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Putting up dry goods in canning jars

Discussion in 'Emergency Preparedness' started by Veggie PAK, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. Oct 2, 2011
    Veggie PAK

    Veggie PAK Power Conserver

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    When preparing to store dry beans, rice, flour, sugar, etc. in canning jars, is it necessary to sterilize the jars before use, or is it sufficient to thoroughly wash them in hot soapy water and rinse them well and let them dry completely before use? I plan to use oxygen absorbers in everything dry except sugar and salt. Do any of you use canning jars and do this? Were you successful? Did you encounter problems you didn't expect?

    I plan to use this type of stored food for near future use. The long range food will be stored in Mylar bags with O2 absorbers inside steel barrels, and some will be of the freeze-dried type in #10 cans.
  2. Oct 2, 2011
    snapshot

    snapshot Farmwife

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    Looking forward to answers on this one! :pop
  3. Oct 2, 2011
    Wannabefree

    Wannabefree Little Miss Sunshine

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    My sugar is lumpy, but everything else seems to be fine. I don't store salt this way, but I would assume it would be lumpy as well.
  4. Oct 2, 2011
    ~gd

    ~gd Lovin' The Homestead

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    Yes I tried this without sterilized jars and had mold proplems. Took them to the canning "expert" at the County co-op extension service who told me that the spores for the mold might have come from the jars but more likely from the contents (dry beans) I did not use oxygen absorbers but was told that they might not have helped and might have made the problem worse since the lack of oxygen actually promoted the deadly cause of food posioning. She recommended that I made sure that the contents and jars were really dry and a packet of silica gel (used for drying flowers) be placed in each jar to absorb any free moisture. She suggested either the Dry cycle of a auto dish washer or oven drying my clean jars using the lowest heat setting.
    If I understand the mylar bag system most of the air is sucked out before they are sealed so moisture is less of a problem? ~gd
  5. Oct 2, 2011
    k0xxx

    k0xxx Mr. Sunshine

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    We use canning jars to store most of our dehydrated fruits and vegetables. These are normally short term storage, of usually not more than six months before being used. We store sugar, salt, beans, grains, etc., in mylar. So far, have not had any problem with mold in either the jars or the bags. We make sure that the jars are clean (hand washed) and very well dried. A 300cc O2 absorber is added to each quart and pint jar.

    Our mylar bags are not vacuumed to remove O2, but rather we remove as much air by hand and then add a 2000cc O2 absorber to each 5 gallon size bag. If we are storing something that has a lot of air space, like pasta, we'll add another absorber for insurance.
  6. Oct 2, 2011
    freemotion

    freemotion Food Guru

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    Moisture in the goods going into the jar will be a problem whether or not you use oxygen absorbers....I put home-dried stuff in the jar and leave it overnight, tightly sealed, and inspect it closely for any moisture inside the jar. If there is any hint of water, the stuff goes back into the dehydrator or slow oven. I just did a batch of corn for cornmeal this way. I like the old glass-top jars with new rubber rings because you can get a really tight seal on them, tighter than the screw-top jars, without heat sealing the jar. I did up 100# of wheat berries last year and I have one jar with bugs. No others. So that means the bugs crept in somehow under the rim of the lid. However, this one jar was not a canning jar but a glass quart juice jar.

    I got two old cases of sugar in cans with oxygen absorbers....maybe from 1998 or so?.....and the sugar is basically a can-shaped brick. But it still works. It is just a pain in the tush to deal with, so I'm only using it to make wine...since I need the entire can for a batch so I don't have to pulverize it. I just have to get it out. This would be a bigger problem with glass jars, since I have to bang on the sugar brick.

    I haven't done any very long-term storage in jars, however, since I rotate my stock so it is rarely much older than two years. I shoot for one year.
  7. Oct 2, 2011
    lighthawk

    lighthawk Lovin' The Homestead

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    So that means the bugs crept in somehow under the rim of the lid. However, this one jar was not a canning jar but a glass quart juice jar.

    The bugs did not get in through the seal. Flour bug eggs were already in the flour and they hatched inside the container. The best way to prevent that is to freeze the flour prior to storing it to kill the eggs. I fill used (clean and dry) powerade bottles packed to the rim and sealed. They are then stored in the door shelves in my upright freezer. They fit perfectly and each bottle holds 3-4 cups (rough estimate) of flour. I only cook for myself so it would take me forever to use up a 10 lb. sack.
  8. Oct 2, 2011
    freemotion

    freemotion Food Guru

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    Can't be, since I put 100 lbs of wheat berries into jars and only one ended up with bugs. And that was over a year later. Otherwise, I'd agree with you. I always isolate purchases from whole food stores by putting everything away in glass jars right away just in case there is a hatch-out. I've lost and saved a lot of stuff this way over the years.
  9. Oct 2, 2011
    TanksHill

    TanksHill Super Self-Sufficient

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    You might want to do a search for oven canning. Its a method of putting dry goods, beans etc in the jars and then heating a low oven. This has two purposes, one it kills any beasties in the goods and two after you take them out and put your lid and ring on they self seal. There was an article I believe in Country Side about this method last month.

    g
  10. Oct 2, 2011
    Britesea

    Britesea Lovin' The Homestead

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    My MIL used to use the oven canning method for storing walnuts from their trees. She never had any problems with mold and even after 10 years, the walnuts were crisp and delicious - not rancid at all. I know this because we found an overlooked jar and tried them.

    I have stored dry goods in jars for years because we had a huge mouse problem when we moved into the house. I never did anything special- just moved cereals and flour etc from the paper bags into clean dry jars. Of course, we weren't trying for long storage- most of the time the jar was empty within 6 months or less. I don't use my canning jars for this because they are too precious-- I need them for canning- Instead, I save peanut butter jars and mayonnaise jars for dry storage.

    I suspect sugar and salt (pure salt- not the table stuff that has dextrose in it to keep it from clumping) is going to harden no matter what you do. Resign yourself to doing as they did in the old days-- pounding a chunk of it to powder for table and baking use. Note to self- get a good mortar and pestle.

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