Vacuum Sealing Quart Jars for Long Term Food Storage

One of the best methods that I have found for storing dry necessities in your food stockpile is the use of home food vacuum packing appliances, such as a FoodSaver, and standard wide mouth quart jars. This method works well for necessities such as salt, sugar, rice, wheat, etc. This method does not work well for fine powders, such as flour, baking soda, etc. because those powders can be pulled into your vacuum packing appliance, causing damage to the unit. However, for larger grain size items, such as those mentioned above, this method is a simple alternative to the use of 5 gallon buckets or other less practical methods available.

The key to this method is its practicality. Everything used in the preparation via this method for long term food storage can be used on a day to day basis. First, vacuum packing appliances are great for saving money by buying meats and other products in bulk. The traditional vacuum bags work great for sealing and freezing these items for day to day use. Second, this method produces smaller packing units so that it is easier to occasionally use food from your long term stockpile without opening an entire #10 can or 5 gallon bucket of a product. Even dry foods that have a very long shelf life should be used on occasion so that they don’t reach their full shelf life. Finally, the canning jars used in this method could be used for canning in a catastrophe scenario. Once you use up the items in your stockpile, your survival garden should be ready and canning can begin. Consequently, this method is not only a great way to stockpile food, but it is also a great way to stock up on canning supplies!

The process itself is very simple. You will need the following items to get started:

  • Home vacuum packing appliance, such as a FoodSaver, with an accessory port
  • Wide mouth jar sealing accessory for your vacuum packing appliance
  • Wide mouth quart size mason jars with lids and rings
  • Bleach solution or antibacterial soap
  • Drying towels
  • Dry food product (20 lbs or rice requires 12 quart jars)

The following are the steps that I follow when packing foods via this method:

  1. Wash each quart jar thoroughly with a bleach solution or antibacterial soap to ensure that each jar is sanitary prior to adding dry food products and sealing.
  2. Wipe each quart jar dry and let stand until each jar is completely dry. It is critical that no moisture remains inside the jar prior to adding dry food products and sealing. Moisture inside the jar will result in spoilage.
  3. Fill individual quart jars with your dry food product of choice, leaving between 1/2 and 1 inch of space at the top of the jar. Overfilling will lead to failure of the lid seal.
  4. Place a clean lid on top of the jar. Do not screw down the ring until after the jar is vacuum sealed.
  5. Use your home vacuum packing appliance and jar sealing accessory to vacuum seal each jar. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for using the appliance.
  6. Screw down the ring to secure the sealed lids.
  7. Store your sealed jars in a cool, dark place to extend storage life.

Most dry foods, such as rice and wheat, will keep for at least 10 years if stored this way. Sugar and salt will store indefinitely if stored this way. There are a wide variety of sources online that indicate different shelf life times for these products. Remember, they have found dry food products in the pyramids that were still edible after thousands of years!

Below are a few pictures of  the process, including a photo showing a jar tipped upside down with only the vacuum holding the lid in place.

The information, concepts, or opinions from CatastropheNetwork.org are intended for informational purposes only and must be evaluated by the reader, in consultation with a professional, to ensure viability for their individual situation.

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

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