By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)
I have been looking for an easy way to save dry goods like rice and flour for a while. I buy a little just about every time I go to the grocery store and have been looking for an cost effective way add them to my long term food storage. During my research I learned about oven canning and thought it might by a great solution for me.
Unlike many people who store food I do not buy in bulk; for two reasons. The first being that I do not have any stores nearby that sell bulk dry goods and the other is I don’t have the extra money to buy 100 pounds of rice and then all the Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers and food grade buckets. What I do have is a few extra dollars every week and lots of jars that were in grandma’s out building. So I can buy a few 3 pound bags of rice at the end of the week, oven can it and I am done.
The other great thing about oven canning is that if you can your dry goods correctly they can have a storage life of 15 to 20 years. So if you are at the grocery store and find flour or sale and decide to pick up a few extra bags you will know that you can store it long term and you will not have lost any money. The other great thing is that the jars are a good size so you can rotate the dry goods easily. We use ½ gallon jars for our oven canning. When needed my wife will just open one up and keep it in the pantry. When that jars is empty, she washes it and puts back in the box with the other empties and gets another full jar out of storage. We have found that the half gallon Ball jars hold about 3 ½ pounds of rice and 2 ½ pounds of flour. Any size jar will work from pints to half gallons.
What can be oven canned?
Dried goods like oatmeal, rice, whole wheat flour, white flour, cake mixes, and potato flakes can all be oven canned. Sugar and products that contain oil cannot be oven canned.
How to oven can Dry Goods
The first thing you need to do is pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees (depending on the size of jar you are using you might have to remove the top rack in your oven). While your oven is heating up make sure that you have the correct size lids and bands to fit the jars. Fill your clean jars with the dry goods you are canning. Once the oven has pre-heated place your full jars (no lids) on a cookie sheet in the oven. We always place the cookie sheet in the oven first and then place the jars on the cookie sheet. The cookie sheets job is to keep the jars from tipping over in the oven.
Leave the filled jars in the oven for one hour. While they are processing get a clean towel and place it on your counter so the hot jars want damage it when you remove them from the oven. Once the jars have processed for an hours use hot mitts to remove a jar and place it on the towel. Carefully wipe the rim with a damp (not wet) paper towel. Lastly place the lid on the hot jar and screw the band firmly in place. Carefully grab another jar and repeat this process until all the jars have lids and bands firmly secured. As the jars cool you will hear them start to make a “clicking” noise. That is the sound of the lids sealing. Let the jars cool completely, remove bands, label and store.
Oven canning is an excellent way to prolong the shelf life of dry goods. It also kills bugs and eggs that you might not know are in your products. The big one for me was that if frees up valuable freezer space and helps me take advantage of sales at my local grocery store.
Please be extremely careful when handling hot jars and remember I am not a professional and I am only sharing what has worked for my family and me. If you have any question about safety please feel free to check with your local extension office.