Using bulk food canning supplies has the potential to save costs and reduce prep time while delivering the perfect taste of freshly picked fruits and vegetables year-round. Canning equipment and accessories are versatile enough to be used by small stores preserving signature jams and jellies as well as large restaurants storing soups and stews.
To ensure all food remains safe and does not spoil, it is important to follow all recipes exactly without variation. Changing any ingredient in a recipe can potentially cause the acidity level to change, which may cause spoilage and inedible products.
In order to avoid harmful toxins and bacteria from entering your processed jars, it is important to make sure they are being stored properly. Most lids and jars will keep food shelf stable for at least 12 to 18 months when stored properly, but it is always best to follow manufacturer recommended guidelines.
Food in processed jars can degrade in nutrient value over time if exposed to direct sunlight
Jars should not be stacked on each other as the weight of the top jar can unseal the lid of the bottom jar
Bands can trap moisture, causing rust and bacteria growth, and can prevent you from noticing unsealed jars
In order to ensure you are identifying properly rotating product, always label and date every jar after it is processed and ready for storage
After opening, shelf life on canned food varies but usually will last between a few days to a few weeks depending on the food item. Most opened jars can be stored in a refrigerator just as long as factory-made items but should always be stored without the bands as they can trap moisture which causes rust. Food can be transferred to a food storage container or can be stored in the jar with a reusable lid.
Picking the best style of canning jar to use is often a personal preference and depends on the final look you want for your product. All jars are versatile and have a wide variety of uses beyond canning. Jars can be used for crafts, hobbies, and beverage glasses but can also be used as decor, such as vases and candle holders. Most types of jars will come in both regular mouth and wide mouth sizes.
No, not all mason jars are able to be used for canning. Jars need to be specifically manufactured for canning so they are sturdy enough to withstand the internal vacuum seal without breaking. Using improper canning jars can result in glass breakage and product loss. When in doubt, double check manufacturer literature and instructions.
Yes, some mason jars can withstand freezing. In order to avoid potential shattering, only use jars specifically designed to go into the freezer. Leave half an inch of headspace to allow for expansion of food.
Yes, glass mason jars by themselves can be microwaved for short periods of time, if needed. Since the jars are glass, they will absorb heat in the microwave, making it potentially dangerous to touch with bare hands. Always use caution when handling hot items. Lids and bands should never be microwaved, since they are made of metal.
Canning lids come in two main styles - regular mouth and wide mouth. Every lid will feature a solid, rubber seal on the underside that creates the vacuum seal when processed. On the top of the lid, there is a small raised circle that will invert when the jar is properly processed.
No, always start with a brand new lid for safety, as lids should never be reused. Before canning anything, always check the rubber seal on every lid. Discard any seals that are broken or look irregular. Bands can generally be reused as long as they are still in good condition and are not rusty. Processed jars should always be stored without bands as they can trap moisture and can make unsealed jars look sealed.
There are two types of canning methods: water bath canning and pressure canning. Each method has their equipment and is better suited for some types of foods than the other.
Water bath canners are essentially giant pots that can hold multiple jars at once. Once the jars are added with an additional 1" to 2" of water over the top of the jars, the water is brought to a rapid boil. The jars process for at least ten minutes but can process longer depending on the recipe. The boiling process, coupled with the acidity of the contents, will safely preserve the food.
High Acidic Foods: most fruits, pickles, some vegetables like tomatoes
Pressure canners work similar to a pressure cooker by creating a high internal pressure from steam. After loading the jars into the canner, either twist the lid shut or use its wing nuts to lock it. Once the water inside is brought to a boil, pressure builds from the water evaporating into steam. The jars will process at a specific pressure and time depending on altitude. This increased pressure can better destroy harmful toxins, meaning it is the only option for canning low acidity foods.
Low Acidic Foods: meats and seafood, most vegetables, most soups and stews
Determining the right size jar to use is important as jar size can affect processing time. Smaller jars can process faster than larger jars. Additionally, it is important to consider what is going into the jars. Thicker foods as well as anything with larger chunks will usually work better in wide mouth jars as opposed to regular mouth, as it is easier to scrape out the contents.
There are a number of food canning supplies and accessories that can be used to streamline your canning operation, make the process easier, and help maintain proper food safety. Here are a few recommended items that you may need to add to your canning supplies list.
Perfect for moving hot jars to and from the canner
Help prevent spills and messes while filling jars with food
Collapse any air pockets that could prevent the jar from properly sealing
Contain a small magnet on the end to easily extract lids from hot water
Provide an easy way to tighten and loosen lids, ensuring a tight seal
Gels and thickens liquids to the perfect consistency for jam, jelly, and marmalade
Creates a clear brine that is used to pickle foods
Ensure that jars are processed for the precise time required