How to Open the Stuck Lid of a Canning Jar

Once upon a time, the dilemma of how to open the stuck lid of a canning jar – or any jar, for that matter – posed quite a challenge of strength. And sometimes the challenge seemed to require the use of dexterity, cunning, and wit, too.

Thankfully, those days are over.

Now I know how to open a stuck canning jar – and every other jar – regardless of size, shape, or origin. It couldn’t be simpler.

Dexterity is no longer required because gravity is on my side.

Cunning is no longer required because gravity is on my side.

Even wit is no longer required because gravity is still on my side.

As long as I have solid ground to stand on, the problem of how to open the stuck lid of a canning jar is no longer a problem.

And opening the stuck lid of a sticky jar is no longer a problem, either.

All this because gravity is on my side. And so is the power of a vacuum.

No, not the machine you use to suck the dirt out of your carpet. I’m talking about the power of the vacuum that exists as an element of the world of physics. The absence of air. The absence of everything.

As your high school physics teacher said, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” (And when it comes to housework, I do, too.)

But I’ve learned to appreciate harnessing the power of that physical vacuum and I enjoy using the power of gravity to do so.

Here’s how I employ the use of those three elements – solid ground to stand on, gravity, and a vacuum – to open the stuck lid of a canning jar:

I place the jar firmly in one hand (two hands if the jar is really big).

I place my feet squarely and firmly on the solid ground before me. The ground must be hard and smooth – no lawn, carpet, gravel, or other soft or uneven surfaces.

I turn that jar upside down (thanks, gravity!) and bang it squarely and evenly upon that hard surface.

I listen for a shrill but hollow-sounding click!

The magic sound of the click tells me that the vacuum seal has been broken and all it takes now is a light and easy twist of the wrist to open the jar that had been so troublesome a mere bang ago.

I must confess. This doesn’t always work on the first bang. Sometimes I bang the bothersome jar unevenly on the solid ground. This doesn’t work. The jar must hit the surface squarely and evenly in order to release the vacuum seal.

Sometimes I don’t bang the jar onto the floor with the solid strength of determination. This is no time for delicacy.

And sometimes this technique can be startling to a newcomer to the practice. We’re afraid to shatter the glass. We are timid. Cautious.

Don’t be.

It doesn’t take velocity or a great deal of strength to get the jar open. It just takes the right amount of force and the squarely even meeting of the two surfaces to break the seal.

The magic sound – and it will seem like magic once you get the hang of it – actually sounds like the glass rim of the jar might have been broken. It wasn’t. Only the vacuum seal was broken. The canning band around the jar, or the securely stuck sides of a jar from the supermarket, will prevent the glass from breaking. It won’t even crack.

With practice, you’ll be able to know by the sound of it when the seal is broken and when another bang on the floor is needed.

And there are two benefits to using this technique for how to open the stuck lid of a canning jar. First, you’ll quickly and easily get the lid off the jar.

And secondly, the looks on the faces of anyone watching will be amusing beyond compare. And they’ll be so excited to learn your secret once you’ve shared it with them!

My favorite answer for how to open the stuck lid of a canning jar? It’s a matter of science.