Wherever you buy canning supplies, follow tips for safe food storage

Home food preservation – canning, freezing and drying food at home – has increased during the 2020 pandemic, leading to shortages of jars and lids.

The trends continue in 2021 as we continue to see an increase in home food storage and shortages of canned jars and lids in some areas.

However, if you’re wondering where to buy canning jars and lids, the best option may still be your local retail store, not online, according to the Human Sciences Extension and Outreach food preservation team. Iowa State University.

For example, according to FreshPreserving.com, the website for Ball brand home canning products, these products are currently only sold through authorized third-party retailers. The company announced in June that it had increased production of jars and lids to replenish stock in retail stores as quickly as possible. The FreshPreserving.com site includes a “where to buy” feature and a list of authorized business partners.

Wherever you buy your home canning supplies, nutrition and wellness experts ISU Extension and Outreach recommend these lid tips for safe and successful home canning:

  • Refer to manufacturer’s recommendations for shelf life of lids. If you choose to use lids beyond the recommended shelf life, please note that they may not seal.
  • Off-brand or generic covers may not be reliable. Reports say they may have less metal and less sealing compound.
  • If you choose to use lids from other brands, consider using only water bath canning, not pressure canning. Keep in mind that the product may still not seal.

ISU Extension and Outreach and the National Center for Home Food Preservation do not recommend the use of reusable lids at this time. Testing of the Tattler Reusable Canning Lids brand is currently underway.

Extension Resources for Home Food Storage

ISU Extension and Outreach has many resources on how to preserve food at home using the latest methods and recipes, including “Preserve the Taste of Summer” online classes which are free and run from 6:30 p.m. at 7:30 p.m. :

  • Preserve the Taste of Summer 101: August 5.
  • Salsa basics: August 4.
  • Totally Tomatoes: August 24.
  • All About Apples: September 13.

Register at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/humansciences/events.

AnswerLine is another resource for home canners. Call toll-free Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., for answers to questions about home food storage or any home and family related questions.

  • 800-262-3804 (in Iowa)
  • 800-854-1678 (within Minnesota)
  • 800-735-2942 (Relay Iowa hotline for the deaf and hard of hearing)
  • 515-296-5883 (toll charges may apply)