Home Canned Organic Green Beans
August 6, 2010
Food preservation and reducing energy consumption are two ongoing household activities here. August tends to be one of the busiest months for home canning although it spills over into September as well. A few days ago I canned organic green beans purchased from a local organic farm. The white lids are a special type of reusable canning lid called Tattler. I bought 3 dozen to run several tests before committing to making a larger purchase. If I am pleased with results of the Tattler lids and preliminary results have been quite impressive I will be phasing out the metal single use lids for all canning except jars intended for gift giving. Each Tattler lid is 8 X the cost of the metal lids at my lowest price which means each lid will have to be reused at least 8 times before I realize a payback. Why is this important?
- Concern has been expressed that at some point the metal single use Snap lids will not be available. Like many home canners I am concerned about this problem. Switching to a reusable lid ensures I have a way to can even if the metal lids become unavailable.
- All canning lids in North America are coated with a plastic that contains Bisphenol-A (BPA). The reusable lids while made of a heavy plastic aare BPA free.
- Using reusable lids will greatly reduce the metal and packaging for coming into our house. I can somewhere between 1,000 and 1,400 jars of food each year. All my jars are reusable which means I keep that amount of plastic and metal food containers from coming into the house. A reusable lid simply makes a lot of sense. I question why this hasn't caught on before especially since the company has been in business since 1976.
- The regular metal Snap lids weigh about half that of the Tattler reusables. However, since Tattler lids are reusable they are only shipped once unlike the shipping costs involved with keeping a supply of Snap lids on hand. The shipping costs are built into the Snap lids but because they are an ongoing purchase the effects of shipping adds to our carbon footprint.
- I estimate I will need at least 500 Tattler reusable lids but in reality will buy 600 to provide a safety net. While I can 1,000 and 1,400 jars of food each year there is not that number of jars just sitting on the shelves waiting to be used. The reason for this is the food is rotated and once I get a box or two of empty jars during the off season I will fill them with something else. Now the beauty of this is as the jars become empty so too will the lids and rubber rings so I won't have to worry about. The lids and rubber rings can go right into the box so the reusable lids won't create a storage problem. If anything they will reduce the number of disposable metal lids I need to keep on hand.
- Switching to reusable lids adds one more level of self-sufficiency. I won't be dependent on the stores to carry the lids or having to find a supplier.
- Cost is always a factor in home canning. I pay on average $150 annually for canning lids that are single use. A 500 pack size of the Tattler reusable lids will cost me $300 plus what I've already spent. On the surface that looks like a pay back period of 2 uses but it isn't as I figure it will take 8 uses to realize the payback which really means about 2 years of use. I will still have to buy a few packages of metal lids each year for jars given as gifts but that should reduce my cost to under the $10 mark.