Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Preserve Dried Goods and Store for Up to 20 Years!!

A couple of months ago I was reading one of my favorite magazines, Countryside, and came across an awesome article about oven canning. I had personally never heard of it before, but was intrigued. So I followed the directions step by step and am now addicted (just one of my natural addictions) to preserving dried goods.

Even though store bought dried goods will last for a couple of years, chances are within a certain length of time weavels and other bugs will get into them and they will begin to taste stale. Oven canning these goodies will preserve them for long periods of time, which is awesome for the emergency prepper, like myself.

Here is a rundown for the process of oven canning.

What you need:

Dried goods (rice, pasta, cereal, dried fruit, dried vegetables, dried herbs, etc)
Canning jars of any shape or size
Canning lids to fit the canning jars
Cookie sheet
Paper towel
Water


Step 1: Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Step 2: Place cookie sheet into preheating oven.

Step 3: Fill jars with dried goods, leaving the lids off

Step 4: Place jars on cookie sheet in the oven for 1 hour.

Step 5: Remove carefully from oven. Take a damp paper towel and wipe the mouth of the jar with it. Place lid firmly on the jar.

Step 6: Listen for popping to indicate that the jar has sealed. As in regular canning, not all jars will seal. If the jar does not seal it could be an indication of a bad lid or a bad jar or just plain dumb luck. You can try it again for that jar or be satisfied in knowing that at least your dried goods are kept safe from bugs.

Another little nifty trick for those that do not want to preserve their dried goods for long periods of time, but would like to keep the little critters out is to put bay leaves in their jars and bags of dried goods.

35 comments:

  1. I've never heard of this before. I love it though because anyone can do it! All you need is an oven. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. I store pasta in canning jars all the time.

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  3. Really??
    I will try this. Thanks for the tip.
    Carmel

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  4. Great info. I've been wondering for a while now, if there was a way to "can" dried goods. Obviously, this method wouldn't work for sugar but what about items like cereal, oatmeal, flour and grits? Has anyone attempted any of those items?

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    1. things like sugar and flower can be canned using a vacuum canner.

      http://www.lazybudgetchef.com/2013/06/diy-mason-jar-vacuum-sealer.html

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    2. salt and sugar generally don't go bad, but they do have the natural tendency to attract water and harden, if salt or sugar turn into a solid block, you can just chip/scrape off what you need....flour does contain fatty acids which can and will go bad, it's best to store it whole grain for long term, or frequently rotate the milled stuff....honey doesn't go bad, it just crystalizes over time, but does not loose it's taste and benefits.
      the less oxygen and natural light, and low temps, the longer the storage for whole grains,

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    3. I've been doing this for several years now. I just opened a jar of dry instant milk that had a date of 3/12/11 on it. (I had run out of milk and didn't have time to run to the store) It was just as good as the day I canned it.

      I've done this with oatmeal, grits, flour (all purpose) oyster crackers, Cheez-its, pasta, rice, just about anything dry I could think of to can.
      Since I opened that jar of dry milk, I decided to open jars of other items to test them - ALL GOOD!!!

      I also store most dry items in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers (do NOT use oxygen absorbers with sugar) I vacuum seal sugar and salt first just as an added moisture proof protection.

      Even OTC medicines and some RX meds can be stored in vacuum sealed bags with oxygen absorbers then in mylar bags. Spices the same way.

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  5. I love using my food saver with the canning attachment that removes the air from the jar to aid in long term storage. I haven't tried oven canning, but will definitely look more into it.

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  6. Please keep in mind most canning sites and books recommend against oven canning because of the possibility of the jars exploding in your oven. The jars are made for the wet heat of boiling water not the dry heat of ovens. That said I've canned dry goods in the oven several times without incident since the temp is so low. Just be aware of the possibility and take precautions.

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    1. But people BAKE in canning jars in the oven...cakes, cheese cakes, breads....

