How Vacuum Sealing in Mason Jars Can Extend Your Pantry Life

Food prices have skyrocketed over the last year, so preservation methods have become invaluable, and a well-stocked pantry can be equated to gold. For instance, vacuum sealing in mason jars allows you to take homegrown produce and herbs and preserve their freshness and quality for months. This method is also a money saver, allowing you to extend the shelf life of your pantry and refrigerated food without breaking the bank on soaring grocery prices.

Preserving food in mason jars isn’t new technology or a wave of the future because the concept has been around for decades. Mason jars are practical and versatile, providing optimum containers for sealing and storing dried goods, liquids, meats, herbs, and produce. Vacuum sealing ensures that all foods are kept safe and fresh, so you can create a stockpile of what you love to eat in your pantry. It’s a great way to feed many people because you can pull from your haul to serve delicious meals from high-quality ingredients. Read on for more benefits of vacuum sealing your food in mason jars to grow and extend the life of your pantry.

An Overview of How to Vacuum Seal Food

Most vacuum sealers come with a manual of instructions; however, here are a few tips for sealing to make it easier to grow your pantry.

Always date and label your food to track when you stored it. Vacuum sealing can slow the expiration process but won’t stop it completely. Some foods will expire if left on a shelf for too long, regardless of how well they are stored. But you can do things to extend their shelf life.

Vegetables, for instance, should be blanched to seal in natural flavors, colors, and textures, while liquids and hot foods should be cooled to prevent air bubbles and condensation. It would help if you also stored vacuum-sealed mason jars in cool, dark places, like an attic pantry, to maximize shelf life.

Vacuum sealers remove the air from the mason jar to slow the oxidation process of various foods. A specialized attachment is used, and the mason jar lid will be curved inward when sealing is successful.

Here is an example of one well-known Vacuum Sealer for your review:  Mason Genie 

The Benefits of Using Mason Jars for Food Preservation

Mason jars have become invaluable in food preservation and storage because of their versatility and practicality in the kitchen. They are easy to clean, dishwasher safe, and can be boiled for an extra dose of sanitation before use. Plus, they are cost-effective and can be reused for years to reduce the need for disposable containers or Ziplock bags. This also makes them an eco-friendly option that is perfect for sustainable living.

Mason jars are resistant to temperature changes of every extreme, from freezing and microwaving to canning and jarring. They are also toxin-free, as most plastic containers contain a harmful chemical compound known as BPA. Thus, mason jars are a safer, chemical-free food preservation option. Storage? Not a problem! Mason jars come in different sizes, making stacking and storing them easier for organization and aesthetic appeal.

While you don’t have to boil a mason jar, it’s recommended for proper sanitation. Boiling will kill contaminants, encouraging a tighter, better vacuum seal. From airtight seals and durability to chemical-free composition, mason jars provide an efficient and sustainable solution for keeping food fresh, safe, and organized in your pantry.

Check Your Lid Seal for Proper Freshness and Sustainability

To keep your food fresh and pantry-stable, it’s crucial to check for a good seal, even periodically after mason jars have been vacuum sealed for weeks or months. A properly sealed jar will extend the shelf life by preventing air and contaminants from infiltrating your food.

To check for a good seal, do the following:

The center of the mason jar lid is the tell for a good seal. Tap the center with a spoon and listen to the sound. An unsealed lid will sound hollow. The center “button” should also be sucked down, so tapping the lid shouldn’t make it pop up. Lastly, you should be able to lift the jar by the lid without holding the jar. An improperly sealed lid will come off, causing the jar contents to spill.

Check stored mason jars every few weeks for signs of seal failure, such as leaks, changes in the appearance of the food inside, or bulging lids. Properly sealed mason jars protect food from spoilage while extending shelf life, providing delicious, nutritious options throughout the year.

Foods That Do Great When Vacuum Sealed

Did you know that dried goods can go bad? Foods like brown rice, white rice, and oats are ideal examples of foods to vacuum seal in mason jars because they are otherwise at risk of becoming rancid or infested with pests. The same is true for spaghetti, macaroni, penne, and other kinds of pasta, as a proper vacuum seal prevents staleness and maintains texture.

Other foods that benefit from vacuum sealing in mason jars include:

  • A vacuumed sealed, ‘Salad in a Jar‘ will last much longer in the fridge than in a plastic container.
  • Dehydrated fruits and vegetables, like strawberry slices, apple slices, and mango strips.
  • Spices and herbs, like dried oregano, cinnamon sticks, and thyme.
  • Soups and broths, like chicken stock, beef stew, and vegetable broth.  Of course any items like this must be refrigerated.
  • Sauces and condiments, like tomato sauce, pesto, and homemade salad dressings.  Again, these items are refrigerated.
  • Full meals, like casseroles and leftovers. Stewed or boiled vegetables, like tomatoes, zucchini, and squash.  It’s really amazing how much longer these will last in the fridge!

Do you have a garden? Vacuum sealing homegrown produce and herbs can reduce waste from your garden, giving you access to nutritious, homemade meal and side dish options for months. You can create and add to a stockpile of food for your pantry each growing season, so you’ll have different foods to choose from with each trip to your storage room. Nearly anything food can be vacuum sealed in a mason jar for long-term storage, so consider bulking up your meal plans with meals you can vacuum seal, store, and reheat for another time.

Interested in learning more about vacuum sealing in mason jars and canning your foods for a well-stocked, fresh pantry? Attend a Canning 101 class at Stoney Creek Farm in July to learn how to preserve healthy food!