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Storing in 5 gal buckets versus canning jars

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  • Storing in 5 gal buckets versus canning jars

    I've begun to think of long term storage in a different way. We've all done the 5-gallon bucket route, putting sacks of flour, sugar, beans or other dry staples in the bucket with a dessicant and oxygen absorbers and sealed them up. But for me, there's several problems with that method:

    1. Too much stuff. I'm by myself, and unless I suddenly get a crowd of folk, thats way too much for me to use up at once, unless I vary the items in each bucket.
    2. If my stash is broken into, then they take a big portion at a time, and I've made it convenient for them by suppling buckets with handles!
    3. Hiding storage buckets is harder than hiding something smaller, like a canning jar.
    4. With all the hubub about plastic and chemicals these days, I want my food to come in as little contact with plastic as possible.

    So, because of that, I'm going to dry-can flour, sugar, beans, pastas, rice, spices, herbs, and most anything else I can think of that isnt liquid.

    I've read a few ways to do this. THe best way is to go to the LDS (Latter Day Saints) food storage facilities and use their setup for metal cans. For anyone who doesnt know, LDS require each family to have 3 years food and supplies set aside, and they help each family make that possible by providing canning facilities, purchasing in bulk at reduced rates, etc. Lots of info on their sites.

    But I'm going to try another method, and anyone with any input, please feel free to share.

    Canning jars. THese can be quart, half gallon or gallon sized, preferably wide mouth jars for easier filling. I'm also going to try some mayo jars. I would NOT can liquid foods in a water bath or pressure canner in regular jars, even though my mom did for years. In TSHF situation, there wont be a doctor or hospital available for salmonella poisoning. Also, its harder to find glass jars now, since they are using plastic.

    Heat oven to 200 degrees. Place the jars on a pan or tray and make sure they arent touching. Heat in oven for 20 minutes or until jar is very warm. Have flour, rice, etc ready for filling with a wide mouth funnel, and fill the jars immediately. place new lids and rings (dont reuse mayo lids) on jars, screw hand-tight. let cool and remove rings. This creates a heat-vacuum seal.

    If the jars start to cool before you get them filled, try less jars on the tray at a time. They must be warm enough to create the vacuum seal.

    I'm also going to use this method to store some dehydrated foods from the solar dehydrator.

    Has anyone else tried this? Questions? Comments?
    Classic Southern defense: "But your Honor, he just NEEDED killin!

  • #2
    Loshali, My mother in law stores her dry goods like you are talking about using the oven to heat and pull a vacuum, I do have to ask why are you removing the rings?

    I store my dry stuffs in 1/2 gal wide mouths, I freeze the product first to kill bugs (something I learned from this site) and I rotate out my sutff no more than 2 years and so far so good.

    On a different but related subject I have scored a good source of food grade 5 gal square pails with lids for free! My father in law eats at Mr Gattis a pizza chain here in the south mabe other places also, I do not know, anywho he has talked to the manager and is getting their old plastic buckets, most of them have had pickles or eggs, tomatos ect. in them but they are clean and I will wash them out before using them. It makes me think how many other places are tossing the pails their supplies are delivered in? Pa in law just brought me 10 more last night. I will start asking other managers of the places we eat at for old containers. I figure what I don't use for storage I can grow peppers and tomatoes in them.

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    • #3
      You can re-use the rings after the jar has sealed......some folks re-use the lids but I wouldn't recommend it.

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      • #4
        Lo~ get out of my head! Scary, but I've already lost count of how many times I've thought of something, and next time I visit here, you've got the thread going!! "great minds think alike" I guess!


        Anywho, I was thinking the same thing. I've got the 5 gallon buckets ready for rice and wheat (free buckets with lids from the local bakery). But I don't want to keep opening and resealing the mylar bags in a bucket.... so I was thinking canning jars for smaller portions of dry goods. Plus, I plan on dehydrating tons of veggies from my garden this spring (got an electic dehydrator, going to try my hand at making a solar one, there should be a thread here somewhere with plans). I figured the best way to store them would be glass jars. I was thinking the air-tight ziploc bags, but I'm not crazy of the thought of plastic for long-term.

        thanks for the tip on heating the jars.

        You mention not re-using the lids on the mayo jars, what do you think about store-bought spaghetti sauce jars? Can you re-use those (cleaned out) for dry goods ? I've got 3 jars and lids soaking in chlorine water as we speak. (told ya- I was thinking this very same thing last night!)


        oh, yes, and my next purchase will be a pressure canner and canning supplies.
        "Be Excellent to Each Other"

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        • #5
          I never re-use the lids once I vacuum seal a jar but I have never removed the rings until I am ready to open the jar, but it is good to know you can...thanks, I done learnt somethin new again today!

