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There's a Nationwide Shortage of This Staple Kitchen Tool

And it's the biggest one in four decades.

If you've recently decided to try your hand at canning your own jams, preserves, or pickles, you may have encountered one crucial problem—a shortage of glass jars and lids.

That's because thousands of Americans had the same idea, taking up cooking, baking, and even growing their own food as a way to save money and relieve stress during the pandemic. Finding ways to use and preserve the fruits of their labor has created one of the biggest canning supply shortages in over 40 years, according to a report from North Carolina State University. (Related: 8 Grocery Items That May Soon Be in Short Supply.)

In fact, the lids are even harder to come by than the jars. According to Marie Bregg, owner of online retailer Mason Jar Merchant, most of the demand is for the two-part lids used in canning, because they are single-use. "Our sales basically went up 600% that week and haven't dropped since," she told CNN referring to the week in mid August when she noticed a huge surge in demand. In fact, her website even displays a prominent banner that reads 'Canning lid shortage update click here.'

Experts agree that it's the surge of rookie gardeners and canners that's likely responsible for the shortage. "There's so many more people canning this year than have ever canned. We have seen a big upswing in new people trying to can," said Nellie Oehler, the coordinator for Oregon State University's statewide food preservation hotline. She added she's been answering calls from all over the country about the lack of supplies.

A spokesperson for Newell Brands, the company that now owns biggest manufacturers of glass jars, Ball and Kerr, said the entire canning industry has seen an unprecedented demand for supplies. However, the situation may be back to normal in December, when retailers say they are expecting to start filling the backorders they're currently sitting on.

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Mura Dominko
Mura is ETNT's Executive Editor, leading the coverage of America's favorite restaurant chains, grocery stores, and viral food moments. Read more about Mura