When you're on the verge of a snack attack, there's little more frustrating than when the lid is too tight and a quick treat becomes a challenge. Luckily, smart people across the internet (and long before) have come up with many ways to break into stubborn jars without accidentally shattering the glass or leaving your hand with a nasty road rash. Don't let a stuck lid foil your snacking!
It's not always the airtight seal stopping you from cracking open the jar. Sometimes, you just can't get a good enough grip on that shiny, slippery lid. Luckily, items around your kitchen can probably help! If nothing else is available, try wrapping a towel or rag around the lid to give you some traction. Sometimes, dampening the cloth slightly will help it grip better.
A bubble of air at the top of the lid is part of the airtight vacuum seal in most glass jars. If you tap the bubble hard enough, you'll be able to break the seal. Use a wooden spoon or the flat edge of a butter knife to firmly tap on the center of the lid several times. When you grab the jar again, you should be able to easily pry it open.
The "water hammer" method raises the pressure near the lid and breaks the seal. Hold the jar in your non-dominant hand at a 45-degree angle or upside-down, then use your dominant hand to firmly slap the base of the jar. You will hear a small pop when you've successfully broken the seal. The lid should turn more easily, now!
You'd be surprised at how little effort it takes at just the right spot to pry open your jar lid with a poke. Using a metal spoon or butter knife, insert the tip between the lid and the jar. You will hear a hissing noise or a small pop when you've broken the seal.
There are many ways to heat up the top of the jar to make the metal in the lid expand. Hot water is the most common. Simply run the top of the jar under hot water for about a minute, or use a hair dryer to heat up the area between the lid and the jar for a few minutes. Open the lid with a dishcloth to avoid getting burned.
Another way of disrupting the air seal is to increase the pressure inside by giving the jar a few good knocks. Bang the side of the lid against a hard surface, preferably wood, without striking the glass of the jar itself. Rotate the lid while doing so to disrupt the pressure from different sides. Be very careful, and consider wrapping the jar in a towel before you do this, just in case it cracks.
Rubber is great for giving you a more solid grip on jars. You can put on a pair of rubber gloves or put a thick rubber band around the lid. Silicone mats work just as well. The goal is to have something that is rough or thick and tacky between your hand and the jar lid.
If you don't have any rubber, wrap plastic wrap around a jar lid and secure it in place with a rubber band. Use your self-made grip to twist open the lid. You might have to add a second layer of plastic wrap or wrap the rubber band around a few times to make it secure enough.
Duct tape lends its strength to create a sort of handle for your jar lid. Wrap duct tape around the lid, leaving about two inches on both sides. Press these sticky flaps together to make a handle. Holding the jar with your non-dominant hand, use your dominant one to tug the duct tape handle and pull open the lid.
When all else fails, you simply can't make the same method work to open jars every time, or you just love gadgets, get a jar opening device. These dedicated tools are also very useful for people who have hand or physical strength issues, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, or injuries. Manual ones provide the solid grip you need, while others offer hands-free jar opening.
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