Struggling with storage space and don’t know the solution? Jarred food is here to help. Storing food meets creativity when it comes to using jars for storage!
We will discuss the fundamentals of storing food in jars and give you the knowledge needed to get started. You will learn about the best jars to use, jarring techniques, and the benefits this method can provide you. Glass jars are the perfect option to get the best results.
Putting food in jars is a great way to store it. As you may already know, glass is the perfect material to act as a barrier for dry foods against oxygen and moisture. As a means of storage, jarring dry food is the ideal opportunity to save space in your kitchen and pantry by eliminating unneeded plastic bags and cardboard boxes while achieving that “Pinterest” aesthetic we are all striving for.
Our recommendations on how to jar food for storage come from personal experiments and expert research. This guide covers all you need to know about storing food in jars. Allow our team to show you how to implement this process into your own home.
What is Jarring Food for Storage?
Canning or jarring is a long tradition that has been used in households for many years. The initial discovery was made by Napoleon Bonaparte over 300 years ago when he needed a new storage method to preserve food for troops.
It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that jarring or canning became a common technique in the United States. The invention of Mason Jars was the first technological advancement that pushed the technique into the light for more popularity.
The mechanics behind the process of jarring are pretty simple. The lids on a jar create pressure to seal the rim of the jar for long-lasting food.
Foods like white rice, salt, rolled oats, corn are dry goods stored effectively in jars. Using glass jars ensures that no dangerous toxins or chemicals go into your food. Whether it may be for short- or long-term purposes, glass jars are the ideal solution for food storage.
Glass jars come in various sizes or shapes, and the flexibility of shape and size allows for many options to choose from for your needs. Whether it may be a Mason jar of rice or a small jar of your favorite spice, glass jars are versatile and here to help you with all of your storage needs.
How to Store Food in Jars
Now we will go step-by-step on how to fill your glass jars with dry goods. You will be ready in no time to start storing your dry foods into a variety of different shaped and sized glass jars.
1. Remove the label from the jar.
You may have to consider soaking it in hot water with soap and then scraping it off if it is not coming off quickly. It is recommended to purchase glass jars that are pint, quart, or half-gallon sizes. These will be the best sizes when storing various types of dry foods.
2. Ensure the jars and lids are clean and sanitized.
You can either thoroughly wash the jars and lids by hand with warm soap and water in the sink or by using the dishwasher. Both options will clean away any stains.
3. Fill the jar with your dry food.
You may need to use a funnel to prevent spillage and promote accuracy. This creates a cleaner process and ensures food is filled up the right way.
4. Sanitize the rim of the jar with a cloth.
Use a damp to make sure that it is sealed to perfection. This is an essential process to both improve the store’s cleanliness and the quality of the seal to keep food fresh.
5. Tighten the lid with your hand.
Ensure that the lid fits into the grooves perfectly and there is no disruption in the seal.
6. Label the jar with the food in it and the date it was jarred.
An essential and often overlooked step for all food storage activities is food labeling. Be sure to mention the type of food stored and the date on which it was stored. This helps to keep track of expiration dates and keep things more organized.
What Types of Food Can I Jar for Storage?
Jars are versatile and support a multitude of food choices. The foods stored in jars should be dry with less than 10% moisture content.
Additionally, the foods you are storing in these jars should be low in fats and oils. Foods low in moisture and oil contents can remain preserved during their storage time and stay fresh for longer.
Perfect candidates for jarring include:
- Steel-cut oats
- Herbs, spices
- Dry beans
- Nuts and seeds
- White rice
It is important to note that products such as white flour, bean flour, and cornmeal have a reduced shelf-life compared to whole wheat. This is because reﬁned grain foods have more nutrients removed during the production process, giving them a shorter shelf-life.
Where to Store my Jars?
You are probably wondering where to store all of your jars once they are all filled with various dry foods. The best strategy is to find a compact area that is dark and cool, like a cellar or inside your cabinets.
If you find it challenging to choose a place that fits this description, you can store them in a closet or under a bed, as these places tend to be darker and cooler temperatures.
A cool and dark place will be advantageous in keeping the glass jars at a temperature between 50 and 70 degrees to ensure it remains fresh.
It is best to utilize a shelving system where all the jars can be stored together while remaining easy to access. This may not be an option based on your space availability, but something to consider for those that can make it happen.
Glass Jars vs. Plastic Jars?
Glass jars are the preferred choice for food storage for a few reasons. While some may have their preferences, we will explain why.
Glass jars are better for the environment. They last nearly forever and are much easier to dispose of when you are done with them. Expect to get a lot more usage out of a glass jar for all of your food storage needs.
