R. Ann Parris on How-To: Vac Sealing Canning Jars

 

How-To: Vac Sealing Canning Jars by R. Ann Parris

Being able to vac seal canning jars increases what we can store in our canning jars, and there’s a whole heap of reasons to turn to canning jars instead of other storage containers.

#1 – We might as well be using the heaping ton of canning jars we’ll need to preserve significant amounts of the foods we eat as have them sitting around empty and wasting space.

Also, though…
• Canning jars can offer increased pest and moisture resistance over some packaging.
• They offer increased protection for delicate foods/items.
• In some cases, they actually save space versus original packaging.
• Canning jars make for decent portion sizes for several different areas of use.

To vac seal, we’ll need one of two things to go with our canning jars and lids.

We can get food-saver vacuum sealers, with either manual or electric pumps. They use regular canning jar lids and an adapter cap that sits overtop during the sealing process.

Electrics are nice because they automatically stop. Manual pumps are like variable-pump airguns, getting harder to press as you go, so it can turn into quite the workout. However, they don’t require electricity and they’re typically pretty compact.

Both pumps and the caps are reusable pretty indefinitely, and there’s no rush about filling jars and getting them sealed as there is with O2-eater packets.

I tend to use oxygen-absorber insert packets for a lot of foods. (25-50cc for pints, 50-100cc for quarts, 100-200cc for gallons). I tend to go high and higher-yet for foods I can anticipate opening and resealing (small fruits, nuts, some spices, sugar).

You do have to move with a purpose because those packets start sucking up air as soon as they’re exposed, and they only have so much they can absorb total. I tend to fill jars, open the oxygen absorbers, tuck one to the side and-or on top, and put the lid as I go. I usually only do 1-3 flats at a time.

I tend to buy my jar-sized O2-eaters in lots of 20-50 per package to make sure I’m not opening an excessive number at once. I also keep some spare jars and lids on hand to seal up the leftover O2-eaters after each “canning” session.

Be Sure It’s Sealed.

Just like regular canning, the lids on our jars should be suctioned down firmly, with no give from gentle pressing at the center.

Using a pump, the seal is there right away.

Oxygen absorbers can take just a few minutes to hours to seal a jar. It depends on how much air is in there and the cc total of the absorber(s) used. If they haven’t given you the typical canning “ping” inside 12 hours, chances are good you have a dud and need a replacement.

With some common sense and minor caution, vac-sealing canning jars has a lot of benefits.

“Wet” foods require the appropriate canning methods for safety. We also want to make sure we’re not storing things that could gouge the glass or lid, or dangerous chemicals. Otherwise, the sky is the limit.

Combined with vacuum sealing that either uses once-canned lids or retains an “unused” lid for future canning, the benefits of repacking into canning jars only increases. We need them anyway, and using them prevents both wasted space and buying something else. They give us versatile, hardy containers that protect contents from mice, bugs, moisture, and crushing.

Vac sealing jars is also an easy enough and fast enough process for anybody, with inputs of only minimal, small, inexpensive equipment. It’s tough to find something that useful and simple that can add so much to our resilience and storage.