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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently was going through old boxes and found a case of empty Mason jars. They were orignaly from spaghetti sauce. I had cleaned them out, and I used to store a variety of Chinese medicinal herbs in them. Eventually I found a source of empty metal 1 gallon cans, and bought all the herbs I use in bulk (cheaper that way) so I stopped sing the Mason jars.

Given the current situation, I am thinking about using them to store veggies. How would i use these to store fresh veggies in the mason jars?

I was thinking I could put the veggies in there fresh, and cover the top with hot grease and seal them. Would that work? Or are there better ways to can stuff so that they last?

Can I just put them in the oven, heat them up, fill them and cap'em?

I guess what I need is a "Canning 101" lesson.
 

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That is a REALLY BAD idea…and a shortcut to food poisoning!! Like CraftyMama said, get the Ball book, or check out your state agricultural extension web site or go the library. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you will be limited to high acid foods, like tomatoes and tomato sauces. BUT before you try anything, do the research.
 

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Canning 101

Maybe you should use the jars to preserve collections of nuts, bolts, and screws, just kidding.

Actually, having jars is a very good thing. Try to find canning jars at thrift stores etc, new jars are expensive. Build a collection, it takes a lot of jars to put up even a small portion of what it would take to "live" off canned food. Some self sufficient types claim you would need a quart jar for each person for every day, that was a minimum. Anyway, the book (below) will give you enough information to determine how many quarts or pints you need to put up the amount of produce you want to preserve.

First, I would read a book on food preservation, the "Ball Blue Book" is inexpensive and a good place to start. There are plenty of good books on the subject, you can find some deals in used book stores or on Amazon used.

It was not clear whether you are saying you have Mason (canning jars) that once held spaghetti sauce, or old spaghetti sauce jars that would accept canning lids? Regardless the following applies. Non-canning jars might not hold up to pressure canning. If they are not canning jars, you might get away with hot water bath type canning if you were putting up tomatoes etc. I would not take a chance (the mess) of trying pressure canning with regular jars that will accept screw on lids.

Grease wont preserve anything, it will go rancid. Vegetables stored as described, with grease, would send you to the emergency room, if you were lucky. Jellies used to be preserved with a coating of paraffin (wax), maybe that is what you are thinking, but that method is pretty old fashion these days.

Get the book, follow the "proven directions". Inspect your pressure cooker/canner if it is old and make sure it is safe before using. Nothing will ruin your day like having to clean green beans off the ceiling, ha.
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
These are the jars the sauce cam in when I bought it at the grocery store. After making the sauce, I cleaned them really good, and put dried Chinese medicinal herbs in them by heating them in the oven, and capping them while the jars, and contents were still hot.

Over time, as I used the herbs up they became empty and got stored as I replaced them with 1 gallon steel cans.

Once I filled them, when I would open one they would hiss, just like they were brand new in the store, so I know I was creating a vacuum. however, I was storing already dried herbs, so i really don't know how it would have worked with something wet, like sweet corn, for example.
 

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One-way ticket to the emergency room

Dragon;
You have been given good advice regarding canning. Use only jars that are designed for canning, (Ball is the best known manufacturer). Use good screw tops and NEW lids.

If your Spaghetti sauce jars accept regular canning lids and rings, you can use them to vacuum seal dry stuff like wheat berries, rice, beans, powdered milk, powdered eggs, herbs and spices.

The easiest way do do this is to use a vacuum sealer, (most of them have attachments that will seal a canning jar). You usually can pick up a home sealer for a few bucks at a resale shop.

Good luck.
 

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lids and rings

You can reuse the canning jar rings, but the lid is a one time use item. You only need the ring to hold the lid on the jar until it is processed. After it is processed the internal vacuum will hold the lid in place. Most people remove the ring, and pick the jar up by the lid (ring removed) to test the vacuum seal, after cooling.

Note there are two canning methods being described in the post, a hot bath canning process and a pressure canning process. Hopefully this is not confusing the issue. The item to be preserved will pretty much dictate the method needed to preserve that item.

You could also use your jars with an oxygen absorber to preserve dry items, the oxygen absorber will remove the oxygen, leaving only Nitrogen. The oxygen absorbers wont work with (wet) vegetables.
 

