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How Many Times Can You Reuse Canning Jars

Pickled vegetables canned and sold at the farm shop

Photo: VW Photos / Getty Images

If you’ve decided you want to get started with canning your fruits and vegetables, it’s time to get your supplies ready. The inspiration for your canning venture obviously begins with a bounty of beautiful products, which can be enjoyed for months to come when stored correctly. However, even if the products are fresh, it is worth considering what equipment can be recycled.

What if you have some jar lids lying around from a past canning project? Can you use them again?

A beginner’s guide to canning and preserving

Jar, lid and band
annick vanderschelden photography/Getty Images


Can you reuse canning lids?

If you have canning lids from a previous canning project, they are not safe to reuse. Canning lids are designed for be used only once.

Reusing jar lids can cause jars to not seal properly, and jars that aren’t sealed properly aren’t safe to eat.

The lids are designed to have a sealing compound around the rim to help them create an airtight seal during the canning process. This material is made for one-time canning. Bottom line: Reusing lids that have already been used in canning will result in jars being sealed improperly, which will compromise the safety of the food in the jars.


Where to buy canning lids

The good news is canning lids aren’t hard to find. The products needed for canning are available at most stores that sell kitchen supplies and products. You can find canning supplies at stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Walmart, Michael’s, hardware stores, and delivery from Amazon. It depends on the store and its sales inventory how the lids and jars are sold. They can be sold individually or in bulk; some stores will offer jars and lids sold separately.

Making pickles
Richard Carson/Getty Images


Are buckle lids safe?

Sometimes the lids of the jars bend during the canning process. What does it mean?

Warpable lids are quite common when canning. It may indicate that the jars have not been filled properly or properly tightened. Unfortunately, this will most likely mean that the vacuum seal will not adhere or will come loose during storage. A buckle lid is easy to identify, as it won’t look flat.

The problem occurs in the “headspace” of the jar; this is the space between the bottom surface of the lid and the top of the food in the jar. If the lids are too tight, air gets trapped in this space and is forced out of the jar. The air can’t escape easily, so it creates a force that causes the lid to buckle and warp.

Warping can also be the result of trying to cool the jars too fast. If the cooling process is sped up by handling, it can cause the jars to crack or crack, eventually leading to a liquid leak and warped lids.


Need to sterilize canning lids?

Since the early 1970s, there is no need to heat or sterilize canning lids. Jar lids don’t need to be sterilized and can be used safely at room temperature. Keep in mind that it’s still advisable to heat mason jars before filling them.

What is salt for canning?

Rows of pickling jars drying upside down on a table
Akchamczuk/Getty Images


How long should I boil canning lids?

Past guidelines for canning fruits and vegetables recommended dropping lids into hot, boiling water before taking them out to pair with sterilized jars.

Traditionally it was recommended to place the lids flat in a saucepan and cover them with water for about five minutes before you were ready to work with them. Next, bring the water to a boil over medium heat but not to a boil; reduce the heat and keep the lids warm until you’re ready to use them. But again, you don’t need to sterilize the lids with boiling water—a simple wash with warm soapy water will do.

How to store pickles, jams and chutneys

The most important part of the canning process is creating the seal between the lid and the jar. The idea is to “block” the freshness of the products. A few inexpensive items and simple steps are all you need to get started on your canning journey—just make sure you start with fresh lids!


If you’ve decided you want to get started with canning your fruits and vegetables, it’s time to get your supplies ready. The inspiration for your canning venture obviously begins with a bounty of beautiful products, which can be enjoyed for months to come when stored correctly. However, even if the products are fresh, it is worth considering what equipment can be recycled.

What if you have some jar lids lying around from a past canning project? Can you use them again?

A beginner’s guide to canning and preserving

Jar, lid and band
annick vanderschelden photography/Getty Images


Can you reuse canning lids?

If you have canning lids from a previous canning project, they are not safe to reuse. Canning lids are designed for be used only once.

Reusing jar lids can cause jars to not seal properly, and jars that aren’t sealed properly aren’t safe to eat.

The lids are designed to have a sealing compound around the rim to help them create an airtight seal during the canning process. This material is made for one-time canning. Bottom line: Reusing lids that have already been used in canning will result in jars being sealed improperly, which will compromise the safety of the food in the jars.


Where to buy canning lids

The good news is canning lids aren’t hard to find. The products needed for canning are available at most stores that sell kitchen supplies and products. You can find canning supplies at stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Walmart, Michael’s, hardware stores, and delivery from Amazon. It depends on the store and its sales inventory how the lids and jars are sold. They can be sold individually or in bulk; some stores will offer jars and lids sold separately.

Making pickles
Richard Carson/Getty Images


Are buckle lids safe?

Sometimes the lids of the jars bend during the canning process. What does it mean?

Warpable lids are quite common when canning. It may indicate that the jars have not been filled properly or properly tightened. Unfortunately, this will most likely mean that the vacuum seal will not adhere or will come loose during storage. A buckle lid is easy to identify, as it won’t look flat.

The problem occurs in the “headspace” of the jar; this is the space between the bottom surface of the lid and the top of the food in the jar. If the lids are too tight, air gets trapped in this space and is forced out of the jar. The air can’t escape easily, so it creates a force that causes the lid to buckle and warp.

Warping can also be the result of trying to cool the jars too fast. If the cooling process is sped up by handling, it can cause the jars to crack or crack, eventually leading to a liquid leak and warped lids.


Need to sterilize canning lids?

Since the early 1970s, there is no need to heat or sterilize canning lids. Jar lids don’t need to be sterilized and can be used safely at room temperature. Keep in mind that it’s still advisable to heat mason jars before filling them.

What is salt for canning?

Rows of pickling jars drying upside down on a table
Akchamczuk/Getty Images


How long should I boil canning lids?

Past guidelines for canning fruits and vegetables recommended dropping lids into hot, boiling water before taking them out to pair with sterilized jars.

Traditionally it was recommended to place the lids flat in a saucepan and cover them with water for about five minutes before you were ready to work with them. Next, bring the water to a boil over medium heat but not to a boil; reduce the heat and keep the lids warm until you’re ready to use them. But again, you don’t need to sterilize the lids with boiling water—a simple wash with warm soapy water will do.

How to store pickles, jams and chutneys

The most important part of the canning process is creating the seal between the lid and the jar. The idea is to “block” the freshness of the products. A few inexpensive items and simple steps are all you need to get started on your canning journey—just make sure you start with fresh lids!


Video about How Many Times Can You Reuse Canning Jars

Should You Re-Use Canning Lids (Flats)?

#canning #canninglidshortage

With the recent, and ongoing, canning lid shortage, some may wonder if it’s safe to reuse their lids. I share my opinion and experience in the video for a successful season of homestead canning.

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