCS, I was going to mention that “some” people are more sensitive than others. I loved your example of “canaries in the coal mine”. No I know you are not crazy.

      The fact is, there are those of us (very sensitive) that we should all thank. For if it weren’t so, we’d know a lot less of these things.

      True, overly sensitive people, rarely relate at all to the masses. I, for example, must watch what I eat all the time, or I suffer.

      Now to put this all into perspective. I have found that what I “believe” is also a contributing factor (about what I consume). But make no mistake here, I am certainly more sensitive than say the average Joe. It is this increased (apparently) sensitivity that has led me to research so extensively (perhaps like some of you) on issues of toxicity, how to avoid it, how to rid it, and how to cope with it if exposed.

      Bottom line? Toxicity affect ALL. Not just the highly sensitive either. If it didn’t, we’d all live much longer and have bodies at old ages without disease. So just because toxicity is less apparent, say in so and so, does not hold a candle to evidence until they are 70 plus years old. Get back to me when they are that age, and if they are spry, clear minded, have no degenerative “old age diseases” then I would agree their tolerance and ability to handle toxic agents is yes, very high. And that is wonderful.

      But for those less capable, a tough offense makes for a great defense and that’s were learning, making improved decisions and taking a stand against toxin is, in my book, totally appropriate.

      My goal is to live to a very old age, and to arrive at such place disease free. I have a few acquaintances who have done just that, and I can ascert that staying active and eating only fresh “toxic free food” are the significant contributing factors to these folks.

      Hoorah–to foods eaten and stored toxic free!~!

  51. You are indeed the canary in the coal mine, and you have all my sympathy.

    There’s a lot of genetic variation in all species. Some people can smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day for 60 or 70 years without getting lung cancer. But if you’re 20, statistics say that it’s not a good idea to bet you’ll be one of them. All plastics leech chemicals. It’s not a good idea to try to guess what will turn out to be the problems associated with any particular one after decades of general use give the canaries for that particular plastic time to be identified, or to try to guess whether you will or won’t eventually turn out to be a canary yourself.

  52. I have a question for the room:

    Does anyone know if the rubber rings that Tattler sells will work with the old glass canning lids on standard Mason jars?

    Because that could solve a lot of problems for many of us. 🙂

  53. @ mariastahl, I contacted Tattler (info@reusablecanninglids.com) about using their rubber rings (gaskets) with vintage glass lids. Here is their emailed response:

    We have received communication from people who have tried to use our rings with the old style glass lids. Unfortunately they report the rings do not fit properly and will not work. Sorry.

  54. Comment for the room:

    If anyone has discovered a particular make of vintage glass lids which do work well with Tattler’s rubber rings, please share your findings.

  55. @Gary, I have a couple of brands of the vintage glass inserts with rubber rings and I have Tattlers. The Tattler rubber rings are thinner and have a larger inside diameter than the vintage rubber rings so they won’t fit properly on any brand I tried them on. You can still find the older rubber rings online as well as antique/resale stores, estate sales and auctions but it takes a bit more work to track them down.

    1. @ Mom’s Cafe, not ever having used vintage rubber rings for canning, I’d be suspect that their age would result in issues with seal failure. How frequently do you use NOS (New Old Stock) seals and what’s been the success/failure ratio?

  56. FWIW,

    The 250 degrees at which formaldehyde would be realesed from the tattler lids is 250C, which is 482F….how is it so many people overlooked that very important measurement.

  57. Okay, so I’m new to canning, and I’m trying to decide what the best lid options are for me (Weck jars are too expensive to be an option for me). My concern about the Tattler lids would be, that even though formaldehyde isn’t released at canning temperatures when first used, would reusing them over and over, cause them to start releasing formaldehyde at lower and lower temperatures?

    1. Hi, Rachel. I don’t know the answer to your question for sure, but I think not. Offgassing at a particular temperature is different than particles of material leaching into your food from wear (the way re-using plastic food storage containers supposedly does).

      If you’re just getting into canning, I’d suggest just using disposable lids this year. You’ll reduce the surface area of the food exposed to BPA by 90% or more, and the food only touches the lid for the few minutes it’s at a rolling boil in the canner – and that only if the jar is a bit over-full, I’m thinking. The disposable lids are also cheap and give the most reliable seal. Use them this year, and decide if you’re going to continue canning – and then next year, get your Tattler lids. They aren’t hard to use, and once you’re used to them, they give as reliable a seal as disposables, but using them is just one more thing to deal with and pay for.

  58. Hi Emily!
    Thanks – that makes sense.
    I might be new to canning but I won’t let that stop me! 😉
    I’m planning on canning a lot this year (we’re a big family (8), a lot of mouths to feed) and really wanted reusable lids, so I decided to just buy the Tattler lids since we have the money to right now – not sure we will next year. I bought a lot of canning jars, and by a lot I mean 500 (and that’s just to start, I plan on buying more as I go along). They were cheapest at my local grocery store and they ordered them in for me from so I didn’t have to pay shipping, and I’ve ordered the Tattler lids for future use. Now I’m praying for a very ‘green thumb’ and an awesome harvest from my garden and the local farmer’s market!

  59. Hi. If i just want to store my homemade baby food in jars in freezer. Can I replace bpa lids with aluminum foil and it be safe?

    1. I personally don’t think either poses a risk, because the lids and food won’t touch at all in the freezer. When you can, the hot food boils up and touches the lid, so there is more risk there. BUT! I am not a scientist, and I don’t know what your own personal risk tolerance is. Nothing is 100% risk-free. Gather your data and make your own decisions.

  60. Hi everyone, apologies if someone already brought this up, typing from my phone and cant do a thorough search, but from my research bormioli rocco quattro stagioni lids are bpa free. Expensive but bpa free. Also I believe Leifheit lids are too.

  61. actually upon further googling have found posts from people who have contacted Leifheit and been told they are not bpa free. Looks like Quattro stagioni are the only metal bpa free lid solution for now.

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