What Are the Best Tips for Canning Storage?

Misty Amber Brighton

People who are interested in canning and preserving foods should make sure they store the finished product properly. Seals should be checked, and jars should be rotated to use oldest foods first. Canning storage should be in a cool dark place such as a basement or cellar. If one of these areas is not available, a closet can be used instead, and it is best to use one that is temperature-controlled with plenty of open space. The storage location should be wide enough to make it easy to rotate canning jars and see at a glance what products are on hand.

A canning jar of pickled cornichons.
A canning jar of pickled cornichons.

Canning jars should be completely sealed before they are placed in storage. After completing open kettle canning, the jars should sit overnight before checking the seals. This can be accomplished by visually inspecting the lid to see if there are any gaps between the rim of the jar and the lid. The lid should be slightly indented in the center if the jar has a proper seal on it.

Canned fruits and vegetables should be kept in a cool dark location.
Canned fruits and vegetables should be kept in a cool dark location.

It can be helpful to write the date and contents of the jars on the lid before placing them in canning storage. When doing so, the newest foods should be placed in the back of the storage area and older goods rotated toward the front. Most vegetables have a shelf life of one year, so bottled foods that are older than this should be discarded in order to prevent food borne illnesses.

There should be good airflow in all canning storage areas. People should elevate canned foods at least 6 inches (15.24 cm) off the ground and leave around a foot (.31 m) between the top shelf and the ceiling. It can also be a good idea to place canning jars 3 to 4 inches (7.62 to 10.16 cm) away from the wall and leave the same amount of space between different types of vegetables as well. If the storage area is in a basement or cellar, homeowners may want to use a dehumidifier in order to prevent mold or mildew from growing there.

Canning storage areas are often prone to pests such as cockroaches or mice. Spraying the storage area with an insecticide is generally not recommended, as this can leave a residue on the jar lids. It can be helpful to keep a few glue traps in the corner of the storage area in case vermin or insects do creep in. If the area becomes heavily infested, it might be a good idea to call a professional exterminator who is trained in spraying insecticides in areas where preserved foods are being stored.

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