Frugalista writes about canning, gardening, food, crafts and preparedness with wit, experience and the goal of saving a few cents here and there.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Important correction: Marion C., an old friend of 20 odd years and serious canner, just called to remind me of the importance of removing canning rings from jars after canning.
The purpose of the ring is to hold the lid down on top of the jar ring while processing. Once jars begin to cool the air is pushed out and a vacuum occurs pulling the lid down tightly, making that great ping noise and flattening or giving the lid a concave or outward curvature appearance. After that the ring is not needed.
Leaving rings on jars can create problems. First, they rust if exposed to any moisture. If rusted they can be near impossible to remove leaving a useless jar of food. Second, they can hide the fact that the lid did not seal correctly. When the rings are removed the jars should be wiped clean with a wet cloth or paper towel and then the lid should be examined to ensure it has sealed correctly. Leaving the ring on can mask that a lid did not seal and the jar either needs to be reprocessed or refrigerated and eatten within 1-2 days from canning. When you go to open a jar that has been stored, try to open the lid with your thumb. If it opens easily then the food is not safe. Do not eat it. It should take some effort with the use of a fork or knife to open a correctly sealed lid. Remember you can not see botilism. If you see bubbles or smell a bad smell don't eat the food and carefully dispose of it where animals can not get to it.
Some people, including me, have stored jars with the rings on for asthetic reasons. They just look better that way. We are really doing ourselves an injustice by covering potential problems. I admit to having hundreds of jars filled with goodies and the process of removing all those rings is going to be time consuming. I am going to do it because my health is way more inportant to me than what Martha Stewart or the Jones might think. Hmmm. Has anyone ever seen her stored jars? I wonder what they look like.
I do have strings of rings hanging in the storage room and now there will be many more strings of rings. I prefer hanging them than keeping them in a box. Personal preference I guess. They are easier to grab when needed and air out easily.
I saw that really cool country wreath made out of old rings and now I am going to make one for my garden fence with any rusted rings I find.