Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
This morning as I waited for my pressure canner to cool so I could remove the jars of freshly canned sweet potatoes I decided to get on the internet for a few minutes. I was extremely tempted to spend money I can’t afford to spend. I had an online shopping cart filled with about $75 worth of regular mouth canning jar rings from EcoJarz. They were stainless steel jar rings that never rust. I was going to get 14 of them because that’s the number of half-pint jars I can put into my pressure canner.
With a volume discount and a cyber Monday coupon I could have gotten it all for about 55% off. A 25% volume discount and a 30% cyber Monday discount plus free shipping. At the very last minute I cancelled the shopping cart. I realized the jar rings were a want but not a need. What convinced me to come to my senses was an Aldi grocery gift card that arrived in the mail today. (thank you) It would be so wrong of me to accept the gift of food money while I’m spending my own money on a luxury item no matter how practical it might appear.
Most of you know I’ve been canning many years. I learned canning from Grandma Mama when I was a child. As an adult I left canning behind when I joined the working rat race but went back to it a few years later. One thing about canning that has always plagued those who can their own food. The metal rings rust and must be replaced. Unless you know a secret like I do. 🙂 A helpful hint that I’m not sure why I haven’t shared before. Usually I tell everything. I may have shared this back in the 1990s when I was on blogger and before I moved to wordpress but I can’t remember. Anyway, here is a video of the secret.
Ever since I figured out the solution to preventing the rusted rings this has not been a problem for me. Well sure after a couple hundred uses the jar rings I use did start getting a few spots of rust. Usually that comes from the moisture inside the pressure canner while it cools. Another way they start to rust is if I fail to wash, dry, and apply the rust prevention right after the jars cool. Rust happens very fast.
New stainless steel rings that never rust are starting to make their way around the canning public. Reusable forever items are always nice when a person wants to save money. I bought Tattler reusable lids for the money savings. I figured the cost of my one time use metal lids was about 30 cents each. My canner holds 10 pint jars which means every canner load cost 3.00 for the lids. It holds 14 half pint jars which brings the cost up to 4.20 per load. If I do ten jars per day it comes to $21 a week or $1021 a year for pints. The Tattler lids are much more practical and worth the investment. It was this same practical thinking that had me so very tempted to buy the stainless steel rings. To be honest I can’t remember the last time I had to buy new rings. It must be ten years ago or longer. So, not a need but a want. I emptied the cart and went back to the kitchen.
Why are the jar rings made of tin plated steel that is effected by moisture? Because during World Wars 1 and 2 there was such a shortage of metal that a cheap ring was developed. The government wanted housewives to home can as much produce as possible from their gardens. A cheap metal ring was manufactured in order to make home canning affordable for even the poorest people. Until now no one has changed the design. There are stainless steel rings being manufactured and sold today. I’ve seen some cheaper steel rings but those are “rust resistant” and not “rust free” metal. If you are interested in buying the stainless steel rings the Ecojarz sale is good until Midnight Pacific time tonight.
*** UPDATE: I don’t believe I explained myself very well. The secret is in the video above. The secret is coating the rings with olive oil. Do not remove the oil before using the rings in the canner. The oil creates a barrier between the metal and any moisture. This prevents rust. I DO wash the rings at the same time that I wash the newly filled jars and put on a fresh coating of olive oil.