I find this all a bit disconcerting . . the procedures that have worked perfectly for so many years have now changed. According to Ball/Jarden, we are no longer supposed to boil our canning lids before using them. Worse seems to be that at Jarden, the left hand isn’t quite sure what the right hand is doing. From recent dealings with them on some defective jars, to the new lid procedure, as a canner, I’m not feeling real confident with them, especially with them having such a huge market share of the canning industry. It seems to me that with years and years of being told to boil lids, and now boiling lids isn’t the thing to do, there should have been some big press release. Instead, the information has come through it bits and pieces and has changed at least once since the new lids have been released. Below are photos, front and back, from two boxes of lids currently in my kitchen.
The first box indicates it is “BPA Free”, which should mean it is one of the newer packages.
But on the back, it still indicates to boil the lids.
The box shown below does not state that it is BPA Free but it has the American flag on the box and it says “Made in USA” so I’m supposed to know that it’s BPA Free. Honestly, since we don’t know what they used to replace the BPA, and since generations have been using lids that did contain BPA, I don’t know that I feel any better with BPA Free lids or not.
Even though the change in boiling instructions is supposed to have nothing to do with being BPA Free, this box does not say “DO NOT BOIL”, but simply says wash and set aside.
Theresa Loe has a great post here about the new lid procedures.
For quite some while I’ve been microwaving a big cup of hot water . . not even to boiling, and sticking my lids in there before using them. It seems that I always had both my front burners, which are my big daddy burners, going and sticking a small put of jar lids on the back burner, then reaching over the big pots in front to get to the lids in the little pot in the back always resulted in at least one skin burn so I decided I’d just use the hot water in a cup method and so far . . we’re still alive.
Re-using lids is not recommended and I don’t do it. Lids are inexpensive enough that I just don’t want to take a chance with it but with this new “do not boil”, I would definitely recommend against re-using lids. They’ve already gone through a water bath process, boiling for 10 minutes or more, or they’ve gone through a pressure canning process. Please don’t take a chance on re-using lids!
Honestly, how many experienced canners read the instructions on the back of a box of lids, when they’ve gone through hundreds, if not thousands of boxes of lids during their lifetime? And if you did read that, would you say “Oh, I’m not supposed to be boiling these lids any more?” I doubt I would!
I thought the boiling was to get the rubber part hot so it would stick to the jar? If you don’t boil, how does that work?
Judy L. says
I don’t think the rubber is to stick to the jar but is more like a gasket assuring a tight seal after the canning process.
I lost 7 jars of squash due to lid failure. I wonder if it was because of boiling lids that are not supposed to be boiled. It was a canner full and they seemed to be sealed but all spoiled about a couple weeks later. I did everything I normally do. I have heard of 2more people who have lost food canned with ball jars and lids.
Judy L. says
You surely have to wonder.
I came upon this information on facebook a few weeks ago. I agree with everything you said. It seems there would be a big announcement or a sticker on the lids boxes to inform you. I never even glance at directions on a box of lids. Who would when you have used them for years and use hundreds every year? I wonder why the change?
Julie Huffman says
Wow, I never even look at the back of the lid boxes. Last year I did buy a new canning book but my procedure has always been to put the lids in a dish and cover with boiling water just before using them and then get them out with the magnet grabber. I thought this was for sterilizing not so the rubber would stick. This is very interesting. I only had one lid failure out of about 100 jars this year and that was from an old box of lids.
Lee Ann Hansen says
They mentioned this on Ravelry in one of the canning groups. On the new lids the sealant ring is thinner and boiling them before use makes it even thinner so there is not enough sealant to seat the lip of the jar into and your jars won’t seal properly. I’m wondering if even regular canning procedures will make the seal less secure over time.
Is this progress? I like the idea of ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. It had worked for years so why change it? Probably saved .00000001 cent for making the rubber thinner.
Linda in NE says
I never did boil the lids. Just poured boiling water over them & let them sit a bit before using. Don’t remember my mother or grandmother ever boiling them either & it’s never hurt any of us. Guess I’ll just keep on doing what I’ve always done.
I just went and checked my boxes of lids…mine still say to simmer until ready to use. I’m like everyone else, I’ve been canning so long, I don’t read the lid box. Who would have thought…it’s nice to know, though.
I’ve never really boiled my lids… I have one of those little rice steamer/cookers and I just put water in that and turn it on until the water is hot and then switch it to warm and pop my lids in there. They stay hot but not boiled or even simmering.
One less thing on the stove is a good thing!
i’ve only been canning about 8 years and learned from a friend so never did read the box. i was told to bring the water just to a boil and tirn it off, then put the lids in so that the rubber didn’t boil but did soften a bit for a good seal. the only time i’ve had a fail was when a tomato seed wedged under the seal, and it doesn’t happen often.
Could it be the that the new lids have some ingredients that do not hold up to boiling? Just like some PVC pipes are not to have boiling water poured down them.
It’s confusing for me too. Growing up on a Bluegrass farm, we canned everything and no one ever got sick ever. Now I get so worried I can become afraid to can some things at all.
Karen langseth says
I have never boiled mine….or my mother before me.