Home canners generally use jars. So, we this is about home canned food in jars and not cans.
Before Storing Jars
- Remove the rings.
- Be sure the jars are sealed.
- Wipe the jars down.
- Label with date and contents. Add a batch number if you canned several batches so that if you later find one jar from a batch is tainted then you can discard the entire batch if needed. Add any other information that you want to include on the label. You may want to consider the label type you use and how easily it can be removed. Super cute might be super frustrating later. I use a sharpie and write on the lid.
Characteristics of a Good Storage Location
- Cool. Optimal is between 50 and 70 degrees fahrenheit.
- Dark. Dim--no direct sunlight.
- Shelving that can support jars without sagging and maybe breaking! What a mess that would be!
- Jars should not be stacked directly on top of each other.
Creative Storage Solutions (what if you don't have a cellar?)
- Locate the coolest parts of your house using a thermometer.
- Near the floor in closets.
- Near the floor on bookcases that don't get much light.
- In that crazy corner cabinet that is difficult to access.
- You might need to keep your stores of canned goods in one location during the summer and in another in the winter--not the most wonderful solution but it can work.
Using and Rotating Inventory
- Some folks use a master inventory sheet to track what is stored and even marking down what's been used--I don't because I lack focus and dedication. But, an inventory sheet can be helpful if you are storing in multiple locations or in locations that are not easy to access.
- Be sure to regularly check your inventory and rotate it by using the oldest jars first. A quarterly pantry check is a good thing.
- Consider swapping or gifting your overstock!
Be safe and eat well.
Please be aware of acceptable modifications (University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension PDF, May 2015) that can be made to a home canning recipe--keep in mind that not all modifications, even popular ones are safe!
If you are ever in doubt regarding safety, be sure to check a reliable resource. Even recently published books might contain recipes that are not suitable for safe home canning
- USDA, National Center for Home Food Preservation, Complete Guide to Home Canning (2009 version)
- Check out university extensions (these are just a few):
- Order a copy of So Easy to Preserve from the University of Georgia. $18.00 shipping included has everything you need to be a safe home canner.