Store

Monday, May 14, 2012

Storing your Canning jars - Do's and Don'ts

Many canners during the season search for locations in their homes where they are able to store their precious jars. Finding that perfect spot sometimes can be a challenge and the "Do's and Don'ts" of storage are important to keep in mind.

The most important "Don't" before we start is never put any jars that have not been properly processed either by water bath or pressure canning methods or the lids have not sealed into your storage. They will not be shelf stable and could make someone sick if consumed or worse!

1. Don't store your jars in a hot garage or in a basement near the heater or boiler. Do find a cool place between 50 and 70 degrees to keep your jars. Reason: If the contents of the jars are stored in a warm place or in direct sunlight the food may lose some of its eating quality in a few weeks or months, sooner if the temperature is anything like Vegas in the summer! 

canning pantry ideas
Dark pantry!
2. Don't store your jars in wet or damp area. Do find a location that is dry and has some circulation. Reason: Dampness may rust the metal lids and rings and could cause leakage so the food will spoil. Storing the jars in a cool dark pantry, closet, or some have even stored them under their bed, but in the house is optimal.
canning red pepper jelly
3.Don't store your jars with the rings still on the lid. Do take the rings off!  Reason:  If there is a problem and bacteria develops in the jar the lid will release from the build up of gas inside the jar. The lid will be lose and when you open the jar and the lid will just slide right off. If you leave the ring on and the bacteria develops the lid is being held down by the ring and over time the lid may reseal itself and will trap the bacteria inside and you will not know. 

where to store your canning jars
4. Don't stack your jars. Do find space for them to be in a single layer either in boxes or on shelves. Reason: There are two reasons to not stack jars, first there is the danger of jars falling over and breaking, but more important is that you are again putting a heavy object on the lids of the bottom jars and possibly trapping bacteria you may have in your food. If you do not have sufficient space in your cabinets do your best to unstack as you eat the jars.

5. Don't lay your jars on their side or upside down. Do keep your lids up! Reason: Natural ingredients in some foods, in particular foods with acid, corrode metal from the lid and make a dark deposit on the underside of jars. This deposit on lids of sealed, properly processed jars is harmless but will detract from giving the jar as a gift and will look visually unappealing. 

No idea what this is!!!
Clear writing and dated!
6. Don't forget to label your jars. Do mark the lid using a permanent marker with the name of the recipe and date canned or create a sticker label with the same information. Reason: Again two reasons to make sure your jars are properly marked; make sure you know what's in the jar since sometimes the color and contents are not obvious as to what's inside and the date will let you know how old the contents are in the jar. 

7. Don't put the jars in the pantry without wiping them down. Do take the time to remove the rings and wipe down the sides of your jars. Reason: It's important to clean any food residue or if you are pressure canning you may have some residual fat from canning meat on the outside of the jar. Cleaning the outside with warm soapy water helps to avoid ants and other insects in your pantry.

8. Don't leave the jars unchecked. Do take the time to rotate your jars by date as you pull jars out of your pantry. Reason: Since the optimal quality in the food we can is one year for any type of processing you will want to want to fill your shelves just like a grocery store. Pull the older jars to the front and newer projects to the back or create a section of it's own. The date on the lid of the jar will help to keep you organized. 

If you have any other Do's and Don'ts for storing jars I would love your feedback. For me it's just as important as the processing. During my certification process we were told a story about a women who called into the Extension office about a can of meat that had been in her basement storage for 30 years. The jar looked a little oxidized but when opened it smelled as fresh as the day it was canned. She didn't eat the contents but it was a great example of the perfect storage will help to preserve your hard work. 

Printfriendly