Thursday, January 2, 2014

Plastic Canning Jar Caps and a Rubber Seal


Well 2014 is starting out great for me with this discovery!

Most of us including myself buy and store #10 cans of dehydrated or freeze-dried foods for long term storage. A #10 can hold 13 cups of food and generally comes with a snap-on plastic lid like the type used on coffee cans. This is fine for resealing the can for a few weeks but not much longer. I found I needed a much better storage method to store the unused contents of the #10 can, sometimes for a year or two, maybe longer until its been used up.

Most of us buy and store #10 cans of dehydrated or freeze-dried foods for long term storage. A #10 can hold 13 cups of food and generally comes with a snap-on plastic lid like the type used on coffee cans. This is fine for resealing the can for a few weeks but not much longer. I found I needed a much better storage method to store the unused contents of the #10 can, sometimes for a year or two, maybe longer until its been used up while cooking/testing my survival recipes.

So being a canner and using the quart canning jar for this type of food storage just made sense. You’ll need 4 quart jars per #10 can and when the jars are filled there will be 3½ jars used. The ½ jar is where I use a Ball Plastic screw on lid to keep the food fresh while I cook with the contents over the next month or so. As I open the full quart jars I then use the plastic cap on that jar to keep the food fresh.

Now this Ball plastic cap provides a fairly good seal but not perfect. So I have been searching for a rubber gasket/seal to use with the plastic caps, I looked at ‘O’ Rings but they didn’t work, even tried the Tattler rubber seals but they did not fit the plastic cap well at all and were prone to non-seal due to misalignment.

Today I stumbled onto the ‘perfect seal’ when testing and finalizing my tomato powder mixing ratios for spaghetti sauce and tomato juice. I ran short of tomato powder from the jar with the plastic cap on it so needing more tomato powder I had to open another canning lid sealed quart jar. Pried the canning lid off and set it on the counter where by chance the plastic cap was laying. Hmmm, I looked at it for a second and thought ‘wonder if that lid will fit inside the plastic cap and work for the rubber seal I’ve been searching for?’ Well Holy Cow Batman!! It is a near perfect fit. Now we’ll have the advantage of a rubber seal while using the Ball Plastic Caps. Made my day! :-) Happy, Happy, Happy! Give this a try for yourselves.
And NO I don’t warm the jars with the plastic caps as the heat will damage the plastic cap. Just securely tighten the plastic cap. It will be a far better seal than just the hard plastic cap.

The advantages to using the plastic Ball plastic cap and not the metal canning ring are two.
1. Using the Ball cap you can easily see which jar has been opened and you are out of. This is important when you have taken just a tablespoon or two from a new jar. Visually you wouldn't be able to tell which jar you have just opened if using the metal rings.
2. The Ball caps are easy to grip and tighten compared to the metal rings.

My procedure for the canning lid sealed jars:

The other three jars I use the standard canning lids with an oxygen absorber inside and tighten the lid down firmly. I then place the jars in a cool oven and turn it on to 200f degrees. Once the oven comes to temperature the rubber seal of the canning lid softens to make a perfect long term seal. Upon removing the jars from the oven while still hot I again crank the lids down tight assuring the seal is compressed and sound. This has been working for me for more than 3 years now. The oxygen absorber removes the oxygen from the jar and when that happens the lids do go ‘pink’ and are depressed just like after pressure canning.

A quart canning jar with the Ball Plastic cap.


The quart canning jar and the Ball canning lid and the Ball Plastic Cap.


An inside view of the canning lid and plastic cap.


Here’s the canning lid inside the plastic cap. A perfect fit!

8 comments:

  1. WOW, Mike, Thank you so much for sharing your discovery. Never thought of it, or did it ever dawn on me to do this. I use the plastic lids a lot, and store and use the jars for leftovers and dry goods.
    Wonderful. Again, thank you so much for sharing.
    Have a wonderful and blessed 2014
    A dedicated reader.

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  2. I have used the plastic lids that come on mayonnaise jars and the like for that purpose. They don't rust and stick as bad as metal rings plus I need to keep my rings in good shape for reuse with tattler lids. Any thing that will fit the jar will work without giving ball any more money. Thank you ball for raising the price on lids so high.

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  3. I have also noticed the high prices of Ball Lids. I think the whole world has gone off its rocker and greed has taken over common sense.

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  4. Mike, I recently saw a post about oven canning and was intrigued; she didn't use oxygen absorbers, though. I'm wondering if the heat has any impact on the absorbers? Your thoughts? Thanks as always for sharing. Happy new year!
    Lisa :)

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  5. Anon 8:08
    No credible source approves of oven canning. Please do not attempt it.
    I use the oven to warm the rubber seal for better compression and sealing only. And no the 200f degrees will not harm the oxygen absorber because it is made of iron powder.

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  6. Hi Mike, I've just come across your blog and have found some helpful recipes and tips. My aim also is to live prepared and to be more self sufficient. cheers!

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  7. Hi Mike, Where should I go to buy rubber seals,hope to get your recommendation.

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  8. Johnson,
    The rubber seal is just the standard canning jars lid. I just happens to fit nicely inside the plastic cap. You can buy the lids at most hardware stores, Wal-Mart or anyplace that sells canning supplies.

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Your thoughts are welcome!