Glass is also healthier for you. There is no concern about chemicals or toxins that might be found in a plastic jar. The surface is also non-porous for better storage.
The glass jar handles higher temperatures better both for dishwashing and for food storage too. It is a better option for freezer storage as well.
Plastic storage for food is trendy, yet glass comes out on top for a variety of reasons.
Plastic is weaker than glass and allows harmful chemicals to seep into it from the light or varying temperatures, impacting the quality and freshness of the food stored.
Plastic is also super harmful to the environment. Using glass instead of plastic reduces the quantity of plastic that ends up in streams or is littered worldwide.
Plastic is porous, and odors remain after food is taken from these jars. As a result, the jars are no longer fresh. They stain easier too. Odors can also attract rodents and insects, which we do not want.
Thinking of Long-Term Food Storage in Jars?
If you answered yes to this question, you should consider vacuum-sealing your dry foods in Mason Jars to increase the shelf life of the food. Do not worry. It is not a difficult task to master.
What equipment and materials will you need?
- Bottle attachment and sealer will allow you to vacuum seal regular glass jars as well as wide-mouth canning jars.
- Mason Jars with rings and lids.
With this equipment, vacuum sealing your dry foods in Mason Jars is a seamless task. This will allow for increased long-term food storage and a more efficient shelf-life of your foods.
Eliminating the air from the jar creates a seal and allows for organized and effective storage of your favorite dry goods.
Pros & Cons to Jarring
1. Glass jars act as a barrier
By acting as a barrier to both oxygen and moisture, glass jars preserve your food to last longer. It is simply a better way to store your food.
2. Glass jars are good for the environment
Glass jars are reusable and can be washed easier. Using glass jars can also be one of the most effective strategies to lessen your environmental impact.
By minimizing the use of plastic, you can do your part to reduce waste and recycle your glass jars after usage.
3. Glass jars are durable
The risk does exist because glass jars are more fragile. However, they last much longer than competing products. Available in many sizes and shapes, there is something to meet everyone’s needs.
The composition of glass jars provides excellent seal capabilities, versatility, and strength. Food lasts longer, and they store better on shelves. The less permeable elements make them the most durable jarring option.
4. Glass jars are inexpensive
Are you looking to save a bit of money? Mason jars are always available and are not too expensive. Another option could be reusing a glass jar from a food item in your fridge.
Some examples include pickle jars, pasta sauce jars, and more. The options are endless. When a jar is empty in your fridge, clean it thoroughly with soap and hot water. Once clean, you now have a perfectly new glass jar ready for storing dry food.
5. Glass jars frequently include watertight and airtight lids
Air-tight and water-tight lids are essential. Ensuring that no air or water finds its into your food will allow the preservation process to continue with no issues.
Most glass jars have these embedded in their “screw-on” lid design, but always make sure to check that your lid is functioning correctly before putting any food into it for storage.
6. Glass jars keep rodents and insects away
Pesky rodents and insects are somehow making their way into our homes. The good thing about glass jars is that they are rodent-proof and insect-proof. The glass barrier makes sure that there is no smell to lure these creatures in.
Another important note is that rodents and insects can creep their way into just about any material, but not glass. So, for example, they can chew through mylar bags and even other plastic material.
7. Glass jars are perfect for organization
Glass jars are the ideal solution to any homeowner’s organization issues. Cardboard boxes and plastic bags are thrown around the kitchen and make more of a mess. Meanwhile, glass jars can be stacked on shelves efficiently.
They keep your dry goods clean, organized and fresh, while saving endless headaches, as well.
Cons to Jarring
1. Glass can be a fragile material for storage
Glass is a fragile choice. If you slip up and drop one of the jars, it can shatter and cause problems. So be sure to handle with care and store them securely in a safe location where it is stable and not prone to falling.
Also, if you live in an area prone to earthquakes or with high levels of wind, you may want to brainstorm about where to store your glass jars.
2. Higher upfront costs
Glass jars are more durable and last longer, saving you money long-term because you don’t need to buy new items continuously. However, the cost upfront is higher than competing options like plastic storage options.
3. Fewer options to choose from compared to plastic
There are plenty of different glass options to consider, but the number is low compared to plastic. With plastic options being cheaper to manufacture, many more brands carry a variety of plastic products.
We choose glass jars as the way to go whenever you jar food for storage. They are a more efficient option with many more positives to consider.
Expect to have better storage space with more aesthetically pleasing glass jars to look at. They do not stain as plastic does, and cleaning is much easier to handle. While concerns exist about their fragile nature, they can all be avoided by using our storage tips to keep them away from any danger.
It’s now time for you to embark on your jarring adventure. We hope all of these tips can guide you the right way.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker