Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Long Term Food Storage

Just in case some folks have not heard of it
or have been hesitant to try,
I would like to share a method we use to store food for long periods of time.
It is hot oven canning.
It really is a simple process.
I have oven-canned many things: 
beans, rice, flour, dehydrated veggies such as corn, green beans, celery, peas, carrots, onions, mushrooms, (the list could go on.)
From the information I have gathered, this method preserves dry foods
for 2 to 12 years.
It depends upon the source.
I have a friend who found a jar of dehydrated green beans that had evidently missed rotation and happened to be 7-8 years old.
She thought "Well, the worst that will happen is they will end up in compost."
She said they were fine.
As with any food storage, we use and rotate our stock.
If you've followed here for some time,
you are probably aware that we don't eat a lot of grains.
We do eat some though, and when we do, we don't want it to be stale.
So one of the items I oven can is rice.
I can put it in 1 meal size jars so we are not opening 
more than what we will use.

The process is quite easy.
Just gather clean dry jars and lids/rims of appropriate size and add the dry food.
Here I am showing rice.

Preheat the oven to "warm."
For my oven, this is about 175 degrees.
Place the uncovered filled jars on a baking sheet into the oven 
until the contents are an even temperature.
This is where there is some variance.
For these small jars of rice, it took about 40 min. since it is dense.
If I were doing small jars of green beans, it might only take 15-20 min.
The food item needs to reach the same temperature as the jar.
Also, the larger the jar, the longer it will take.
I have quart jars of dried beans.  I think they took just over an hour.

When the food item reaches the desired temperature,
remove only one jar at a time.
Lid each jar as you remove it from the oven - one at a time.
This is not difficult, but is important.
If  the whole tray is taken out of the oven, by the time the last jar is lidded,
the contents may be cool enough that the jar won't seal.
Allow the jars to completely cool before storing them.
As with canning any item, the lids will "ploink" indicating a proper seal.

Using this process, I am able to purchase a larger quantity and not have to purchase that item for a long time.
These small bags of rice were on a very good sale so small bags it was.


Disclaimer: I am sharing something we practice.  I am in no way responsible for the decisions you make.  Please, do your own research and make decisions you are comfortable with based on what you discover.


  1. Very interesting to do the brown rice... I think the shelf life is about 6 months because it goes rancid quickly. So this method would increase the shelf life? Thank you for sharing! I am working on long term food storage right now also...

  2. Very interesting! I have never heard of dry oven canning. Would definitely be a great way to store large amounts of dry food. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Is there a specific place you got your information from on dry canning or was it trial and error for you? This is something I would be very interested in doing.

  4. Jes: To be completely honest, this is the first time I've done brown rice. I had so much white rice, I made us "make do" with that and only purchased brown rice (which we prefer) on occasion. I indeed noticed the brown rice didn't keep for long periods of time so did this. As far as how long it will keep, I will have to let you know, but everything I have ever oven-canned has been great when I used it.
    SUI: It's easy and useful, glad you like the post.
    OKRH: Great question. I actually learned this from a woman who is like another mom to me. She learned from her mom. I know that doesn't help you much, but I have seen articles in 'Countryside,' 'MotherEarthNew,' and such magazines. I usually don't read them very thoroughly since they are typically "how to's" and I already "do." One thing I've not seen and would be interested in if I found it is using the Tatler lids. At this time I use the regular metal lids. Their "ploink" is a reassurance to me the there is a proper seal :)

    1. Okay, thanks for being honest. I look forward to the results as we do eat a fair amount of brown rice (soaked first in acv)... I know Patsy at a Working Pantry does a lot of oven canning and loves it too. This is an area I need to work on. Thanks for the response! :)

    2. Hi Jes; I've never heard of soaking brown rice in acv before cooking. What is the purpose behind that?

  5. Very interesting! I have never of oven canning grains.

  6. I had not heard of this but I'm glad to because I have a hard time storing dried good, especially grains because of pantry moths. I store all of my grains and flours in the fridge or freezer, but this is a nuisance because it the jars and bags take up so much room. It would be better to oven can things in quart jars and only have a couple quart jars in the freezer or fridge rather than gallons worth!

    You mention heating until the contents are an even temperature. Is there a particular temperature you're aiming for?

    1. I don't know a specific temperature. If I am uncertain, I stick my finger down into the jar to make sure it feels warm to the touch in the middle (not just on the outside.) That's how I was taught:)

  7. Now I wish I had got that five lb. Bag of wild rice from our Bear hunting guide. I was afraid it would take us too long to eat it.

  8. How interesting, I have never heard of this. I guess living on the East side (WA) where it is so dry (most of the time) I just store in glass containers. Great tip.

  9. I've never oven canned anything. Interesting process. Thanks for sharing with us at the homestead blog hop, hope we see you again this week!

  10. Great post, I have heard of dry oven canning but haven't tried it yet! Thank you for sharing your post on Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop! As one of the co-hosts I will be featuring your post tomorrow!
    - Nancy (Nancy On The Home Front )

  11. I had not before heard of canning things using the over like this! I think even I could manage it :) Great tip!! We would also love to have you over at our link party that opened this morning, To Grandma's House we go! www.grandmashousediy.com

  12. Wow! I'm so glad to learn about oven canning. I'll be trying this for sure! I always buy too much rice, and have a hard time using it before the time is up! Found you on the Simple Homestead Hop

  13. Very interesting! I have never heard of oven canning, what an easy way to extend shelf life. Thanks for sharing on Homestead Blog Hop! :)

  14. How long would you leave the dry oatmeal in the oven? (what you used in making the Trail Mix )

    1. Hi Colleen. It depends upon what size jars you are using. I recently bought a 25 lb. bag and did it in quart jars. Those took about an hour. If you are using smaller jars, it would take less time.