A few years back I was patting myself on the back for my canning abilities (and who doesn’t?) until my husband pointed out a truth I had overlooked. If you are a prepper, or even a well rounded homesteader, you are a preserver by nature. You might have a pantry, closet or even cellar full of mason jars of all sizes. And you will tell yourself that you are ready. After all, you know how to use the mason jars, and put up food every year to eat (especially if you garden or farm). Waterbath canning can be done without power, and can be done outside, over a hot fire, if one needed to.
Until you realize that of all the parts of canning you are limited by one thing. Without that one thing you will run out of the ability to can.
How many lids you have on hand. (And yes, I hear you Tattler Lid freaks, settle back down there…..it is a huge investment if you can a lot – if one is just getting started out, and has the money, you might want to look into it.) If you only have a few packs of lids on hand, that is a real issue. In multiple ways. After that discussion with Kirk, I pulled out every jar we owned. And lets just leave it at that we have over 500 mason jars. That was my count when we moved 2 years ago. So who knows where the real number is.
Many of my jars had no lids on them, and my rings were in gallon freezer bags, shoved in the back. I spent a day washing all my jars, and letting them fully dry for a day in our warm house.
I then put a new lid on every jar, with a ring on them, loosely fit. Now my jars were clean and ready to go. It didn’t matter if I stored them in the kitchen, pantry or in our sealed cellar (it stays 55* or so year round). Not only did it get my jars organized, they stay clean. I had to buy a lot of lids, and a number of rings to do this.
Then I bought enough lids to cover them again. Rings are not a huge issue, as you take them off and wash/dry after canning. The key is to remember to restock lids after canning season winds down. Make that a goal. I keep my lids in a container to ensure the boxes stay clean and dry. And that I know where they are at all times.
Regular Mouth canning lids 12 packs. Yes. You need that many. Well, I did. I needed more than that. Many times over.
Wide Mouth canning lids 12 packs. I keep a couple hundred on hand at all times.
For those without a ton of mason jars: 4 dozen of each type, for 8 dozen total. This is a good starter set.
Do you need regular mouth lids with rings? This is a great find. Sometimes the “pretty” ones get put on sale, even in hardware stores.
And…lets talk about preserving fruit and berries. Sugar is the easiest way to do jams and jellies, but if sugar was limited could you do it? I keep a supply of Pomonas’s Pectin on hand. It doesn’t expire if kept tightly sealed (once opened I store the packet in a small mason jar), and allows preserving with little sugar.
The thing is properly stored all these items last a very, very long time. I have canned with lids that were 30 years old and they did just fine. Even if you never need them for an emergency, you will have them on hand for yearly canning. And have bought them at a good price.