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!
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.
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.