Author Topic: Rotating Mason Jars  (Read 2842 times)

Offline Samson

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Rotating Mason Jars
« on: May 06, 2010, 07:54:31 PM »
Does anyone have any ideas for storing and rotating mason jars of home canned goods?  I really like the idea of the shelf-reliance type shelves, but I really want to begin canning and storing my own fresh foods.  Also, where would I be able to find out the shelf life of various home canned foods?  Thanks

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Rotating Mason Jars
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2010, 08:42:17 PM »
Hey, Samson,  Welcome to the forum. Really glad to have you here. If you get the chance, stop by the intro thread.

As for rotating canned goods, I don't know of a system that works like the can rotating shelves... I have a fairly large amount of canned foods in a storage area under my staircase. I make sure to mark the date on each jar when I can them and, as I add to the stock, put the new canned goods underneath/behind the older stuff, so that the food I want to use first is out front.

Shelf life for most home-canned goods is recommended for 1-2 years, depending on the temp. of your storage area, I believe. However, I have heard stories from long-time canning fanatics who have had food last much longer than that. I find that my jams and jellies are best within the first year. They are still perfectly safe and have no spoilage beyond that, but somehow just aren't quite as good after that.

Check out Jackie Clay's column here for lots of great information. She also has a canning book that is on my wish list.

http://www.backwoodshome.com/blogs/JackieClay/

LvsChant.

Offline TwoBluesMama

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Re: Rotating Mason Jars
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2010, 08:53:30 PM »
I pretty much do the same as lvschant but I don't recommend storing home canned goods like the shelf reliance system because I wouldn't want to store my jars on their side.  Just call me paranoid but I think that's asking for trouble on your seals and what a mess you'd have if one leaks.  I just date 'em and stack 'em behind the others or on the next shelf. Let us know if you come up with a great idea as I'm always open to something new.  Blessings TBM
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DEV being nice... sorta goes along with GOATS howling, babies bursting into tears, birds suddenly becoming silent, and an ominous greenish lighting spreading across the landscape...

Offline I.L.W.

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Re: Rotating Mason Jars
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2010, 09:47:58 PM »
Estimating storage life is almost impossible to do generically.  It will always depend on the type of food, method of canning, whether or not preservatives were added or naturally occurring in the food, and the conditions the cans and jars are stored under.

Canning in oil (mostly for meats, but some veggies) can extend the shelf life almost indefinitely, as no aerobic bacteria can live in it.  You can get anaerobic infections, which are more dangerous, botulism for example. But you tend to notice the smell when you open the can, and it's usually caused by a broken seal, which again, you should notice. I've eaten 70 year old pork preserved this way, and it was fine. I've heard of people eating other things that were 200-300 years old.  Vegetables in oil take on the consistency of rubber after about 5 years, but preserve very well in the short term.

Things canned in water should be pasteurized or salted.  5-10 years is common for meats and veggies, but younger will always taste better.

Things preserved in honey (fruits usually, sometimes fish and pork) will essentially last forever as long as the seal is good.  If there's oxygen in the jar, it will harden, so a perfect seal is ideal.

Preserves made with pectin (either added or naturally occurring in the fruit) like jams, jellies, and marmalade are good for a year or two, but the taste changes over time.  It will get to the point where you don't want to eat it long before it gets so you can't eat it.

Preserved in alcohol, most things will make it to the 5 year mark.  After that, they tend to disintegrate.  Beets in brandy is a common example. They're good, but turn to paste after a while.  Raw asparagus in gin however gets better with age, like a martini-pickle. Tough veggies (lots of cellulose) do well with the tenderizing effects, anything soft will not over the long term.

Tomato sauces are a favorite for home canners.  They have one of the shortest shelf lives. It's great if you grow a lot of tomatoes, but not viable for long-term preservation. Use in the first year if you can, year 2 should be okay, but I don't ever keep them longer than that.

Sealing with paraffin wax will drastically improve the shelf life, since there's no air inside the can at all, and you have a back-up seal. Just make sure the lid is the widest part so the wax will lift out of the jar without having to be broken apart.

TwoBluesMama is right about storing on their side.  If you want to do that, use cork seals that sponge up the moisture and distribute it.  They're hard to find these days, and expensive, but they work very well.  For the difference in the seal price however, it's cheaper to buy the food from the store.
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Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Rotating Mason Jars
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2010, 09:54:04 PM »
I keep my canning boxes.  The old ones that have sides and lids and dividers.  Also, boxes that come with 6 #10 cans hold 15 canning jars + cereal box dividers nicely.

Since I do large amounts, say 60 jars of peaches, I will just put the washed jars back into the boxes.  I leave 12 bottles on the shelf, and have 4 boxes behind or under or next to the jars.  On the boxes I have little address labels with the current contents and year, crossing them off as they change.  When I am down to 2-3 bottles on the shelf, I open a new box.
Since I only do peaches once a year when they are in season, I just put those boxes behind the previous year's (not that I have many left over by the time peach season comes again.)  I cannot think of anything I bottle more than once a year.


I actually spoke to the shelf reliance people years ago when they were first getting started, and the guy told me they had done some experiments to rotate canning jars, but it just wasn't practical or easy or cost effective, so they quit that line of thought.
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Offline Lunk

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Re: Rotating Mason Jars
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2010, 12:13:42 AM »
I keep my canning boxes.  The old ones that have sides and lids and dividers.  Also, boxes that come with 6 #10 cans hold 15 canning jars + cereal box dividers nicely.

I am totally putting away stock at work next week and snagging some of those!  :excited:

I thought I was going to have to build something to hold them because I buy loose jars from thrift stores all the time.

Offline Samson

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Re: Rotating Mason Jars
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2010, 03:40:55 PM »
  Wow, thanks for all the replies.  What a great bunch on this forum :) I've never had so many replies, so quickly on ANY forum.  Great info. Take care everyone :D 
 

Offline liljodel

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Re: Rotating Mason Jars
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2012, 06:59:35 PM »
If anybody's still looking at this thread, I've been looking at some clear plastic tubes that will fit over my mason jars, buy them in 4' lengths and cut to size. If you don't want to store them on their sides, could still store them on a slanted shelf upright, add new ones to the back. the plastic sleeves will keep them from cracking against each other... thoughts?

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Rotating Mason Jars
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2012, 12:32:58 AM »
The idea of a slant concerns me.

Next house I build or remodel, I'm considering deep shelves inside cabinets that open from the front and back.  Load new can goods in from the back, and pull jars from the front.  Cabinet doors keep the light out.

~TG

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Rotating Mason Jars
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2012, 07:31:34 AM »
The idea of a slant concerns me.

Next house I build or remodel, I'm considering deep shelves inside cabinets that open from the front and back.  Load new can goods in from the back, and pull jars from the front.  Cabinet doors keep the light out.

~TG

That's a great idea!


Offline Rubyfire

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Re: Rotating Mason Jars
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2012, 10:40:55 AM »
Haven't tried this but maybe a lazy susan type rotating shelf could help keep everything organized nicely.

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Rotating Mason Jars
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2012, 12:14:13 PM »
I looked at the Lazy Susan idea. 

First off, canning jars are heavy, so it would need to be a sturdy platter of wood instead of plastic.  Homemade?  But a round circle in a square foot of space isn't very efficient.  Most serious canners have every inch jammed with jars, so only utilizing 50% of available space with a Lazy Susan is just painful.

~TG