Open Stubborn Jars Easily With The Back Of Your Knife

When twisting the lid as hard as you can just isn't working, there are plenty of ways to open a brand-new, stubborn jar of pasta sauce or jam. While some methods require a specialized gadget, other hacks call for tools you already have, such as a humble knife. Don't worry; we're not telling you to pry the tip of the blade under the lid, which is a fast path to the ER. This hack uses the dull back side of the blade instead.

To try it, place the offending jar on a flat surface and grip the bottom of it with one hand. This keeps your fingers far away from the blade. Use your other hand to hold the knife with its dull side facing down, at a roughly 45-degree angle from the jar. Give the jar at least three good whacks on the edge of the lid, spacing them out by an inch or two. These small indentations will break the vacuum seal, allowing you to remove the lid with little effort.

While this trick isn't dangerous, so long as you keep a solid grip on the jar and knife, whacking with a sharp chef's knife or santoku knife might make some of us nervous. A sturdy metal butter knife can work just as well. And while this method shouldn't break the jar, it's a good idea to thwack with a lighter hand before applying more force.

Other dos and don'ts when opening a stubborn jar

While using the tip of a sharp knife to pry open a lid can be risky (both to you and your nice kitchen knives), there's a similar but much safer alternative method you can try. This jar-busting trick should definitely be attempted with a butter knife. Place the tip of the utensil under the lid's edge, then use it as a lever to break the seal around the underside of the lid. Once you hear a pop, you can easily take off the lid.

One potentially dangerous method we advise against is stabbing your jar lid. This certainly breaks the seal, but you risk missing the jar and cutting your hand. What's more, stabbing the lid renders it useless in food preservation, so this method isn't great if you plan to reseal or reuse the jar, and you will likely damage your knife in the process. We also recommend you not try the method of smacking the jar against a counter, as you could break the jar and cut yourself on the glass shards. Always be safe in your jar-opening endeavors.

How to open a jar without using a kitchen knife

Because knives can be dangerous tools, you might be looking for jar-opening methods that are less likely to end in injury. For instance, you can swap out a knife for a spoon in the lever method. Simply use the edge of a spoon to pry up the lid, and you're good to go. You can also use a spoon to tap around the lid to break the seal just as you would a knife.

In the event you have a rubber band available, you can try Martha Stewart's jar-opening hack. This method is as easy as wrapping a rubber band around the lid to increase friction between the metal and your hand, like how you might use a grippy pad. Easy peasy, jar-lid squeezy.

If you don't have any utensils on hand, you can also hit the bottom of the jar with your hand in an attempt to break (or at least loosen) the seal. For a hands-off approach, you can use the hot water trick, which entails running the lid under a faucet or dunking it into boiling water until the metal expands. Either way, you'll be able to easily remove the lid. Just don't burn yourself in the process.