My friend, Dara, called me the other day saying she had been in the stores and there were no canning jar lids. I asked her what stores she’d checked in and, as I was working on an article for BHM, I quickly checked online. Oh oh! None there, other than some double-priced ones. So I finished up and jumped in the car, figuring there was little time to waste. Sure, I have a couple of cases of lids, both Harvest Guard reusable lids and regular Ball lids. But as I can a whole lot, I didn’t want to run short. I thought maybe I could find enough for both Dara and me. I went first to Menards, where I scored a few boxes of both sizes of lids. Then, at Super One, I found some more but not what we needed. My final stop for the day (stores were closing early due to COVID-19, was Walmart. I found a case and a half of regular Mainstay lids, plus another case and half of Ball regular and wide mouth lids. I know some folks don’t use Mainstay lids, saying they don’t seal. I haven’t had any problem with them, so I do use them as a cheap alternative to Ball and Kerr lids.

You know I can a whole lot so you can understand why I was concerned when Dara told me there were no canning lids in the stores!

I called Dara and she came over the next day and we divied up the haul. Now I feel much more secure. I even called my son, Bill and told him about the shortage. He said he’d just bought a bunch too, so he and Kelly are all set.

Will, pushing out another stump on the Wolf Forty.

As David has been laid off work, he’s been helping Will with some of the firewood cutting/hauling and getting ready to put in the windows on his cabin. Will is making great strides in clearing the Wolf garden/pasture area. It’s really opening up now. And the soil is basically pretty good — a mix of sand and topsoil. Hondo, our wonderful Catahoula Leopard Dog has been “helping” Will by chasing down ground squirrels and voles. He killed three ground squirrels around the house in one afternoon! Yea, Hondo!

Hondo is always out there, helping Will by clearing out the varmints.
Will’s work is paying off. Look at how much he has cleared already.

We finally got a nice rain last night. And we sure needed it. It was so dry the ground was cracking in the North garden — like the desert! We’re nearing planting time and I was very glad for that wonderful rain, both to help things grow and to lessen our fire danger. The weather’s turning warm and we’ll be starting to plant very soon. Not the frost sensitive crops but ones that can handle some cold — more peas, onions, and maybe even a few carrots and turnips. We’re planting extra root crops this year, anticipating a food shortage heading our way due to COVID-19 and the sinking economy. I sure hope I’m wrong… — Jackie


  1. When we go down to PA there’s an Amish bulk store I go to and buy a case of lids. They are the cheapest and when my friend goes down I have her pick me up a case. It’s amazing how everything is flying off the shelves, people are waking up. My friend, who I help at the Farmer’s Markets, said it was crazy the first day they opened. My husband said the other day that Jackie Clay is going to be selling a lot of canning books.

  2. Jackie – I missed the first recommended planting dates for peas here in middle Iowa. Do you think I should just save the peas and try for a fall planting or would it be worth a try to put some in now. Suddenly, preppers are not being called hoarders quite so often and are now being called wise people! Hmmm!

    • Ha ha! I’ve noticed that too. Instead of being “weird” we’re wise? I’d go ahead and plant your peas. With good watering, they should still do fine.

  3. Not so sure there is a shortage as much as there is a delivery problem. Remember all the shipping was diverted for delivering PPE to medical facilities. Tattler has been routinely posting announcements that delivery was behind and giving discounts. However, if we have the “second wave” of the virus in the fall, delivery will be affected again–right at harvest time. Guess we just need to think a year and a season ahead.

    • Yup, regardless of why, we may have a real problem finding lids if the stuff hits the fan later on.

  4. Hi, Jackie. Thanks for the heads up on the canning lids. I jumped in my car at 6:30 AM and headed to the local Walmart and cleaned them out of 60 boxes and also hit Meijers and got about the same there. I have enough for family members and future years. –As Jane mentioned earlier my Walmart did not have the regular lids in their computer system either. Thanks again to you and Dra.

    • I’m glad you found lids. Some stores are getting a modest restocking; others none at all. Best to be prepared. I remember a shortage in the ’70s where you could not find lids and if you did they were rationed! How scary that was!

  5. Hello Jackie yes it’s getting hard to fine Lids however I was at Walmart today bought 10 boxes of the Ball large mouth I had not seen them for a few weeks at Walmart they had some smallmouth Ball lids but when I went to buy them they had them at Walmart but it wasn’t in their system as to how much they cost go figure

  6. I’ve had an order in at Lehman’s for their sleeve of lids for more than a month, and they finally arrived. In good shape for awhile! Glad that you finally got some much needed rain and that the work continues on!

  7. I order canning lids by the sleeve from Dutchman’s Store. They have better sealant and just all around feel like a better quality lid. 345 regular or 288 wide for 69.50. Free shipping to the lower 48 states.

  8. I ordered from Leahmans almost 2 months ago and they came today. They said they were out and would be getting more and would ship when they could. I am happy with their service. I too am planting more this year as I see shortages coming. Stay safe and happy canning.

    • Yep, I do too. But more is better…. considering the unknowns regarding this COVID-19 thing.

  9. I live in Kentucky and I have seen boxed jars with lids and rings but no lids in the stores I have been in. We live in an active Amish and Mennionite area where they have many farmers markets for vegetables and also lots of stores. They seem to be well stocked with canning supplies. Thanks Jackie, for keeping us up to date.

  10. I suspected this was coming about a month ago and my husband and I went round and round debating about spending during a financially uncertain time. In the end, I did order a couple hundred Harvest Guard lids and boy am I glad .. I see the web site said a shortage of materials meant they would not be any available until the end of June at the soonest. Mason jars are gone from my area as well, so when Tractor Supply had a sale day I ordered a bunch more of those as well.

