When canning, jars can be used over and over until they chip or break. The canner, especially the All American, should be good forever. The gauge on any canner can be off and, in theory, should be checked annually but it’s very hard to find a place that will check them. That’s one reason I like the All American, it has the gauge and the jiggler, which shouldn’t ever fail.
But, the lids! Every time I mention that the typical metal lids, sometimes called flats, should only be used only once, someone will say they reuse their lids. You shouldn’t! Lids are persnickety enough with just one use!
This little notice is in all the newer jars and I had never seen it before, until a couple of years ago. Most of us have food in jars that have been sealed for way more than 18 months so I was thinking the 18 months had to be a shorter “life” than the lids we previously used but a little research revealed that previously, lids were meant to stay sealed for 12 months. Up to 18 months just doesn’t seem good enough to me.
I used the Tattler re-usable lids on the Sweet & Sour Chicken I canned yesterday. Anything with vinegar in it, I’ve found will sometimes eat through the regular metal lids so, for sure on very acidic items, I use the Tattler lids.
I will always keep the Tattler lids around, just in case there’s a shortage of the metal lids. I have no reason to believe that will happen but I’d hate to have food to can, jars to put the food in, and a canner to use . . and no lids!