Will There Be Another Canning Jar Shortage In Fall 2021?

Anyone remember the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic early last year, when people basically freaked out and bought up the U.S. supply of masks, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper? Although it may by now seem a distant memory, this rush on stores wasn't just limited to basic hygiene essentials. It also included items like vegetable seeds, as quarantine brought out our latent desires to start a home garden (via NPR).

Another item that went missing during the initial rush on grocery and kitchen supply stores? Canning lids. According to CNN, an increase in experimentation with home canning led to a run on the two-part metal lids used to cap glass canning jars. Although the jars can safely be used over and over again — to create batch after batch of sauerkraut and pickles — the metal lids don't create a food-safe seal when used for a second time, and must be swapped out for fresh lids. According to the network, that detail led to massive shortages of the lids last year. Now, news is coming in that the country might experience yet another canning lid shortage.

Another run on canning lids

If anyone would have the inside scoop on the state of affairs in the world of home preservation, it would be Mason Jar Merchant, a retailer of glass canning jars and, of course, their lids. According to a blog post the site published earlier this month, supplies of canning jar lids are still scant. "The number of people who are learning to preserve their own food has gone up ... but the supply of new canning jars and canning lids hasn't increased nearly enough; both lead times and manufacturers' prices keep going up," the post read in part. 

In order to try to keep up with demand, both grocery and big box stores ordered a whopping 10 times their usual stock, and even those numbers weren't enough to keep up with a stay-at-home population giving homemade kimchi, kraut, and kombucha a go. However, if you're still looking to get some canning under your belt this summer, Mason Jar Merchant suggests where you might find the elusive canning jar lids. "You can try smaller retailers that aren't known for their canning supplies and might not be frequented by canners," the post points out. "These can include your local hardware store, farm & feed supply stores, garage sales, and thrift stores."