  11. Thank you for the information. I managed to get alot of canning lids before this all happened at a second hand store. They were all in their original boxes. I certainly enjoy your blog. I am in the middle of fixing the entrance to my property so that I can build up on the hill that faces a lake. I am uncertain about just what to build. But since I am by myself, I want it simple and sustainable. Looking forward to meeting you, speaking and learning from you. Bette

    • Wow, you got a good score there. It sounds like a perfect spot to build. A view of water is always a plus. We couldn’t find a lake but we do have beaver ponds that do just fine for us. Looking forward to visiting with you too!

  12. Not only canning lids but vegetable seeds or in short supply. My husband with to a nursery today to buy tomato plants and they had sold out all but one pack of four that he bought.
    Flower seeds and plants do not seem to be selling as good as vegetables but we should remember bees, butterfly’s and humming birds .

  13. Yep I’ll had noticed a month ago there were no lids. I ordered from Rural King two months ago and just now received them. Has ball lids always said seal good for 18 months??? I thought that was strange. And I believe your right about food shortage. I think about how many years people have been warned about the need to stock up. The time has arrived. Thank you Jackie for all the good advice.

    • Yeah, that’s their new normal. Such bull!! I sure wouldn’t brag about 18 months (even though they do last decades longer than that.) I’m not sure but I figure they want people to dump out “old” canned goods and buy new lids and then can up more food. Kinda stupid, huh?

  14. Oh Thank You Jackie, soooo much for posting this information. I took off immediately for the local Walmart, all they had was the ring and lids, but I bought 5 boxes of each. We checked other stores and none available. My husband thought of an Amish dented can store where we had seen some earlier in the year. Sure enough boxes of ball lids and only 2.38 per box. I bought 16 and 8 wide mouth boxes which were just a little more.
    Whew I’d hate to have a garden and no way to put it up. Again, thank you for the heads up!

    • You’re welcome! I’m glad you found some lids. I was in WalMart today and they had restocked SOME lids but not many. I was shocked about this.

  15. Wow, Jackie! I’m sure glad I read your blog today at lunch. I dropped everything and drove to our nearby hardware store where I have some coupons and stocked up on lids, extra canning jars, and pectin – enough for my big veggie and fruit garden for the entire summer. Thanks!,

    So many people here in Santa Rosa, CA (north of San Francisco in Sonoma County) that plant nurseries have been having a difficult time keeping veggie starts in stock. Soon, I’ll bet there will be a canning supply shortage here too….Of course, thanks to you and Will, I have started most of my veggie plants from Seed Treasures seeds! All are thriving.

    Keep up the good work. God bless you and your family.

    • Thank you so much Priscilla! I’m glad you got a stash of canning supplies. And I’m especially glad your plants are doing well. Those little seeds are like our children; we always like to know they’re doing good.

  16. We sure don’t have that problem with any shortage of canning lids. I’d be wiling to bet less than 10% of my community even know how to “put away” food. I’ve been very nervous about this upcoming Fall season. I believe, as you do Jackie, that there could very well be some sort of food crisis soon. As I don’t get enough produce from my garden (container). I’m thinking on going to our Farmer’s Market and stock up on some of the things my family likes. I’ve purchased one of those new fangled Pressure / Air Fryer duets by Emeril Lagasse and have a cookbook (MY own Mother’s Day purchase) So….I’m going to learn how to can. ps….it even has a canning button! LOL

    • I’m a little cautious about canning with your new appliance. I think I would play it safe and use a pressure canner, designed for canning. Some pressure cookers also say “for canning” but they just don’t do the job like we need and don’t hold enough jars either.

  17. Try Target for canning lids. They were actually cheaper than Walmart where I live. I got them delivered to my home for free. I noticed stores were raising prices, too. Stinky.

    • Our local hardware stores are also out of lids but in some areas that might be a good place to find them.

  18. You can try dollar general stores and family dollar stores for canning jars, lids and rings. I’ve bought them there here in NY. I’ve also bought pectin there. Hope this helps someone.

    • I used to buy lids by the case at Family Dollar. But then they went out of business here. Our Dollar General stores don’t carry any canning supplies but I’m glad to hear these stores in other areas do.

  19. The yard sales and Craig’s list should be loaded next year with canning supplies, gardening equipment and freezers(shortage also). Some new gardeners and canners may stick with it but I bet plenty will not when they find out how much work it is.

    • I’m sorry to say I don’t think that will happen…so soon, anyway. I think we’re in for a long haul with food shortages. But I also hope I’m wrong.

  20. Because of your articles and blog, I have learned a lot over the last 12 years. Planning for emergencies, really planning, is one of those things. When this all started in January, we went into self-isolation because my husband started chemotherapy that month and was/is immune-suppressed. There are gaps in my preps, but nothing too serious. We didn’t have to panic buy anything. So I thank you for sharing your expertise and knowledge, my husband and I appreciate it.

  21. I stocked up about 6 weeks ago when I saw some of the shelves were empty. Check your local hardware stores, ours has been getting them in regularly every week so I go buy 10 at a time. Now if I can just find a new canner! They are all out of stock also! Mine developed a leak!

  22. Yes! We bought extra about a month ago.
    We have the reusables too.
    I hope you are wrong too, Jackie.
    All the news of pork, chickens etc being”euthanized” you know there are other shortages to come. The farmers are even pouring out hundreds of gallons of milk.

    • Yep, and that’s a shame when folks are sitting in their cars in long food lines in some areas of the country.

  23. Am betting more gardens, more canning! People maybe realizing us preppers prepped for a reason!!

    • My guess is that the factories made X number of lids for “normal” times, not foreseeing this stampede for suddenly putting up food. Now they’re out and it may take awhile, with folks laid off to get more made.

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