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Long-Term Food Storage Canning Methods

There have been ‘runs’ on the supermarkets, and you were completely caught off guard. Now you are wondering why you did not think about food storage long-term solutions.

Today, it’s easy with freezers and canned goods. However, those canned goods are limiting and sometimes tasteless. So learning how to preserve food yourself will be the best possible solution for the long haul. You can’t go wrong with DIY food storage for nutrition and taste.

food storage long term

Maybe something you and I should have thought about long before a crisis fell upon us. Well, it’s not too late to learn about the two types of long-term food storage solutions for the DIY homeowner.

Types Of Food Storage Long-Term Solutions

One type of food storage involves placing foods in Mason jars and heating them to a temperature that destroys micro-organisms that cause food to spoil. During this heating process, air is driven out of the jar and as it cools a vacuum seal is formed, preserving the food much as in the way of those canned goods that are no longer available in the supermarket.

Another type Is referred to as canning. Pressure canning is a technique of home food preservation that uses special equipment to process food at a higher temperature than the mason jar water bath type of canning. 

Food Storage Jars For The Long Term

Canning With Mason Jars is probably the best-known method of food storage for the homeowner. Mason jars are designed to take the heat and seal safely. However, even Mason jars won’t last forever, so be prepared to replace them when necessary.

All the required tools and related needs, such as those Mason jars, are readily available at the big box stores or you may deal with all your food issues online.

How Canning Works involves placing foods in jars or similar containers and heating them to a temperature that destroys micro-organisms that cause food to spoil. During this heating process, air is driven out of the jar and as it cools, a vacuum seal is formed.

Here’s how it works in a ‘nutshell’ Once the jars are filled with your gastronomical delights, the metal lids and screw bands are applied, and the jars are placed in a canner filled with water.

As heating begins, the contents of each jar expand, and changes in internal pressure occur. Initially, gases are vented from the jar. When the processing period is finished, the atmospheric pressure outside the jar is greater than the pressure inside. This difference in pressure pulls the lid down onto the jar and forms a vacuum seal.

Heating for the required period also kills molds, yeasts, bacteria, and enzymes that may be present. Your preserves now keep safe, as the vacuum seal prevents microorganisms and air from re-entering the jar and contaminating the contents.

The following video will give you the basics for the tried and true water-bath canning methods using reliable Mason jars.


Pressure Canner For Long Term Food Storage

This is ‘another animal’ for a food storage long-term solution and a much different learning curve. However, just as easy, just another procedure when it comes to equipment.

All low-acid foods must be processed at a temperature higher than boiling water, i.e., in a pressure canner. Higher temperatures are required to destroy naturally occurring spores that can cause botulism. Pressure canning must be done for the designated time for the specific food and size of the canning jar. Low-acid foods include vegetables, tomato products with added vegetables or meat, meat and game, soups, stews, seafood, and poultry.

Rather than explain this procedure, I have included a video for your entertainment and a much easier way for me to explain the process.

You did not want to read a lot of text anyway.

The canning methods described above are some of the best ways to prepare food storage for the long-term duration needed in the aftermath of a natural disaster. They are easy to learn and then create in your kitchen.

Early Methods Of Long Term Food Preservation

Before all of our modern ways of food issues and food storage for long-term situations, people had to eat. Preserving food is as old as the first time anyone had leftovers.

In the past, people also had ways to preserve food: natural cooling and freezing, drying, curing, smoking, pickling, fermenting, and preserving in honey. Native Americans in ancient times sun-cured buffalo meat. In places where people had large salt deposits, they used it to cure foods with salt.

How Long Will Canning Last

That is a good question that many of us ask. Generally, your unopened home canned foods have a shelf life of one year and should be used before two years. Store-bought Commercially canned foods should retain their best quality until the expiration code date on the can. This date is usually 3-5 years from the manufacture date.


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP) both say to try to use up your home canned goods within a year of making them. The reason is not for food safety but for optimum food quality.

food storage issues

Elizabeth Andress of the NCHFP elaborates: We recommend using within a year for best quality; that also is not intended to indicate you should throw anything over a year old. It says to use it within a year for the best quality. Beyond that, just like with commercially canned foods, you might start to see some quality deterioration.”

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