September 16, 2004

Trick for Opening a Pesky Jar

POST #    1284

The other night, I was trying to open up a new jar of salsa and was having major problems. I couldn't do it with my right hand, my left hand was too weak and any cloth I used had too little friction. So I resorted to something I learned from my parents - I heated the top. I fired up the range and held the top close to the flames, being careful not to actually put it in, rotating while maintaining a safe distance. After about five seconds, I tried to open the jar again. Success!

Usually, this is used with jars that contain something sticky, like honey. The heat melts the substance, allowing you to open it with ease. I suppose the heat can also cause the metal to expand, making the jar easier to open. I assume this was the reason my jar opened since there was no salsa between the jar and the lid to cause potential stickage.

I know, it sounds crazy, but it works.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 7:35 AM



Will the wonders of Tien's useless knowledge ever cease?

Posted by: jk at September 16, 2004 8:54 AM

you know...the easier, and (potentially) less hazardous way to go about that is to just run the lid under hot water.

Posted by: halo | veritech pilot at September 16, 2004 9:33 AM

you know? i never thought of the hot water. but i'm not really sticking the metal into the fire, just above it. and i would have to dry the jar if i used water.

Posted by: tien [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 16, 2004 9:53 AM

i usually just tap the lid against the counter in a few places. that loosens up whatever's making it stick. failing that, use one of those rubber thingamajigs to help open.

this is turning into "hints from heloise" ;)

Posted by: jeannette at September 16, 2004 10:10 AM

You can also use something like the handle end of a spoon to break the suction seal on a new jar. Just slip the handle end a little under the lip of the lid and leverage it a little.

I would wage the majority of the benefit of the heat from hot water or the stove aids lid removal through expansion of the lid. The thermal expansion of the metal is greater than that of the glass due to a higher thermal conductivity and a lower specific heat. Both materials will expand in the presence of the heat, but the metal expands more. Ah, the wonders of what a semester of thermodynamics and a semester of heat transfer will do for you.

Oh, and I found this sight for you as well, since I'm sure you'll find it interesting:

Posted by: Joe at September 16, 2004 11:10 AM

I just take a dinner knife and hit the lid around the edge a few times with the handle part of the knife.

Posted by: rappy at September 16, 2004 12:58 PM

rubber grippers?!? what do you think this is jeannette? a high class establishment?

joe, as always thanks for the way over our head link.

rappy, i'm curious as to what your sister uses since she's a cook and everything.

Posted by: tien [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 16, 2004 2:06 PM

c'mon tien, ur in construction. u should know that aluminum has a high thermal expansion rate. s'why something as simple as running it under hot water will expand it enuf to loosen its grip on the glass jar. i personally prefer this to smacking things against the lid.

Posted by: halo | veritech pilot at September 16, 2004 2:11 PM

dude, i'm in construction as much as you were in construction when you were here.

Posted by: tien [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 16, 2004 2:14 PM

I use the method Joe metioned, the spoon handle as leverage, works every time.

Posted by: CJ at September 16, 2004 2:22 PM

I just drop the jar on the floor and scoop up the contents, glass and all. It's actually ok to eat glass fragments, it does the same thing as fiber, except bloodier.

Posted by: FlatGreg at September 16, 2004 2:34 PM

You can always put a dish towel around the lid and try turning it.

My usual no fail method is to put on rubber gloves and turn the lid. It works everytime!

Posted by: Heather at September 16, 2004 4:56 PM

dish towel?!? rubber gloves?!? what do you think this is? the kitchen at per se?

seriously though, i tried the dishtowel, and my rubber gloves are for cleaning some dirty things, so i'm not sure i would want to use them.

Posted by: tien [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 16, 2004 4:59 PM

Tien, this is what my sister relies on:

"usually I bang on the lid with a heavy knive then I hit the bottom of the jar with my hand and then I hope it opens."

My translation: Heavy knife = heavy knife handle.

Hand = palm.

Posted by: rappy at September 17, 2004 12:49 PM

I'm a big fan of the "rubber gripper" thingee works everytime!!

Posted by: Cindy at September 17, 2004 4:54 PM

I spent 30 min. opening a salsa jar and in the end wat worked was using a nail and hammer to poke a hole in the top. This way works great for weak ppl like me.

Posted by: Nicole rox at June 19, 2006 4:59 PM

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