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Buckled Canning Lids That Won't Seal; Causes and What to do

Buckled Canning Lids That Won't Seal

Buckled Canning LidsAs if COVID and supply chain problems aren't enough, site visitors are sending us photos and reports of canning lids buckling (see photo at right) and causing problems sealing.

The most common cause of buckled canning lids

The most common underlying cause (right now) is using cheap, counterfeit lids; probably from China.

These lids are obviously either made too thin or of cheap metals.

They are noticeably thinner and usually have no markings on them.

The solution:

Stick to reliable brands from reliable sources.

That means either getting Ball lids or Kerr lids from a reputable source, or knowing which generics are made well. There are some good generics, this one has always worked well for me.

Other causes of buckled lids

There ARE other causes, so if you are using quality lids, check that you are not:

  • Tightening the screw bands too tight. Just  tighten the screw band with your fingers and thumb until just snug. If you put them on too tight, as the jars and their contents heat up they expand, and some of the air in the headspace must be able to escape.
  • Filling the jars too full. Each recipe tells you how much headspace to leave for each size jar.  Usually this is about 3/8 inch.
  • Not pre-heating the lids. The usual method is to keep the lids in a pan of very warm (just a few wisps of steam coming off, not actually boiling) while you are filling the jars.
  • Using the raw pack method for starchy vegetables. - Starchy vegetables, like potatoes, can be problematic in the raw back.  Preheating the veggies before filling the jars (called a Hot Pack method) helps to reduce entrained air which expands and causes jars to break or lids to buckle.
  •  Using non-standard jars that do not fit the lids. Trying to save money by using mayonnaise jars, which have a rim that is not the standard canning jar size, means the lids will not fit properly and the pressures cause them to buckle.

Causes specific to pressure canning

These are GOOD
inexpensive canning lids

If you are using a pressure canner, also consider these possible causes of buckled lids:

  • A leaking pressure canner - If steam is coming out of the pressure canner (aside from where it should be, under the toggler weight), that indicates the canner is not reaching and holding the proper pressure.
  •  Cooling the pressure canner with water or cool air - Trying to rush the cooling process by running water over the canner or setting in cold air, will cause too rapid cooling which can result in jars breaking, buckled lids and loss of liquid.
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Can you still eat the food in a buckled jar?

The Washington State University Extension Service says:

If the food was processed correctly and the lids remain sealed, then even if the lids buckle, the safety of the home canned food will not be affected.

I'd be careful about that, though. Best to keep any jars with buckled in the fridge until they are used.

 

Here's what one real Ball lid looks like -->

They do have other styles, some are gold, solve silver or platinum colored and wording may be different, but they always the script Ball as shown in the photo -->

 

Genuine Ball canning lid (silver)Recommended lids and where to get them:

This page has many options.

Here are a few; a genuine Ball lid, a GOOD generic lid and Tattler reusable lids:

 

 

Tattler Reusable Canning Lids

 
Reusable canning lids

Tattler Reusable Canning Lids

Now there is a safe, economical reusable, canning lidBPA-free and reusable.

These are the Tattler brand re-usable canning lids that you may have already heard about

I have personally tested these myself for the past 6 years. They are every bit as effective and reliable as the disposable metal lids. And safer - they cannot corrode and have no lacquers nor BPA.

I have no connection to the company; I'm selling them here because I believe they are a good, safe, reusable lid!


The Presto Pressure
canners are out
of stock, but Tfal's
are available!


Above is the
2020 version of
the Ball Blue Book