You've been on campus since 8am balancing classes, labs, volunteer work, and maybe finding time to hit the gym. Lunch was hours ago and you're starving. Arriving home or back at the dorm, you're desperate for food of any sort. As the pasta is cooking, the only other necessary ingredient is the jarred sauce. You go to open it, but it's stuck. Your world comes crashing down because there is literally nothing worse than plain old, bland pasta. But fear not—I shall teach you how to open a stuck jar in less time than it takes to order take-out.

#SpoonTip: Your goal is to outsmart the vacuum seal, which ensures and preserves freshness.

1. Heat It Up

Riegann McAuley

Fill a bowl with hot water, either from the tap or by heating on the stove. You only need enough to cover the lid of the jar, not the entire jar. The heat will cause the metal lid to expand faster than the glass jar, making the seal easier to break. This method works especially well if the jar is cold to begin with. Place the jar upside down in the hot water just so that the lid is covered. The seal should break in about two minutes. 

#SpoonTip: If you find yourself in a real pickle, another option is to use a hair dryer to heat metal or glass jars. Plastic has the potential to melt if heated too high, so stick to the hot water method. 

2. Find Something Grippy

Riegann McAuley

Rubber gloves, plastic wrap, a dryer sheet, a textured hand towel, thick elastic bands (or a bunch of small elastics), or a silicon pad are all excellent options since they offer traction and resistance. Place your gripper of choice on top of the lid with one hand and grip the jar with your other hand.  With this extra grip, the seal is much more likely to break. 

3. Leverage

Riegann McAuley

This method requires a long, smooth, and strong utensil that has a small enough edge to fit under the lip of the jar. I'd suggest using a butter knife, a small spoon, or the tip of a screwdriver.

Firmly place the edge of the utensil under the lip of the jar at a 45-degree angle and slowly wiggle it around the seal. This movement equalizes the pressure and breaks the seal. 

#SpoonTip: If opting for this method, use caution—a slip of the hand and you could end up hurting yourself or worse, broken glass in your food.

4. The Wooden Spoon Approach

Riegann McAuley

While this method may be the simplest, it is also the trickiest since you could inadvertently end up making the seal even stronger if you're trying to break a vacuum seal. #oops

I'd recommend using The Wooden Spoon Approach when re-opening a jar that has gotten stuck due to trapped food (instead of using this trick on an unopened jar). Tap the outside edge of the lid with a wooden spoon or rolling pin to dislodge any sticky food that is preventing the lid jar from opening. 

5. The Upside-Down-Hand-Hitting Method

Riegann McAuley

Some people swear by this tactic, but I've never had much luck with it. The theory is that holding the jar upside down in your non-dominant hand and hitting the bottom with the palm of your dominant hand with allow the contents to shift, thus allowing the seal to break.

Chances are, you'll come across a stuck jar at some point in your life. Armed with these five handy tips, hopefully you'll know how to open a stuck jar regardless of the situation. If the above methods fail, take-out is always an option.