Let’s start with a simple question – which way should you hold a set of jar lifters?
Today is another common sense tip that took me too long to learn – it seems so obvious in retrospect. Photo 2 is the correct way (the black cars are handles).
Many people hold them the “wrong” way. I know this because
a) Google showed me so
b) I was one of them for more than 10 years.
Directions are never provided with these tongs – I suppose the inventors figure it’s obvious. I’m not entirely certain of the logic I had in thinking that black handle was the lifter but I think it was along the lines that it’s cylindrical profile would more easily grab any sized rim and that the exposed metal close to the back bars could easily burn me if it got too hot. I lifted hundreds of jars out of boiling water using the black cylinders to lift. Jars would be difficult to control but a little bit of practice teaches you all you need to know to safely and efficiently pick them out of the water in this manner.
It was in the middle of last summer that I accidentally saw a photo of someone using back part as handles. I laughed at first, thinking they clearly had their tongs upside down. I even grabbed my lifters and an empty jar to see how much more difficult it must be to use it that way.
I was shocked.
Try it both ways to prove it to yourself. The molded bars opposite the straight cylinders (also known as handles..heh..) are curved to fit standard and wide-mouthed jars. Jars that fall on their side can be picked up as easily as those which are vertical and they fit in tight spaces between jars that much easier. It is next to impossible to drop a jar that is picked up with the correct end of the tongs.
I do wish that someone made these things 3-4 inches longer. Many canners boil/steam 1-1.5 L bottles in 2 layers – since the lifters are almost the same height as a large bottle, this makes digging the lower level of jars out of boiling water a very difficult task. By the time August rolls around my hands are usually so toughened that a quick scald is barely noticeable.