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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Q: I can’t find canning lids (flats) anywhere!  What can I do?

A: Yes, there is currently a shortage of canning jar lids. First, don’t be tempted to reuse lids that have previously been processed.  It is safe to use lids one time only. Lids will last about 5 years so be cautious when obtaining lids from friends and family that have been in storage.

This year you may consider freezing as an alternate method of food preservation.

Find more information and several helpful links at

Q: Is it safe to can in my electric multi cooker?  It has a button for canning?

A: While there are a variety of electric multi cooker units on the market, there are many concerns about using them for home canning purposes.  The recipes we recommend are tested and USDA approved following specific time and pressure requirements for processing.  It is unknown if the process may be replicated in the multi cooker unit.  Because time and temperature are essential in the safety of home canned products, the recommendation is to not use these units in home food preservation.

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Q: I have a smooth cooktop stove. Can I pressure can on my smooth cooktop?

A: This burning issue depends upon a lot of factors. Some manufacturers of smooth cooktops put conditions on canning while others say to not can on them. Some pressure canner manufacturers do not recommend using them on a smooth top.

Canners may exceed the maximum diameter pot allowed and water bath canners may not be flat enough to work well. Excessive heat can damage the cooktop and may even trigger an automatic cut-off on the burner, resulting in an under processed product.

Therefore, the recommendation is to consult your smooth top as well as your pressure canner manufacturer before making your decision.  For more info visit

Q:  Tomatoes are already acidic. Do I really need to add more acid to the tomatoes when I can them?

A: Yes, botulism grows rapidly at a pH of 4.6 and above.  Tomatoes have a natural pH of 4.6 4.8. It is recommended to add a small amount of acid (citric acid powder, lemon juice or vinegar) so they can be treated as a food with a pH less than 4.6 for home canning. This extra acid is required for both water bathcanning and pressure canning recipes.
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