Storing home canned foods
If you are lucky enough to have some home canned foods on hand (through your own or someone else’s hard work), be sure to store them properly so that you can enjoy the taste of summer throughout the coming year.
Once jars have cooled for 12 to 24 hours and sealed, the screw bands should be removed for storage. This prevents the bands from rusting onto the jars and allows undamaged bands to be reused. The outside of the sealed jars should be washed to remove any food residue, then rinsed and dried.
For best quality, all home canned foods should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place, ideally at 50-70 degrees F. They should not be stored at temperatures above 95 degrees F, in an uninsulated shed or attic, in direct sunlight, under a sink or near hot pipes, a stove or a furnace.
Heat will cause canned food to lose quality in a few weeks or months and may cause it to spoil. Dampness may cause metal lids to rust and seals to break, allowing contamination and spoilage.
Accidental freezing and thawing of canned food will not cause it to spoil unless the jars break or become unsealed, but it may soften the food. If freezing is a possibility, jars should be wrapped in newspapers, placed in heavy boxes and covered with more newspapers and blankets.
Even under the best storage conditions, home canned food should be used within one year for top quality. Enjoy your home canned treasures now, while looking forward to the fresh goodness of next summer’s garden.
If there are any questions or for information on food preservation, contact the Whitley County Cooperative Extension Service at 549-1430; e-mail DL_CES_WHITLEY@EMAIL.UKY.EDU; or visit the office currently located in Cumberland Regional Mall, 965 S. Highway 25W, Williamsburg.
Reference: National Center for Home Food Preservation. (2009). Storing Home Canned Foods. Retrieved August 19, 2015, from http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/store/store_home_canned.html
Source: Debbie Clouthier, Extension Associate for Food Safety and Preservation, University of Kentucky; College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.