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          • #6
            Not to answer for someone else but some of those spaggetti sauce jars are marked ATLAS MASON and I have used them.IMO mayo jars are just too thin.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Brosia View Post
              Lo~ get out of my head!
              You mention not re-using the lids on the mayo jars, what do you think about store-bought spaghetti sauce jars? Can you re-use those (cleaned out) for dry goods ? I've got 3 jars and lids soaking in chlorine water as we speak. (told ya- I was thinking this very same thing last night!)


              oh, yes, and my next purchase will be a pressure canner and canning supplies.
              The rubber seal on the inside of the lid will be damaged after you seal it once, so thats why you shouldnt reuse canning lids. the rings are just to help the lids seal by holding pressure on them.. the rings dont touch the food or actually seal the jar, so you can reuse them. Mayo lids and spaghetti lids should be ok for dehydrated stuff, since the moisture is out of it already and spoilage isnt a problem like with liquid foods. And after I thought about it , I'd say you could probably use them for flour and other dried goods too... Definitely worth a try with some stuff for a trial run.
              Classic Southern defense: "But your Honor, he just NEEDED killin!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by sd allen View Post
                Not to answer for someone else but some of those spaggetti sauce jars are marked ATLAS MASON and I have used them.IMO mayo jars are just too thin.
                There are different grades of Mason jars but I think those that are marked atlas mason can be water bathed. I wouldnt trust em for a pressure canner though.


                Anybody intrested in a pressure canner? I'm going to check at the old timey hardware store and if they can order several for a discount, maybe we can get a good deal.. i had two and lost the lids to both when i moved... :eek:
                Classic Southern defense: "But your Honor, he just NEEDED killin!

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                • #9
                  Brosia said "Anywho, I was thinking the same thing. I've got the 5 gallon buckets ready for rice and wheat (free buckets with lids from the local bakery). But I don't want to keep opening and resealing the mylar bags in a bucket....."[/QUOTE]

                  Hi Brosia, Ive kinda been thinking along those same lines, a 5 or 6 gallon bucket holds a lot of flour, grain ect. Ive started sealing bulk food in smaller mylar bags, then stacking the bags in the buckets so I can just take out one package at a time without exposing the entire 5 gals of food to the air. The bags I'm using are 10" by 14" and hold about 6 to 8 cups of rice or flour, I add a O2 absorber and vac seal the bags individually so I dont have to purge the bucket or worry about opening and resealing the bucket.
                  Cam

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                  • #10
                    Billy,
                    Do you need to do anything after you put the flour,etc. in the fridge?

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                    • #11
                      I vacuum seal much of my stuff, but I also pack it away in jars. I don't dry can, I just pack it into the jars tight and put the lid on. The purpose for me is to make it as air tight as possible, free of moisture and insects. Packed in a glass jar also keeps other oders out, which is most important for flour.
                      Freezing your flour gets rid of the bugs, taking it out of the original bag also helps with this, as there are bugs that live off the glue that holds boxes and bags together.
                      I haven't been able to find half gallon or gallon jars any where, that aren't plastic. I do reuse my spaghetti sauce jars, and since I am not dry canning, I also reuse the lids, but I have found that they sell plastic lids next to the canning stuff that work too. I try not to use the thinner plastic jars, like mayo, except for temporary stuff.

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                      • #12
                        I have had good success reusing the lids up to three times (I haven't tried longer than 3), as long as they haven't been bent when removing it from the canned jar. I use the edge of a dime to pry the lid off gently. I keep these lids in a zip log bag with a number on the outside for the number of times they have been used! When using them a second or third time, I put them in boiling water before canning. You'll notice the rubber 'replumping' and returning to original condition. (I also put the number of times used on the top of the lid before I put them away for storage.) I have not lost a jar from these reused lids. I hope this helps someone in the event canning lids become unavailable or hard to find.

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                        • #13
                          Food Packin'

                          OK here is my 2cents Loshali. You can still use your 5gallon bucket idea if you are willing to spend a little dough. Just buy a Food Saver Vacuum Sealer. Then you can seal 1/2 pound or 1 pound fo flour, meal, sugar, etc. at a time and then seal the small containers up in the buckets. When you oppen the bucket you will no longer have to worry over how you will use 5gallons of whatever you are getting. Just take however many packages you need and close the bucket.

                          Hope that helps you womewhat. And sorry took so long to get a reply I know you posted in like Dec. I just hope you are still looking at this thread hehe:confused:

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