There are many advantages to vacuum sealing foods and storing food in mason jars. The process itself may vary depending on the vacuum sealer being used, and/or what food types are being stored, however, the outcome and benefits will be the same if done correctly. With a bit of practice and repetition, you can easily become a pro at canning foods.
Canning and storing foods in mason jars will give you great tasting foods that have retained their nutrients and original flavors. But if done incorrectly, you could pay the price by having to get rid off spoiled foods. So, here are some basic tips for storing food in mason jars.
Storing Food in Mason Jars: Types of Food To Store
You can store just about anything in a sealed mason jar. Everything from herbs and spices, fruits and vegetables, dry foods that have been dehydrated and even meals in a jar.
Some fruits that can be canned or dehydrated and stored in mason jars include, apples, peaches, pears, pineapple, oranges and more.
Some vegetables you can store in mason jars include asparagus, green beans, squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes, beets, carrots, and so on.
Some dry foods include dehydrated vegetables, fruits, brown rice (which is great dehydrated, and can be used as a minute rice in recipes), beans and more.
Some popular food choices for canning include tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach and other foods that can be tossed into soups, stews and entrees.
Preparing and Filling Foods for Sealing
Before canning foods, make sure you wash all of your jars, the lids and the seals. Put water in the canner and place the jars on the rack. Bring to a simmer (not boiling), and keep jars hot until you’re ready to use them.
Next place the flat lids in a saucepan of water and bring the water to a simmer, but not boiling. Keep them hot until ready to use. You do not need to heat the screw bands.
Processing and Heating Mason Jars
When storing food in mason jars, fill your jars with the prepared foods using a funnel or ladle after preparing them according to your canning recipes. Use canning tongs to remove hot jars one at a time for filling.
Make sure there are no air bubbles in the jar, and also make sure you leave enough space at the top of the jar according to your recipe.
Take a clean, dry cloth and remove any excess food from the rims of the jars, making sure they are clean.
Place the flat lid on the center of the jar and screw on the band.
Place the filled jars back into the canner. After all are in there, fill it so that there is about 1” of water above the jars.
Cover the canner and bring water to a full boil. Boil the length of time that is recommended in your recipe, which will vary according to recipe.
Where and How to Store Canned Foods?
Store your canned foods in a cool place away from sunlight and heat. Do not freeze them, but make sure the space is cool. A basement is a good choice, however if you don’t have a basement, consider a closet or pantry.
It’s best to store them without the bands, this way, if a jar come unsealed, you’ll know quicker, because the spoiled food will make the lid come loose and possibly pop up a little from the jar.
Safe storage temperatures are between 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Also keep canned foods away from water and moisture, which will cause lids to rust.
Sealing and Resealing Mason Jars for Reuse
You can reuse canning jars and the screw bands by simply washing them thoroughly with soap and water and then boiling the jars and lids for 20 minutes to remove any bacteria that washing may have missed. You can get sick from left-over food bacteria, so make sure you wash and sanitize jars properly every time.
Then you can refill the jars and boil them as the recipes call for, just like you would new jars.
Can Foods Stored in Mason Jars Go Bad?
Canned food can go bad if it is not stored properly, or if it isn’t sealed properly. There are also times that canned goods might come unsealed during storage, and your food will go bad.
Just a reminder when storing food long term, keep foods in a dry, cool place away from heaters, sunlight and any other kinds of heat.
Keep jars free from water and moisture, too.
Storing food in mason jars is pretty easy to do with a vacuum sealer. Jars are sealed with vacuum sealers to keep air out and to prevent bacteria from forming which can occur when foods are stored long term. Many vacuum sealers, such as FoodSaver models, are equipped with ports for use with jar sealers and other accessories.
Storing Foods In Vacuum Sealed Mason Jars
Storing food in mason jars has its benefits but can also be costly if not done correctly. If you prepare, seal, and store canned food properly, stored foods can last for months or even years and offer you and your family great tasting meals, full of nutrition. If you are wondering, as I once did, if vacuum sealing and storing foods in mason jars is safe, a good reference would be “National Center for Home Food Preservation” or “Should I Vacuum Package Foods at Home.”