Canning 101: How to Store Finished Jars

how to store jars

In an ideal world, we canners would all have cool, dry and dark basements lined with sturdy shallow shelves in which to store our pickles, preserves and pressure canned stocks. However, I’ve found that rarely does life cooperate with ideals.

I live in an 1,100 square foot apartment on the 20th floor of a high rise. I don’t have a basement, but I make do with an array of closets, cabinets and other out-of-the-way corners. As you scope out where the best nooks your home has to offer for canned good store, here are a few things to keep in mind.

–You want to keep your canned goods out of the sunlight. Over time, natural light can deteriorate your product, stealing color and quality.

–Cooler is better. I’m not talking freezing temps, but definitely don’t store home canned goods near heaters, radiators or electronics that run hot.

–Keep your storage space accessible. While it’s true that you want an nice, quiet spot for your jars, you don’t want to make it so obscure or hard to access that you end up forgetting about your peaches and applesauce altogether. Remember, the whole reason we can is to have tasty things to eat all year round.

–Make sure to remove the rings. I realize that this one gives a lot of newer canners pause, but I promise, it’s absolutely safe to take the rings off the jars once they’re sealed and cooled. In fact, it’s the best way to store your jars, because it allows you to know sooner rather than later if something is wrong with your product. If you’ve got spoilage occurring in a jar, storing it without the ring means that any growth taking place in the jar will dislodge the lid and alert you to the problem.

Where do you squirrel away your home canned goods?

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64 Responses to Canning 101: How to Store Finished Jars

  1. 51
    Marisa says:

    Sarah, I love your pictures of the boys with the rings on their arms. Canning cuteness, at its best!

  2. 52
    Emily says:

    Aaah, I’m lucky for a Brooklynite to have one deep (and very oddly shaped) corner cabinet in our kitchen. It’s one part crockpot and (coffee) grinder storage, one part pantry. I’m not quite sure what I would do without it, as all of a sudden, I realize I have over 35 jars of food in that little oddball cabinet.

  3. 53
    Julie says:

    I use the rings! I like the rings.
    In defense of rings – if your jar pops, the rings will help keep the contents of the jar contained in the jar & not everywhere else. I also flag jars that seal late with “use first” as they are more likely to unseal in hot temperatures.
    You need to take them off, wash the jar, wash the rings & let them dry completely, before putting them on for storage. Your rings will stay nice.

    Storing rings for those of us with basements: loop them on metal coat hangers. I put white on one side &
    gold on the other.

    New to blog – love it.

  4. 54
    Danielle says:

    I live in a little carriage house, so, like you, my space is limited. I’ve taken over a closet in the downstairs bathroom located off the kitchen. That has become my go-to canning pantry. The remaining jars live under my bed on the second floor. I’ve jacked my bed up on risers to accommodate them.

  5. 55
    jillian says:

    And all those lovely jars can double gorgeously as DECOR! I, too, live in a small apartment and I stack them in colorful arrangements on my ikea bookshelves (out of the sunlight)and people always comment on the unique decor.

  6. 56
    Jackie says:

    Hi,
    I was wondering if it is a bad idea to store the jars in the fridge.

    If it is, would a kitchen cupboard be ok?

    Thanks,
    Jackie

  7. 57

    […] learned to can a little over a year ago and somewhere along the way I learned that you shouldn’t keep the rings on your processed goods for storage. Yet, I hadn’t […]

  8. 58
    Hattie says:

    I was wondering… I have a shelf that rotates my cans for me can I put my jars on here also. It rolls them on their side, that is my concern. But if the jar is sealed then on it’s side might be ok right?

  9. 59
    Jan says:

    I am so fortunate to have a cold cellar just like the one you described.
    I don’t know where I would store everything if I didn’t have that cellar. I am terrible at organizing.

  10. 60

    […] Approximately 12 hours after processing, remove the rings from the jars and test the seals by gently lifting the jar by the sealed lid. If any of the jars failed to seal, simply place them in the fridge and use within a week or two. Wipe off the rings and store until you need to use them again (you should not store your filled, sealed jars with the rings on). […]

  11. 61

    […] Approximately 12 hours after processing, remove the rings from the jars and test the seals by gently lifting the jar by the sealed lid. If any of the jars failed to seal, simply place them in the fridge and use within a week or two. Wipe off the rings and store until you need to use them again (you should not store your filled, sealed jars with the rings on). […]

  12. 62
    Jo says:

    I have figured out a way to wrap my canning jars in corrugated cardboard so they will roll in my FIFO can racks. Apart from the obvious issue of a mess if one of them doesn’t seal properly, is there any safety reason for not storing home canned jars of food on their sides? This method also keeps them dark. Thanks!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] learned to can a little over a year ago and somewhere along the way I learned that you shouldn’t keep the rings on your processed goods for storage. Yet, I hadn’t […]

  2. Canning Prep and Processing Instructions | ma vie en food - June 12, 2012

    […] Approximately 12 hours after processing, remove the rings from the jars and test the seals by gently lifting the jar by the sealed lid. If any of the jars failed to seal, simply place them in the fridge and use within a week or two. Wipe off the rings and store until you need to use them again (you should not store your filled, sealed jars with the rings on). […]

  3. Canning Prep and Processing Instructions « Cook. Can. CSA. - August 20, 2012

    […] Approximately 12 hours after processing, remove the rings from the jars and test the seals by gently lifting the jar by the sealed lid. If any of the jars failed to seal, simply place them in the fridge and use within a week or two. Wipe off the rings and store until you need to use them again (you should not store your filled, sealed jars with the rings on). […]

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