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    2. Yes, they do...AGAINST manufacturers recommendation. NO, the jar will probably not explode. It probably doesn't explode 1 time in 500 or even 1000. Even if it did explode, it probably wouldn't be at the exact time you were sticking your face into the oven to get the jars out. But, there is the possibility that it COULD happen. The jars are MADE for a wet heat. If you choose to cook with jars in an oven, be aware of the danger slight as it may be. Also, if you seal oven cooked, wet, low acid breads or cakes in a jar, you are putting yourself at risk to botulism. The bread does not get to 240* for long enough to kill the bacteria.

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    3. yes you can with any rice-= but I prefer oxygen absorbers

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    4. I have been oven canning for many years and have never had a jar explode or even so much as crack!!!

      I also prefer using oxygen absorbers and put one in the jars. My favorite method of long term preservation of dry goods is to use mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. Sometimes I vacuum seal the goods (with the OA in with it) before putting in the mylar bags.
      Do NOT us oxygen absorbers with sugar - you will end up with a solid block,

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  7. If you don't get rid of some of the oxygen in the jar, I think you will likely be disappointed in 20 yrs.

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  8. Why not simply use a Food Saver vacuum and with an appropriate lid attachment to seal these?

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  9. because a food saver costs money and this is a "natural peasant" blog not a "natural styling with my fat cheddar stacks" blog?

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  10. I first saw this a few months back on Palmetto Prepper facebook page. It looks intriguing and we hope to try this out

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  11. I've been doing this for a while. I dry can everything that I need to save. I have canned dried beans, flour, grits, mashed potatoes.. anything dried, gets canned. Its such a money saver. Things can be purchased in bulk without the fear of bugs or going bad. I want the food saver attachment to aid in my preserving.

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  12. But can you do this with brown rice?

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  13. I was blessed with a food saver as a gift and purchased the jar attachment. The instructions that came with were woefully limited so I looked online. What I found was with anything powdery, like flour, you could clog your machine. So I haven't used it for any dry goods as of yet, not knowing how long dry goods would last. I love the idea of using the oven canning method!

    P.S. I have used the canning attachment for wet foods, salads and fruits I want to save in my fridge in glass jars. I have been able to keep these items for a couple of weeks - much longer than normal - I LOVE that!

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    1. a quick tip for powdery items,once your jar is full place a paper cupcake liner on top of the dry ingredients inside the jar and seal like normal ~ the cupcake liner will act like a filter and allow air to pass through but no powder ingredients :o)

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  14. I wonder, using an oxygen absorber would work as well correct?

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  15. NickM, Oxygen removes air but the heat is to aid in killing any insect/larvae in flour/grains

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  16. Can I do this with flour? Or how can i store flour for twenty years without getting bugs?

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    1. The best way to store flour (all purpose is best) for the long term is to put in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.

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  17. Saw a YouTube video where a man did this with saltine crackers. He opened a 10 yr old jar and the crackers still had the snap of freshness and he said that the quality was still very good. Don't do this with dry milk, it will burn it. Also dried green beens and peppers did not do well.

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    1. I have done the saltines and yes this worked for them.

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  18. I'm going to give this a try since it just kills me to throw out insect infested food! Brilliant!

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  19. The oven heat will sanitize the jars and the dried food inside, but what about the lids? The lids in normal canning are boiled as are the jars. Do the lids need to be boiled or is that not necessary because dried goods are cooked later and this is just a way to keep air and moisture out?

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    1. Another site says to prep the lids and rings like you do for wet canning - boil and keep in hot water until ready to use. That also softens the rubber on the lid to make it seal better.

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  20. Nice article. I am sharing to my blog here http://survivalgearup.blogspot.com

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  21. Instead of boiling the lids, I put them on a heating pad. That way I'm not introducing any moisture into my dry goods. I cover the heating pad with a clean dish cloth and let the lids warm while I have the filled jars in the oven.

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  22. I freeze my flour for 3 or 4 days to kill any critters.....then put 8 cups of flour in a paper sandwich bag...tape it closed , poke a hole in the bag then vacuum seal in a food saver plastic bag........also all my other dry goods get vacuum sealed in 1/2 gal jars with oxygen absorbers......

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