Vacuum sealing food in mason jars is a great way to preserve it, long term. It’s a similar principle to food in tins, but the seals are easier to remove – no can opener required!
Sealing food in this way means that it will keep for much, much longer than by using other storing methods, and it will also retain its taste and any nutritional benefit that the food has.
Read on to learn more on what food can you vacuum seal in mason jars.
What are mason jars?
Mason jars are named after John Landis Mason, who invented this type of jar in 1858.
These jars are intended for canning and preserving food; they are very strong and can withstand the high temperatures needed, plus they are generally wide mouthed so that putting produce in and getting it out again is very easy.
These jars create a hermetic seal when the lids are screwed tightly on, making it impossible for germs and bacteria to enter and spoil the food, which means that this becomes a very economical way of storing food.
The seal works with the use of a rubber ring on the underside of the metal screw threaded lid, which presses a flat metal disc against the jar’s rim, and by heating then cooling the jars, which creates a vacuum seal when the lids are screwed down.
Exposure to air is what makes food go bad, so removing the option for air to get near the food, you are removing the possibility of it going “off”.
How to seal food in mason jars
Vacuum sealing food is a relatively easy process, and very rewarding.
- Start by thoroughly sterilising your jars, by placing them into a pan of boiling water for ten minutes or so.
- Next, simply take whatever you have chosen to vacuum seal and place it into the jar, leaving a little space between the the level of the food and the lid.
- Add some boiling water, just enough to cover what you have put into the jars.
- Place the lids on but loosely, to allow air and steam to escape during the next step.
- Next, place the jars into boiling water, or a specialist canning bath. The time you leave them to to boil will vary depending on what you are preserving – some take longer and some shorter times, so follow your individual recipe.
- Remove the jars from the boiling water and secure the lids tightly (you may want to put a towel over your hands or use gloves, as the contents and the jars themselves will be very hot).
- Allow the jars to cool to room temperature – this cooling process will create a vacuum, which pulls the lid down tightly and creates the hermetic seal.
- Label the jars with their contents, and the date they were made, so that you know what they are when they’re on the store cupboard shelves.
Benefits of vacuum sealing
There are a great many upsides to preserving your food in this way – and it’s a fun and enjoyable process too!
A. It’s a great way of preserving food
If you have a glut of vegetables that you have grown yourself, or accidentally over ordered at the supermarket, you can preserve this abundance with one of a variety of recipes – or preserve it just as it is, ready to take out and use it in other dishes.
B. It saves money
If you are not having to throw away uneaten food but can save it for another day, you will be saving yourself hundreds on your grocery bills.
C. It retains the flavour of what is sealed
Keeping the nutrients and the taste in whatever you are sealing is a big part of this process – overcooking things into the form of chutneys, or sauces or stews to freeze, can detract from some of the nutritional value.
D. It’s a good way to store food
When your freezer is overflowing and your fridge is groaning under the weight of foodstuffs, now you have another way to store things!
What can you seal in mason jars
It’s easier to list what you CAN’T store in mason jars. Seriously, just about anything can be sealed and stored in this way! The process of the vacuum seal and how you prepare the food may vary depending on what you are planning on sealing, but the list is pretty exhaustive. A few of the most common are:
- Fruits – Apples, pears, oranges, pineapples, peaches.
- Vegetables – Beetroot, asparagus, carrots, potatoes, green beans, squash.
- Dry foods – Brown rice, dehydrated foods, dried beans.
- Popular choices – Tomatoes, squash, cooked mushrooms, potatoes, spinach, and foods that can easily be placed into stews, soups or other dishes.
Obviously, the above lists are as long as you want to make them – there is very little that cannot be vacuum sealed in jars. The few exceptions are:
- Raw mushrooms
- Soft or blue cheeses
- Freshly cooked vegetables (though these can be vacuum sealed after they reach room temperature)
Vacuum sealing food to use it another day, or to store an excess, is a convenient, efficient and space saving way of preserving food. It will save you money, and offer you all the benefits of the food when it was fresh – plus it’s a delicious way to enjoy fruits and vegetables even when they’re out of season.
If you have any question on what food can you vacuum seal in mason jars, please leave a comment below.