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Can you can dry goods?

 
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With the abundance of jars and lids that we've got, I wanted to store sugar, flour, salt, etc... in jars. Does this need to be "pressure canned", or can I simply put the dry goods in jars and tighten the lids. I'd rather not use 5 gallon buckets - 1/2 gallon jars would be much more convenient.
 
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Zach, welcome to Permies!

You can absolutely store dry goods in canning jars with a secure lid. No processing necessary.

If you have problems with pantry moths or things like crackers going stale, you can also vacuum seal dry goods. Some people use the foodsaver vacuum sealer, but I use a hand vacuum pump with canning jars that works just fine.
 
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Hi Zach! Welcome to Permies!
I store dry goods in jars, I add bay leaves to discourage bugs, and I pack everything in as TIGHT as I can to eliminate as much air as I can. For things like beans or grains, I shake them down multiple times as I fill them, watch the level go down as you shake, you'll figure out what way is working best for you. Flour gets packed in HARD with a wooden thing like a sauerkraut pounder, in layers, until I am getting no more compression. I have been doing this for many years, and have never had to dump the contents of a jar for going bad. Some of my containers have been stored for years that way.

I also have a vacuum sealer that works on mason jars, rarely use it, because I tend to use my good mason jars for canning, and my odd containers and jars for dry goods.

:D
 
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I also store all my dry goods in old mayonnaise jars. I live in southern Mexico and we have a lot of issues with bugs getting into dry goods if they are kept in bags.  The jars (not pressure sealed) work great for keeping bugs out.
 
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Leigh Tate wrote:If you have problems with pantry moths or things like crackers going stale, you can also vacuum seal dry goods. Some people use the foodsaver vacuum sealer, but I use a hand vacuum pump with canning jars that works just fine.



Would love it if you provided some more info on your hand vacuum pump.  I've never heard of such a thing.  I actually have a vacuum sealer for mason jars, but still interested to know about simpler options!
 
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Matthew Nistico wrote:Would love it if you provided some more info on your hand vacuum pump.  I've never heard of such a thing.  I actually have a vacuum sealer for mason jars, but still interested to know about simpler options!


Matthew, I use a Pump-N-Seal hand pump



and the FoodSaver mason jar sealer attachments



These come in both wide and regular size.

It looks like this when it's set up





The Pump-N-Seal website is here - https://pump-n-seal.com/
The FoodSaver jar attachment is here - https://www.foodsaver.com/parts-accessories/jar-bottle-sealers/foodsaver-jar-sealing-kit-with-wide-mouth-jar-sealer-regular-jar-sealer-and-accessory-hose-white/SAP_FCARWJAH000.html

I've tried it with used canning lids, but unless they are perfect, the seals leak. So I use new canning lids. Seals need to be checked periodically, but even if they leak, it's not like you lose the contents. And this definitely increases shelf life.

There is another method where people heat jars and their contents in a low oven, so that it creates a vacuum when it cools, but I like the vacuum pump better because I think it probably preserves nutrients best.
 
Matthew Nistico
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@Leigh Tate - You are a font of useful information!  Thanks especially for the pics and the link to the Pump-N-Seal site.

I have a FoodSaver with a wide-mouth jar attachment.  Didn't realize they also made one for regular-mouth jars.  Excellent!  I will need to get one for sure.

 
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Interesting thoughts with the pump and seal. I have a hand air pump that can inflate or deflate, I need to dig it up and experiment. I have the Food Saver attachments, and lots of fun tubing connectors. I have a Food Saver too, but it requires electricity.
Hmmm... Wonder where that pump is?  
:D
 
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We also pack dry goods in mason jars (reusing lids that still look good) with the attachment that fits over the regular or wide mouth jar lids.
I use a vacuum pump I have for the pug mill in the pottery.

Found I needed to roast nuts prior to sealing, to limit the moisture.

A friend related this to another operation used in woodworking, where you repeat the vacuum application after a few days. Moisture in the dry goods will come out after being under vacuum for a little while, and you can lose your seal. So, we seal, let things sit a few days, then seal again.

Have not tried flour, but use the above method to store wheat berries and grind about 5 lbs at a time as needed.
 
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Pearl and Joan, if I didn't already have the pump-n-seal, I probably would have tried a different hand vacuum pump.

I dug around and found a video I bookmarked awhile back, that might be of interest to everyone. He discusses the pump-n-seal, a hand brake bleeder, and a hand crank thingy for vacuum sealing jars.

 
Joan Candalino
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Yes, my vacuum pump requires electricity, it also works the vacuum chamber on my pug mill in the pottery.

The husband made the vacuum pump from the compressor out of a commercial freezer found at the scrap yard.
 
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