How to Use Zinc Canning Lids?

Does it make any sense to prepare canned foods using old zinc lids? And how to do it if you want to give it a try? Learn from our article today!

Written by Elisa Chan. Updated on How to Use Zinc Canning Lids

If you are a canning veteran, and you can’t imagine your life without canned foods, you surely have heard of canning with the use of zinc lids. And maybe you even tried to do it yourself.

However, if you are still new to all this canning story, you might be wondering whether there is any difference between canning with zinc lids and more updated flat dome metal lids.

So today we will tell you how to can foods with zinc canning lids providing you with a detailed and step by step guideline. And also, you will learn whether old canning lids made of zinc are safe for being used.

Related:When Is the Canning Season?

Learn How to Use Zinc Canning Jar Lids Properly

So let’s imagine that you decided to give it a try and make some canned foods with the use of your grandma’s method. Meaning that you are going to make use of those antique canning lids that are made of zinc.

But you will surely face a few stumbling stones on your way, and one of them will be the question “how do I use these lids at all?”.

Learn How to Use Zinc Canning Jar Lids Properly
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Well, first of all, you need to make sure that you have all the necessary tools and equipment for canning.

  • zinc lids
  • canning jars (make sure you buy older ones so that the lids could fit them)
  • rubber sealing rings

Already have all of these? Great! Then you are ready to proceed to the next step. Start your canning mission from preparing the lids. To do this, you will first have to thoroughly wash the lids and the rubber rings, and then scald them.

Learn How to Use Zinc Canning Jar Lids Properly
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Remember that they are to remain in hot water until you make use of them!

In some old canning books it is recommended that the lids (but not the rubber rings!) must be actually boiled for anywhere between ten minutes and half an hour before being used. So with this sort of lid such an approach can work, too.

Once you stuff your jars with the goodies that you have prepared for canning, the first step to take is to stretch the rubber canning ring over the mouth of the jar and seat it down on the shoulder.

Learn How to Use Zinc Canning Jar Lids Properly
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Now screw the zinc lid down as firmly as you can, and then unscrew it a quarter inch. Place the jar in the canner and process according to what is needed for the foodstuff that you are canning.

Upon removal from the canner, immediately tighten the lid down as much as you can. And remember that you should not let your jars remain in a pressure canner to cool once the pressure has gone down!

The next step is to test whether you have a good seal, but it is not that easy as you might think when it comes to the zinc lids! See, the top of the lid should have a slightly concave shape. When the jar is cooled down completely, you can also try to turn it upside down or on its side to check for any leaks.

Learn How to Use Zinc Canning Jar Lids Properly
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And if you see that your jars leak even a little bit, it means that you definitely don’t have a proper seal, and the whole canning process has to be started again from the very beginning!

This is when these lids usually come out of favor!

So, as you can see, canning with the zinc lids may be fun and interesting, but it is quite a time and effort consuming procedure that not everyone would like to go through.

But if you feel confident and enthusiastic enough, feel free to grab your jars and lids, and do some old-fashioned canning!

Learn How to Use Zinc Canning Jar Lids Properly
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How to Open a Jar That Was Sealed With a Zinc Canning Lid?

Since canning foods with the use of zinc lids is rather effort-consuming, most of you probably thought that opening such jars is also not an easy task. However, this is not like that!

Once you want to taste the contents off any of the jars that you have canned before, you can either pull the tab to break the seal and then unscrew the lid. Or you can stop making unnecessary moves and just unscrew it at once.

How to Open a Jar That Was Sealed With a Zinc Canning Lid
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Can I Use My Old Zinc Canning Lids For the Second Time?

If you have some old zinc canning lids and you are thinking about trying to can foods in an old-fashioned way, you might be already wondering whether those lids can still be used.

Well, the answer will depend on whether those lids have already been used and you are asking about reusing them, or they are just old but were never used before.

Can I Use My Old Zinc Canning Lids For the Second Time
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So, if the lids are just old but have never been in use before, you can use them for canning if they are not damaged.

However, you should clean them first and wash them with hot water to make sure that no bacteria will get into the jar thus spoiling the contents.

However, of the lids you are asking about have already been in use, reusing them for the first time is forbidden! Zinc canning lids are designed for one-time use only.

Can I Use My Old Zinc Canning Lids For the Second Time
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If you try to use them for the second time, your jars will most likely end up being improperly sealed. That may lead to the canned food spoilage.

Can I Use My Old Zinc Canning Lids For the Second Time
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What if your old zinc canning lids can be used but you see that they are way too dirty? To get rid of any gunk and/or tarnish, we recommend you use an old but trustworthy method:

  • take your old zinc canning lids
  • lay them out in a non-reactive pan (better use the one made of glass)
  • pour white vinegar over them so that it covers the lids completely
  • now let the lids soak for twenty minutes to half an hour
  • scrub away any gunk or tarnish using an old toothbrush and a squirt of a liquid dish soap

With that in mind, you can easily revive your old zinc canning lids and use them for preserving foods in a way your grandma did.

How To Reuse your Canning LidsHow To Reuse your Canning Lids

How to Tell That My Zinc Canning Lids Are Sealed Properly?

Even if you washed and cleaned your antique zinc canning lids properly according to the instructions that we gave you, and you managed to seal several jars with the delicious homemade gummies using those lids, it is still important that you check how well the lids are sealed.

Zinc canning lids can be rather tricky in use, so always double-check whether you sealed them right.

To do this, make use of one of the following tricks:

  1. Press the middle of the lid that sits on a jar using your finger or thumb. If you see the lid springs up when you release your finger, it means that the lid is unsealed!
  2. Tap the lid with the bottom of a teaspoon. If you hear a clear ringing sound, it means that you have a good seal. If the sound is dull, your lid is not sealed. Also, such a dull sound can be produced if the food is in contact with the underside of the lid (in other words, if you stuffed too much of it into the jar). But in the latter case, this is not a problem or a cause for spoilage.
  3. Finally, you can hold the jar at eye level and look across the lid. It should be concave (curved down slightly in the center). If you see its center is flat or bulging, it may not be sealed.

In case you spot any of those signs of your jars being not sealed, you will have to reseal them starting the whole process from the very beginning!

How to Tell That My Zinc Canning Lids Are Sealed Properly
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So now you know whether or not your old zinc canning lids can be used, how to prep them for canning, and even how to check how well your canned jars are sealed.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Why are old Mason jars blue?

It’s because of the sand used for making the jars.

⭐ Do old mason jars contain lead?

Some of them do. The only brand that doesn’t is Ball.

⭐ Do you need to boil both zinc canning lids and canning rings?

No, rings need no boiling.

Written by
Elisa is a passionate cook who will advise you on healthy and delicious food topics! With her help, you will discover how to properly store and freeze food, as well as learn important nuances about preserving vitamins in your meals to make them stay nutritious.
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NEVER Run Out of Canning Lids Again -- My New Secret!NEVER Run Out of Canning Lids Again -- My New Secret!