Harvest Guard Reusable Canning Lids
What’s In Your Canner?
Here we are, smack dab in the middle of canning season, so now is a great time to discuss canning lids.
If you’re a homemaker, homesteader, prepper, or anyone who values sustainable ways to preserve your food, you’re probably canning something this Fall. Canning is convenient, albeit a lot of work. It can also get expensive.
Cost of Canning Supplies Rising
There is plenty of upfront cost for canning supplies, but after that, you’re good to go, with the exception of the canning jar lids. Most of the time, modern canners use standard metal lids and bands. The bands are reusable forever, as long as they don’t rust or bend, but the lids must be replaced.
Wear and tear, plus the way the seal on the metal lids is designed can make them unreliable for reuse. Some people are very careful with their metal lids, and find that they indeed can reuse them. Ours often end up a little bit bent, no matter how careful we try to be.
Buying those lids does add up. Before 2020, I remember the lids costing pennies apiece. It was a relatively small price to pay, and the jars also could be found for less than ten dollars per dozen.
Times, They are A-Changing!
With the shortage of the 2020-2021 canning season (or even the perceived shortage) prices skyrocketed on canning and sustainable supplies. Suddenly, a box of canning lids had doubled, tripled, and more.
A More Sustainable Option
For us, the shortage and increased price led to some thoughtful decisions.
- We could buy lids in bulk (we did, and noticed that the quality seemed less reliable on the cheaper lids)
- Look for reusable lids
We did both. We tried to sock a few lids away for a rainy day, but it’s kind of like scrambling to get umbrellas during the storm. You get taken advantage of.
Enter Harvest Guard Reusable Canning Lids
I did quite a bit of research.
Admittedly, long ago, the thought of a fiddly two piece lid held no appeal. The cost was ten times the metal lids, and not many places sold them. (Yoder’s did). I did not wish to learn the skill of something new. Canning is hard enough.
Skip to 2020-2021, and my thoughts changed. Price, the realization that the supply chain was failing us, and people were selling canning jars on the black market–well, almost–these things caused a shift.
I began to look as reusable lids as something very practical.
There are two main companies selling reusable canning lids.
To me, both companies seem very good, almost alike. From researching, I discovered that Tattler was the original, and Harvest Guard broke off from it at some point. I think it may even be the same family.
The Selling Point
I chose Harvest Guard Reusable Canning Lids mainly for something very small–the laminated instruction sheet.
Sounds crazy, but I knew that I’d need that sheet, and I liked the idea of it being wipe-off ready.
I read many reviews, watched hours of video, and made my decision.
Just a Few, Please
We tried a small box of the Harvest Guard Reusable Canning Lids at first. I played around with them, and last Fall, when they ran a sale, I purchased more. We don’t have enough to cover all of our canning, but we have enough for a backup.
The Harvest Guard Reusable Canning Lids can be used 6-10 times. I’ve heard up to 6, and then up to 10. I think it depends on how they’re treated. That suddenly makes the cost of investing in them more manageable.
You can obtain Harvest Guard Reusable Canning Lids directly from the Harvest Guard website, or thru Amazon.com. The price is the same, last I checked.
Sizes of Harvest Guard Reusable Canning Lids
My Harvest Guard Reusable Canning Lids are all white, but the company has recently added RED and GREEN options. I wanted RED, but they seem to sell out quickly. My sole reason to get red was so that the tomatoes didn’t stain the white lids. Colors could be fun in your canning pantry!
Using Harvest Guard Reusable Canning Lids
I will be honest. It has taken me a bit to master these lids. They are different from metal lids. The center doesn’t pop up if unsealed, so it’s a little tricky, but not impossible.
The way to test the seal is by picking up the jar, once fully cooled, by the lid. This is scary. If the lid can support the weight of the jar, it’s sealed.
I did a recent video at YouTube on using the lids and some of the quirks. I’ve learned more since then, but watch the video if you want to see some of the learning points, especially for beginners. Using Harvest Guard Reusable Canning Lids
A Learning Curve
I found that I was getting more seal failures with the Harvest Guard lids than my metal lids. This was frustrating, because canning is so time-consuming and you don’t want to have a failed seal.
Recently, I discovered some of my mistakes. These Harvest Guard Reusable Canning Lids have to be handled differently than metal lids. The tightening process is different, as well as the after-canning treatment.
The Harvest Guard company sends an instructional sheet (that laminated one) in every box. Read that thoroughly, even if you’ve been canning for years!
Here are some of the tips I’ve learned
- Proper head space (that’s obvious, but important)
- Soak the seals in hot water, and add a Tbs of vinegar if your water is hard.
- Tightening of the Harvest Guard lids is less. Hold one finger on the lid, and only tighten until the jar slightly begins to turn. It won’t be as tight as you’re used to.
- When you remove the jars from the canner, THEN tighten those bands snug.
- Don’t tighten any that appear domed–they were applied too tight to begin with and won’t seal. Tightening could cause too much pressure, and lead to burns.
- When completely cooled, test the seal by picking up the jars BY THE LIDS. If they hold, they’re good.
Learning from Mistakes
With my jars that have failed, I do believe that I tightened them too tightly initially. It’s counterintuitive, but that leads to not sealing because of the pressure that builds. These lids flex less than metal, and they don’t allow steam to escape if too tight.
Harvest Guard recommends practicing with the lids by canning water until you master the technique. I have not tried this.
This video is super helpful, and is provided from Harvest Guard to give some good tips on using the Harvest Guard Reusable Canning Lids.
New Important Information
While researching the reusable canning lids, I came across some information for people who have purchased the Harvest Guard Reusable Canning lids between 2020 and 2021. Apparently, there was such an increased demand for the reusable lids, that the company contracted with another company to make the seals in bulk. Somehow, instead of making reusable seals, they manufactured an abundance of one-time use seals, and those got shipped out as usual.
Contact Harvest Guard
Harvest Guard has offered to make this right, so if you received bright red seals, those are the single-use seals. The reusable seals are pinkish, and look more like traditional red rubber.
I found that my first box of Harvest Guard Reusable Canning Lids was indeed the bright red. My second box was the pink. I contacted the company, and they immediately made it right. I have every confidence in the integrity of this company.
I hope that this article has helped you to consider Harvest Guard Reusable Canning Lids as a sustainable option for your canning needs. Whether as a backup or your main lid source, I think you will be satisfied with the reusable canning lids.
In my video, I was still working through the kinks with the lids. Also, I was using the single use seals, and some had been used previously. Since learning about the tips and considerations, I now am more confident in the predictability of the seal. It definitely is a learning curve!
Preserve that harvest, and happy canning!