Friday, October 14, 2011

Preserving Dry Goods...Oven Canning *

Stuff from refrigerator
Last month my spare fridge died. A sad event, but not an emergency situation. I just shuffled the packages to either my deep freeze or my kitchen fridge/freezer. I tend to buy staples in bulk, so much of what that fridge held was dry goods: flour, beans, rice, popcorn, and the like. That stuff took up quite a bit of room in my freezer and fridge leaving no room for fresh foods. I didn't want to leave so many dry goods in the pantry for fear of a) going rancid and b)moths. So what do do? 

I was reading through my Sept/Oct issue of Countryside, and a woman had written in about oven canning. I did a little more research; I had never heard of such a thing. Canning dry goods in the oven? Yes, indeed. Well, it's worth a shot, right?

Last night I emptied my fridge and freezer of everything that I could think of to can: rice, beans, flours, pancake mix, a couple of cake mixes, coffee, and pastas and put them on the counter to come to room temperature. Then I washed my canning jars and gathered lids and rings.

I decided to recycle some of my lids. I usually keep a stash in the junk drawer since they often come in handy. I know you're not supposed to reuse them when canning fruits and veggies since there's a good chance they won't seal, but I don't see this as being much of a problem with dry goods. Typically dry goods sit opened on my shelves for a few weeks anyway. Fortunately, most of them did seal, though. I'll just use up the unsealed items first. (As I write this I can hear the last batch "pinging," the tell tale sound of sealing lids!)

Next, I preheated the stove to 200 degrees. I filled each jar and placed it in a cake pan. (I tend to be clumsy and didn't want to chance spilling rice inside the oven.) When the pan was filled, into the oven it went for 1 hour. After the hour was up, I wiped the rim of the jar with a little vinegar and screwed on a lid. That's all there is to it! 

After labeling, I can store them anywhere. That's one of the cool things about canning; the jars don't have to take up important space. I've even heard of people storing jars under their bed.

So, thank you Countryside Magazine. And now I have room for milk!

Stuff canned

*Fine Print: I am not a canning expert, nor a food safety expert. If you are new at food preserving or have any questions regarding traditional or oven canning, please contact your county extension office. DO NOT use the oven canning method for preserving fruits, vegetable, or meats. These foods need to be preserved with a boiling water bath or pressure canner, which reach higher temperatures killing bacteria.

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