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Are planning to do this with electricity?

The vacuum sealer method will do the trick in less then 1 minute per jar.

Boiling jars in a kettle takes considerably longer to perform but can be done without electricity.
 

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Learn how to use a Hot bath canning system. Then Get you a pressure Canning system.Then you can can meat And Vegetables with this system. Don't try to can meat with a Hot Bath System!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I think the hot bath is what i would do. some of these have a 2 part lid with a flat circle, and an outer "Ring" that screws down to compress the flat part onto the rim of the jar. Others have a one part lid that just screws down.

Since I started this post, I also found several large rectangular shape sheets of bee's wax. These are left over from an ex girl friend who once lived with me. She worked at a small poultry processing plant. They used to melt them, and dip fresh killed and cleaned ducks in the liquid wax.

These sheets of wax are roughly 24" X 18" and 2 inches thick. It looks like there are 5 of these large sheets of bee's wax. One is broken up into large chunks because I melted one and filled a pumpkin with it once. I used a section of hemp rope for a wick and created a terrifying JackO'Lanter one year....it was a major fire hazard and almost burned the house down. Unfortunetly, she is the one who has the photos of it when it all went bad...
 

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Oh lordy, where to start. First, do get the Ball canning cookbook, it should be about 6-7 bucks at Wal-Mart. You can't use old spagetti sauce jars because they can't handle the heat and pressure, you'll have to get actual canning jars (which will come with your first set of rings and lids), extra rings and lids, a canning funnel, jar grabber, and your canners. For vegatables and meat (anything with low acid), you'll have to buy a pressure canner (about $80-90). Anything that is fruit or tomatoes can be done in a water bath canner- it's basicly a big pot with a rack to lift the jars and a lid-$13-20 at Wal-Mart. Definatly read up on canning before you try anything, especially with a pressure canner. If you don't use those correctly you'll run the risk of having it blow up from the pressure.
 

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I think the hot bath is what i would do. some of these have a 2 part lid with a flat circle, and an outer "Ring" that screws down to compress the flat part onto the rim of the jar. Others have a one part lid that just screws down.

Since I started this post, I also found several large rectangular shape sheets of bee's wax. These are left over from an ex girl friend who once lived with me. She worked at a small poultry processing plant. They used to melt them, and dip fresh killed and cleaned ducks in the liquid wax.

These sheets of wax are roughly 24" X 18" and 2 inches thick. It looks like there are 5 of these large sheets of bee's wax. One is broken up into large chunks because I melted one and filled a pumpkin with it once. I used a section of hemp rope for a wick and created a terrifying JackO'Lanter one year....it was a major fire hazard and almost burned the house down. Unfortunetly, she is the one who has the photos of it when it all went bad...
You can't do vegatables in a water bath (unless of course you like botulism in your food:eek:). Don't even think about using wax on anything but jellies, and even that isn't recommended anymore.
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Oh lordy, where to start. First, do get the Ball canning cookbook, it should be about 6-7 bucks at Wal-Mart. You can't use old spagetti sauce jars because they can't handle the heat and pressure, you'll have to get actual canning jars (which will come with your first set of rings and lids), extra rings and lids, a canning funnel, jar grabber, and your canners. For vegatables and meat (anything with low acid), you'll have to buy a pressure canner (about $80-90). Anything that is fruit or tomatoes can be done in a water bath canner- it's basicly a big pot with a rack to lift the jars and a lid-$13-20 at Wal-Mart. Definatly read up on canning before you try anything, especially with a pressure canner. If you don't use those correctly you'll run the risk of having it blow up from the pressure.
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These are all ATLAS MASON jars. They should be tough enough. What i will do is test one and see what happens. If they won't work, I will dehydrate all my veggies in my oven, and use the jars for the dried veggies. I can heat them in the oven when i dry them to get a bit of a vacuum going that way. I have done this before, and the veggies were still good ten years later (I am actually making and eating soups from that stock now). I have dried out Herbs and stored them for years before use this way too, so I know I am good with dried foods.

What I want is to preserve things like corn, peas, and other fresh veggies, without having to dehydrate them first.
 
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