Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Lately, friends have been asking what I've been up to. I haven't been out of the house much due to my monster cold and I haven't made my usual phone calls or written emails since that would require my missing in action energy. But once people hear my hacking cough they pretty much assume I'm down for the count in bed.

But that's not the case, or at least it's not entirely the case.

Between the usual doctor's visits and unpleasantness that go with being sick, I have been working very hard to accomplish one simple task that's turned into my number one priority every waking minute of the day since Christmas.

I want to open this huge, half gallon jar of our favorite Four Bean Salad....

It was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law for the holidays-- A gift that's actually produced in my hometown by a company owned by the Mayor. It's one of our very favorite treats and as crazy as it sounds-- it's comfort food for me.

But we can't open the jar to save our lives.

The lid will not budge. We've tapped it, run it under hot water, used the rubber gripper thing, held it upside down, stood on one foot, cursed, prayed and pried, but so far-- The jar, after 16 days of trying, is still not open.

I'm kind of a weakling but my husband is really strong and usually the jar opener in this household, but no luck. Same goes for the people I've asked to try to open the jar, who all also looked strong, not the least of which were:

The Postman,
A Garbage truck driver
Three gardeners
One UPS guy
The FedEx woman
Two next door neighbors
The nanny who works across the street
The guy my husband plays tennis with
Both daughters and a son-in-law
Four dinner guests
And my Rheumatologist (Yes! I actually took the jar to the doctor's office with me-- I'm that desperate!)

So I ask you dear Blog Friends-- What's the trick to opening a stubborn jar of Four Bean Salad? All advice, suggestions and secret tricks welcome.

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins


  1. You are hilarious!
    I have a jar opener, that I bought many years ago from a Pampered Chef party. It clamps onto the top, you squeeze a lever which tightens it, then you turn it open. It always works for me, but it's here in Michigan which doesn't help you much.
    Be sure and post when you get it open!

  2. Hey...at this point I would have used an ice pick to punch a hole in the lid to release the pressure and found a new storage container for the beans.

  3. First, I am surprised that the Fedex lady couldn't do it....
    Secondly, when I get to the point of desperation....which I think you just might be....I take a sturdy knife with a heavy handle out of the drawer and beat the very edge of the jar lid.....right where it is sealed up to the glass....it might break that seal just enough...I ususally hear a little...."Phit" sound telling me that it is ready to turn...let me know if it works!
    Hope you feel better!

  4. worst case scenario...use a glass cutter to cut the bottom off...smiles....

  5. you have to knock the edge of the lid (45 degree angle) on a hard surface. you´ll hear a popping sound. and you´ll be eating 4 bean salad before you can say, "4."

  6. try this: U know those small can openers/bottle top opener? the one where it just pierces a hole? I take that pt. and put it under the rim and it pops the vacuum seal.. works everytime

  7. Did you try to pry a butter knife under where the lid sort of comes down......and wedge it to pop open?

    If that doesn't work...maybe you can just use a REALLY sharp knife to slit a few holes in the top of the lid and open it that way?

  8. If all else fails put a hole in the lid to break the seal and then put into another container :)

  9. I agree with Kalei's Best Friend. I would use a punch type can opener. If it doesn't work on the rim like she suggested, you could punch a hole or two in the top to break the seal which may loosen the lid. If it doesn't loosen, I think you could punch enough holes to remove a piece of the lid and pour the contents out. Good luck! I hope you're feeling better (and enjoying your beans) soon!!

  10. Well, you have a truckload of suggestions there....hope one of them works!

  11. Joanna, I hope you get it open! Unbelievable, lol. (sorry)

  12. good luck, sugar! i KNOW one of the methods will work with your jar because i've used most of them at one time or the other! LOL xoxoxoxo

  13. OK, you like BEANS AS COMFORT FOOD??? arrggghhh!!! Are you sure it is a cold that you have? Smile. I see someone has already offered our suggestion of taking a table knife and tapping around the lid. Be careful..we had a jar once we couldn't open and Dan being the macho guy he is did NOT give up, not till the neck of the bottle broke off.

  14. That is one stubborn jar. I always hit it with a knife.

  15. I hope you have your jar open and enjoying the beans.
    If it still isn't open I bet if you write/call the company and share your struggles, they might even have sympathy and send you a case with easier lids. xo

  16. I picture you cruising the streets of LA with a huge jar of beans in a cute tote stopping random strangers to help you! I like the ice pick idea! Call the bean company maybe they know! Good Luck!

  17. buy another jar?

    been gone for awhile... hope you're feeling better soon.


    "The guy my husband plays tennis with" bahaha

  18. Trying to pop the seal is the best bet. I usually use a spoon, but the bottle openers sound even better. Good luck and hope you feel better soon!

  19. Recovering from a monster cold myself. I usually turn the jar over and bang the heck out of it on a towel on the kitchen counter...usually loosens things up.

  20. Hold a spoon in your hand with the handle, not the spoon end, at your finger tips.
    Turn the spoon over as if emptying the contents to the floor.

    Wedge the end of the spoon handle between the lip of the lid and the jar.

    Slightly put pressure on it as if trying to pry it off. Go all the way around the jar doing this. It should pop the seal.

    And regarding the comfort food, I would rather have those beans for desert than any sweet thing I can think of!

  21. Let us know when you have success!

  22. Don a pair of rubber gloves. One to grasp the jar, the other the lid. Make a face and try not to bust a gut. It should open just before you do. ;) Good luck!

