Struggling to find canning lids due to the canning lid shortage? Here are some tips and ideas on how to preserve your harvest anyway!
How to Deal with the Canning Jar Lid Shortage
If you are a big canner like myself, you’ve probably been quite frustrated over the past year with the lack of canning jars, lids, and other canning accessories at the store. It seems that everyone has decided to pick up the hobby of canning (and I don’t know that it’s a bad thing!).
We are a family that preserves a very large amount of food in the summer and fall months, mostly because the selection at the store here in the winter is pretty poor. There’s nothing I love better than canning up a big batch of perfectly ripe peaches only to open one of the jars up mid-January and enjoy a summer treat or a yummy Peach Cobbler.
I wish I had all the answers and I could tell you why the jar lids are in such a shortage and when they are coming back but I’d probably be wrong and it wouldn’t be helpful anyway. What I can tell you is how our family is dealing with this canning lid shortage and perhaps give you some ideas on how you can make it work for you too until we see those shelves fully stocked again.
Can only the essentials.
At this time, I’m holding off canning things like dried beans because I don’t need to can them. The beans can easily stay in one of our 5-gallon storage buckets until we need to use them. Having ready-made meals is really handy, but when there aren’t lids to go around, it’s not necessary.
Use the freezer or dehydrator.
I do some freezing but usually not of vegetables since my freezers tend to be full of meat (freezing is my preferred method of meat preservation with canning second). If you have the freezer space available to you and you don’t need the product to be shelf-stable, go ahead and freeze it instead.
Our family prefers to use our dehydrator as a secondary preservation method to canning. This year I’ve dehydrated everything from blueberries to zucchini flour. I dehydrate the item until it’s completely dry and then use a vacuum sealer attachment and a silica gel packet to seal the dried food in a jar. (I re-use jar lids for this so I don’t need to use up new ones.) You could also seal them in a food saver bag if you don’t want to use the jar.
This has become my preferred method for many things since it’s shelf-stable and doesn’t take up any freezer space. Depending on the item I either just put it straight in the recipe or reconstitute it before using.
Try reusable lids.
Have you ever heard of Tattler or Harvest Guard reusable canning lids? They are both a 2 part lid that can be reused many times. They do cost about double the price of a regular canning lid and there is a definite learning curve to using them, but since they can be reused for many years, they might be worth the investment.
I’ve had a small amount of Tattlers in the past and I invested in a few more this year. They aren’t my favorite lids to use but they are nice to have on hand for situations like this lid shortage.
Check other places for lids.
In the past, I’ve usually gotten lids from a typical big box store, but this year I’m always watching the hardware stores and other out-of-the-way places for lids. Earlier this summer I found full cases of lids at Menards. I’m glad I got those when I did! If you are in a store, any store, it doesn’t hurt to ask whether or not they have canning supplies, you might just be surprised.
One thing to note, DO NOT buy metal canning lids off eBay, Amazon, or other large reseller platforms right now. Most of them are fake lids from China and I’ve seen awful reviews of them. Don’t waste all of your hard work with those overpriced lids.
Look into old-fashioned preservation methods.
If you want to find even more methods of preserving besides canning, look into methods such as fermenting, salting, and root cellaring. I highly recommend the books, Root Cellaring and Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning. Both books are invaluable resources in situations like this one and I’ve had both on my shelf for a long time because I reference them so often!
We personally have a root cellar and we love it! (see the pic above) Building it has been a lot of work but we can’t wait to use it for many many years to come. The Root Cellaring book has many ideas for much simpler root cellar designs if you are not able to build a full root cellar.
In a root cellar, you can store many fruits and vegetables for months at a time without them spoiling. You will be able to save some jars when it comes to potatoes, apples, beets, carrots, and other staples. Once our root cellar is set up, I’d be happy to share a tour with you if that’s something you’d like to see.
When it comes to dealing with this canning lid shortage, I don’t think that any one of the above methods is better than another. Using them all together will help you stretch your lids as far as they possibly can go. Hopefully, this isn’t something that we will have to deal with long term, but if it is, consider all the new systems that you will have learned for preservation in the meantime and look at this as a good learning experience.
I for one did not realize how much I love dehydrating until last year. Now I cannot see doing zucchini any other way! I hope that you too will find some kind of bright side to dealing with this situation.
Now it’s your turn! Help me and the other Little House Living readers by sharing in the comments section how you are dealing with this canning lid shortage.