The Rubber Band Trick Martha Stewart Uses To Open Stubborn Jars

In theory, jars make food prep and storage more convenient. Instead of whipping up pasta sauce from scratch, for example, you can just crack open a jar. Dill pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut — anything fermented or pickled is at your fingertips too. A stubborn lid, however, can quickly take away the convenience of jarred food. Sometimes you can just run it under hot water or tap it on the counter, but every once in a while, you'll encounter a jar that seems like it's superglued shut.

If struggling to open a jar is really starting to cut into your cooking time, Martha Stewart's trick is sure to come in handy. As the celebrity chef shared in a clip from an older episode of her show republished to TikTok, all it takes is some rubber bands. Simply wrap about three of them around the lid of the jar, then give it a twist. Without nearly as much effort, it should pop right off.

Why Martha Stewart's trick works

When a jar won't open, there are two main reasons. The first is slipperiness. If your hands or the jar itself are wet or oily, it'll be a lot harder to physically twist the lid. The second reason is that the vacuum seal is stronger than normal. The hotter the food is when it's canned, the more pressure that is created when the air trapped inside cools.

@marthastewart

Open those stubborn lids with this easy rubber band trick. #rubberband #kitchenhack #openingjar

♬ original sound – Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart's trick should work whether your jar is slippery or has a strong vacuum seal. Opening a jar has less to do with strength and more to do with grip, University of Nottingham Trent University mathematician James Hind, tells Mel Magazine. If you get a good grip on the lid, you'll be able to provide enough force to at least create a bit of space for air to escape the jar, ultimately loosening the seal. Though it helps to be strong, you can get just as good of a grip on the lid with a few rubber bands — Stewart recommends using thick ones for best results.

Alternatives to rubber bands

If you don't normally stash any rubber bands in your desk drawer, check your refrigerator before you go out and buy some. Produce such as broccoli and asparagus is often sold bunched together with rubber bands, so you may have some on hand without realizing. However even if you don't, there are still other alternatives you can use.

Rubber gloves are just as grippy as rubber bands, and can therefore be used the same way. In fact, they may even be more effective if you're trying to open a larger lidded jar that might otherwise require bigger or multiple rubber bands. Disposable latex gloves can also work, but try to use reusable rubber gloves. If you don't have any of these in your kitchen, turn to a silicone pot holder, baking mat or something similar. Either one should give you enough grip to open a stubborn jar, but always opt for rubber bands first if you can.