  23. With all these suggestions, I'll bet you are eating beans by now and getting all the comfort possible from them since it took so much effort :)

  24. I have a strap wrench for such things :)

    Aloha from Waikiki

    Comfort Spiral



  25. I cannot add to the answers above, I will check back and see what worked for you.....:-)Hugs

  26. Thanks everyone for the suggestions. We're working our way through the ideas but so far.... The jar is still not open!
    xo Joanna

  27. How about the local jail? The gym with the body builders? Wow, what a crazy situation!

  28. STOP TRYING to open it!
    It is obviously not going to open.
    Send it back to the manufacturer and ask for a new bottle!!!
    If you smash it while trying to open it they won't give you a replacement.

  29. I would also email the manufacturer and let them know just how eager you are and maybe they'll send you another jar free of charge.

    That's a lot of people who can't seem to open it.

    Feel better soon!!

  30. Oh gracious! I would have thought the hot water trick would have worked. That's always worked the best for me. I sure hope you feel better soon. I love 4 bean salad, too.

  31. Put some holes in the lid to release the pressure....

    Hope you manage to open the jar and get some of your comfort food to help you feel better!

  32. Are these the beans that come from Willoughby Ohio? Just wondering...we have this salad as well.
    I can't add to the suggestions about. Good luck

  33. Well shoot, other than calling the company and asking them to send a tech over to open it for you, have you tried the can opener, the hand kind that we used to use to cut the triangle into the metal to pour liquid out? You could make a ring of triangles till the top comes off.

  34. Oh my goodness! I am sorry, I know I should not laugh but I have to admit that I did! I agree that you should call the company and arrange to send it back and have them replace it. If you keep trying to open it, it may break and then you are left with nothing. I have had that happen with two stubborn jars - not opening and then breaking.

    Good luck!
    ~ Tracy

  35. What in the world? Who super glued that thing shut?

    I always tap the edges of the lid on the floor to release the vacuum. It works for me, but probably not for that beast!

  36. Oh, that was so funny, did you really have all those people have a go at the jar ?? And none could do it? Perhaps no one can then.;)
    I have a gizmo for opening stubborn jars, you can see it here:

  37. Your list of people enlisted to try to open your jar just slayed me!
    You need to hire a jewel thief with a glass cutter!

  38. You've already tried all of my secrets - that's one stubborn jar! Sounds like you've gotten some good suggestions, though. I'm eager to hear what works. Good luck and get well!!

  39. Maybe the beans are afraid to come out and catch your cooties?

  40. Wow. I have an OXO jar opener that usully works. But have you tried taking the pointy bit of a manual can opener and prying up the lid an teeny bit at a time all the way around, That often breaks the seal.

  41. wow that salad looks yummy and it's holding out huh?
    a hand can opener. just like you're opening a beer. always does the trick.

  42. I assume at this point you are enjoying your salad. If I had a vote though, it'd be for the old can/bottler opener. Put the sharp end up under the lid and wedge it away from the jar every quarter inch, all the way around. It'll come open. Either that, or make yourself some three-bean salad.



  43. This is an awesome post! The only other thing I have to say other than I'm sorry I can't help you open the jar is ... you think 4 bean salad is a treat? Blech.

    Get well soon, sweetie.

  44. Omg, hysterical! Not so much for you, as you and the fam are dying to eat those suckers. I was going to offer the same thing as Casey a couple of comments ahead of me! Please keep us informed on your progress! Nice site by the way. Will be nosing around for awhile. Hugs, Margie

  45. I can't believe it's still not opened! I just stopped to tell you to stop over at my blog to see what I got with the gift certificate I won from you!

  46. sending healing vibes your way.

    i saw get a butter knife and loosen the grip of that stubborn lid. hope it works ;)

  47. so funny and the comments ~ yeah! what a silly fantastic community you've created

    i'm gonna have to try those beans:)

    hope you're feeling better ♥

  48. That's hilarious. So ummmm what about using a pliers to pull away a piece of the lid so that the air escapes so you can open it. Oorrrrrr use a bottle opener to make multiple holes all the way around and force it open that way?

  49. I usually just put the end of a can opener ( the pointed kind that you use for drinks ) under the jar lid to break the seal...but it sounds like you've tried everything on earth! Have you talked to the folks who made the product?

  50. I suggest running very hot water over the lid to encourage expansion, then hit the lid sharply with the blunt end of a heavy utensil, then cover with a damp washcloth and get the biggest hunk in your household to twist!

  51. Have you really tried to just talk to it... sometimes just talking.. LOL I would have busted out my drill and pull a nice lil hole in that sucker by now!
    Thank you for coming by all the time I appreciate you!

  52. Place the jar half inch deep in a bath of ice. When it's really cold, place it in a bowl to same depth of boiling water. The violent change in temperature should crack the glass all round the bottom, and the bottom should just break away cleanly. Then you lift the top off and catch the contents in something clean, and enjoy

  53. hold it in your left hand sort of tilted so you can see the bottom. use the palm of your right hand and hit the bottom. You might have to hit it twice or until you hear a sort of pop as the air in the lid is relieved. I was taught this by a bar tender who did it a lot to get liquor bottles open. I use that method on all kinds of things with lids.

  54. Oh my, that is terrible. It must be so frustrating when you really want to open it and cant. It sounds like everyone has tried everything. I would be ringing up the company and telling them to send you a replacement, QUICK!


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