You’ve made a very nice sandwich for your lunch, and all it needs is pickles. You go to the jar and – oomph, aaargh, &@%##!! The lid won’t budge.
Never fear, here are nine idiot-proof methods of breaking that stubborn vacuum seal until you hear the little “pop” that signifies success.
- The nearest person. What’s nice about asking someone “can you open this for me please?” is that they feel useful, and you feel grateful. This is known in relationship circles as positive reinforcement.
- The can-opener. Using an old-fashioned manual punch can-opener as a jar-opener is legit. Just place the hook under the lid and pull the lever up until you hear the pop that means you’ve broken the vacuum seal. If it doesn’t work the first time, move it around the lid and try again.
- The hot water. Either run the lid under the hot water tap for one minute, or turn the jar upside-down and immerse the lid in hot water for two minutes. The metal will expand, making the lid easier to turn. If it’s a jar that has already been opened and stored, it may be that the food itself is the sticking point. The hot water method will help soften the offending food and release the lid.
- The bum whack. Turn the jar upside down for 10 seconds then give the base a good whack. The pressure of the liquid contents moving towards the lid is often enough to break the vacuum. See also: Banging the upside-down jar two or three times on a folded tea towel on a benchtop (not hard enough to break it, obviously).
- The squeeze. Clasp your fingers over the jar, and push the heels of your hands against either side of the lid until you hear a pop. Fun fact: this is also the best way to crack a walnut if you can’t find the nutcracker.
- The rubber band. A thick rubber band stretched around the lid will give you good traction for twisting. Grippy oven gloves, same.
- The tap. This method has a lot of fans. Take a heavy wooden spoon and tap the lid at north, south, east and west compass points, then twist and release.
- The spoon. Take a teaspoon, insert the tip under the lid, and pull up until you hear the pop. Not for beginners, as the spoon can slide away from you. Using a knife or a screwdriver for leverage is not recommended.
- Admit defeat and buy the jar-opening thingy. The Jarkey, a Danish invention, is a simple plastic jar-opener that works like a can-opener. It’s easy and safe to use, particularly good for those with arthritis, and costs less than $10 from Howards Storage World.
Have success with any one of these methods, and you’ll never need anyone’s help to open a jar of sauce again. Great news for your lunch, bad news for your relationship.