I like to go big when buying lids, especially now.
1.) If you buy a lot of lids, take them out of the boxes and inspect each and everyone of them for scratches on the inside surface and for bubble craters in the seal compound/uneven sealing compound.
I had a glut of brand new ball brand lids I took out to repackage them (More on that further down) and use them in my stock rotation. I've had jars that didn't seal. Turned out the sealing coumpound had air bubble craters breaking the seal.
So went through each and every lid I bought and found roughly 120 questionable lids! I bought them in 2016/2017 and needless to say the receipt is long gone in some land fill. I gave them away to someone and warned them not to use them for food preservation. That's money down the drain for 1, for 2 had I needed those lids in an emergency or a supply disruption I would have been screwed.
So check your lids! Take all the bad and questionable ones, consolidate them and take em back for an exchange.
2.) Long term/short term storage. I couldn't find any solid information on life expectancy in storage, but what little I found is 5 years MAX. After that the risk of the sealing compound drying out increases.
I've tried a few methods and finally settled on one method to store my lids. Forget vacuum sealing them in mylar or anything else because it compresses the lids together something terrible.
I would love to have zero oxygen storage, but without vacuum.
This only applies to regular mouth lids (Sorry wide mouth lid lovers). Buy the 24 oz Ball jars, unbox your lids, inspect and store them in the new jars. I suppose you could put the lids in and do a nitrogen flush. But I haven't gotten ahold of any nitrogen.
I think it's great way to store and protect lids for short and long term storage. I mean, less face it. There's never enough lids! Lol
You seem to be making the assumption that an irregularity in the sealing compound will prevent a seal. You may be correct. My experience has been different. I have even reused lids with success. My guideline has been is that if the lid seals, then it is good. I am still alive after around 40 years of pressure canning. Your mileage may vary.
Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions. Mark Twain
John F Dean wrote:You seem to be making the assumption that an irregularity in the sealing compound will prevent a seal. You may be correct. My experience has been different. I have even reused lids with success. My guideline has been is that if the lid seals, then it is good. I am still alive after around 40 years of pressure canning. Your mileage may vary.
I'm talking about extreme irregularities in the the sealing compound. I only found four or five out of around 800 where the sealing compound was extremely uneven.
I had another jar not seal because the sealing compound was too thin.
I want my jars sealed right the first time, hence I noticed a pattern in what was causing seal patterns.
By all means if you want to just use the lids then go for it.
I figure just inspect the lids and take back the ones that are scratched on the inner surface and have extreme bubble craters and uneven sealing compound.
Benjamin Drew wrote:I couldn't find any solid information on life expectancy in storage, but what little I found is 5 years MAX. After that the risk of the sealing compound drying out increases.
My experience has been different. I picked up an estate sale collection of lids and rings not long ago that was thirty years old if it was a day. The rubber on the Ball lids is softer, almost runny, than the rubber on my new lids, but I am getting good seals on these. (I'm using them for relatively short term pressure canning of low-value stuff -- mostly vegetable broth that I expect to use within a few months.) I do sometimes have to carefully pry the stack of lids apart with the edge of a sharp knife -- being cautious not to deform the metal or cut the sealing material -- because they do tend to fuse together in the box they were sold in back in the 20th century.
So far I haven't had any particular difficulty getting good seals. One thing I do notice is that after sealing well to a jar, there's much more "damage" (a deep groove where the jar lip imprints into the soft sealing material on the lid) than with fresher lids -- so much so that reusing these seems clearly out of the question. But since they were nearly free, no biggie.