The Sweet Sound of Lids A-Popping

| 9/6/2008 10:27:43 AM

Tags: home canning, food preservation,



After spending two hours on a canner load of cardamom-spiced pears, I have plenty of other things to do. But until the last lid sucks in its breath with a tenor pop, leaving the kitchen would be like exiting a concert just as you hear the first notes of your favorite song. Why be in a hurry to go?

On the other hand, it does seem that the same power that prevents watched pots from boiling causes lids to pop when you've almost given up. Then comes one, then another, each pop announcing that all is well.

It's the sound of accomplishment, with a strong undercurrent of relief. The food you've grown, harvested, washed, cut, cooked and canned is safe for a couple of years. So what if next season's crop comes up short? This year's bounty is in the can.

Some may argue that the bigger thrill comes when you open a jar of tomatoes or grape jelly or whatever in January and smell summer for one brief moment. I disagree. The gentle whoosh of a seal opening is nothing compared to the cracking pop of a lid closing itself to the outside world. What a wonder, to be able to cook now and eat a year later. Each pop says that it is done.  

9/19/2010 10:56:33 PM

I know this original post was two years ago, but I just canned my apple butter for the first time tonight and I have been freaking out because I was hearing popping so I googled what it meant! Thanks for your wonderful words that made me feel so excited to hear another one, I only wish I had been counting them!!

9/24/2008 10:45:06 AM

Two great sources for all kinds of jar sizes are Zabar's ( and Lehman's ( Good luck! -Tabitha Alterman, Mother Earth News

9/24/2008 9:52:38 AM

Years ago I used some wide mouthed pint and a half jars. I wanted to begin canning again this year, and found out this size is no longer made. Does anyone know where I might find some of these jars? They're the right size for me, and with smaller families and singles, I'm surprised they were discontinued. I've checked out e-bay, but was not successful. Perhaps I didn't search correctly? Any info would help. Thanks!

9/17/2008 3:27:51 PM

Can any one tell me why my peaches float to the top? I sometimes have about 1/4 to 1/3 of juice at the bottom of the jar. For the simply syrup, I use 5 1/4 cups of water to about 1 1/2 cup of sugar. I love the popping sound, too!

barbara pleasant_3
9/15/2008 9:59:14 AM

Hope you have a good pressure canner there, Robert, because that's the only way to can meat. Rather than risking high-value meat to beginner mistakes, you may want to run a batch or two of beans or corn to get the hang of it. One tip I recently learned from a more experienced pressure canner is to take time to gradually increase the heat when using a pressure canner. The lids to a better job of seating themselves when handled this way.

robert hall_2
9/15/2008 1:58:42 AM


barbara pleasant_3
9/13/2008 6:15:08 AM

There's no big secret to cardamom-scented pears – just pretend the ground cardamom is cinnamon, and use as much as pleases your taste. Freshly ground cardamom is better, but I use the pre-ground version found among the spices in the bulk section of my natural foods store. Be careful, because cardamom is like nutmeg, in that it's easy to add too much. To reduce sugar without getting floating fruit, I do use a half-ration of Pomona Pectin when canning pears or anything else in syrup. For 8 pints, I would use a half teaspoon of calcium water and about 2 teaspoons of pectin mixed into a cup of sugar. I think I used 1-1/4 cup sugar for 8 pints – just enough to balance the cardamom. You can read more about this method in this article:

eleanor the great
9/12/2008 7:12:03 PM

That sound is why I can. Well, also to eat, but if I didn't get that bit of instant gratification, it would not be nearly as fun. It's like a message that I'm doing the right thing by trying to be more self-sufficient, and this is my reward. Good job and all. Also, I second Bridget's comment - I'd love to see your recipe for cardamom-spiced pears. But I might do a bit of experimenting in the meantime. :) We always do mint- and cinnamon-flavored pears.

sally cobb
9/12/2008 3:24:40 PM

I'm a Katrina transplant from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and the mountain life is one I am looking forward to living for many years to come. I have made and sold Hot Pepper Jelly for more than 30 years. We bought 16 acres with 35 naturally organic heirloom apple trees and about 20 young peach trees. We also have a sour cherry, tart plum and lots of blackberries. This summer alone I've canned peaches, beets, made peach preserves, plum preserves, kumquat preserves, blueberry jam, blackberry jam, scuppernong jam, muscadine jam and applesauce. I have always taken time to listen to the satisfying "POP"... always brings a smile to my lips.. I hope to make some apple butter before I have to return to NO for a few weeks. We froze corn and cherries. Eating from the freezer and from our canned goods is a treat for us. I love that we grew, picked, processed and eat our treats. Did not get a garden in this year (spent too much time in NO) but will plant next year in the spring. Farming is hard work and very satisfying!! We ordered a cider press to help take care of the many, many apples!!

anna armaiti
9/12/2008 3:09:33 PM

Just yesterday, I finished canning a bunch of blackberry jam, and sat here listening to the pops as the seals took - I actually thought about writing something about it, and today I see this! Yes, a wonderful, satisfying sound... ...and now off to can the sliced apples and plum jam!

barb neal_1
9/12/2008 3:01:34 PM

I am a canner: jams, tomato sauce, and relishes. But nothing is easier than canning apple butter. You put apples, a little cinnamon and sugar in a crock pot, and a tiny bit of water. Cook overnight, and in the morning, a quick blending gives you apple butter! Eat right then or can to save.

susie q
9/12/2008 2:19:08 PM

I love the sounds of lids popping also. I just canned 6 more quarts of bread and butter pickles and 10 more pints of salsa last night. When finished you sit back and relax and wait for the popping sounds to begin. It is definitely a feeling of accomplishment and pride. I love knowing that no matter what, I'll have all of my canned foods throughout the next year or so.

9/12/2008 12:20:45 PM

Cardomom-spiced pears sound wonderful. Where can I find a recipe?

jessie fetterling_2
9/10/2008 3:12:08 PM

I love canned fruits and jams. Every time I go to my Grandmother's house, I get a jar of Apple Butter because it's my favorite thing that she cans. Nothing says "home" like that.

9/10/2008 10:35:45 AM

Funny to see this article. I was so excited to hear the lids pop and now my husband even says, "There goes another one". He is excited too since he is the one picking all the stuff that's being canned.
9/9/2008 7:03:43 PM

Thank you so much - I'm going to hang this on my fridge as a reminder of why I am doing this :)

mother earth news fair


Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!