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How to can dry foods using your oven

Food storage

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(NaturalNews) Most people are aware of the common way of storing foods: placing edibles in sealed containers, then putting them aside for long-term preservation. Other storage methods also exist such as purchasing food-grade containers and lining them with Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers prior to filling them with several pounds of dried goods.

But what about using the oven to can dry foods?

According to sustainable-living expert Lisa Lynn, it's an effective practice.

"Many people have written to me wondering why I would choose this canning technique over vacuum sealing," she said. "Actually, I use both methods and like them for different reasons. But using a vacuum sealer requires electricity...a resource that you are unlikely to have in the case of a real shtf scenario."(1)

For those wondering, "shtf" stands for "Sh** Hits the Fan," a more casual way of explaining the mass chaos that will likely develop in our fast-crumbling world of diminishing natural resources, plummeting economies and declining morals. Therefore, she explains that oven canning involving a wood cook stove with an oven feature is beneficial since it doesn't require electricity. "Oven canning is also a method of dry food preservation that doesn't require the purchase of equipment that may be out of the budget for folks who are prepping on a dime."(1)

Here's how it works, for those interested in starting now.

How to oven can dry foods

"Baking them in the oven kills any insects or eggs to prevent contamination," Lynn said. "As the jars cool, the lids will seal, preventing moisture or bugs from getting in and ruining your food."(1)

As Lynn wrote at ThePrepperProject.com, the following steps should be taken to oven can dry foods:

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Fill your clean canning jars with dried goods (leave 1/2" head space)
3. Do not put lids on yet
4. Place in oven and set timer for 1 hour
5. Use pot holders or towel to remove jars from oven
6. Quickly wipe rim of jar with damp (not dripping wet) towel
7. Place metal canning lid on jar
8. Screw metal band on tightly
9. Return jars to oven and set timer for 30 minutes
10. Remove jars from oven and allow to cool
11. Check lids for tight seal

Tips to ensure proper sealing, quality

After this process, she recommends storing them in a dry, dark and cool spot and to label jars with the date and its contents. If necessary, add a label that outlines directions.

Lynn also says that this process is meant only for dried goods and should not be employed with meats, fruits or vegetables unless they've been dehydrated.(1)

Additionally, she warns against using Tattler lids, as they tend to take a great deal of practice to seal correctly. "The first few batches I canned did not seal well. I had about a 50% failure rate, which is totally unacceptable in my book," she said. For this reason, she turns to metal lids she's used previously. "Since you aren't canning perishable foods, such as meats and veggies, you may re-use the metal lids as long as they are in good condition, are not bent, and all of the rubber is intact."(1,2)

But is oven canning safe?

Oven canning has been steeped in controversy.

Some people say that it comes with dangers and, therefore, only a person well-versed in the practice should attempt the process. In fact, many organizations, including the National Center for Home Food Preservation, express concern. The Center does not deem it safe, saying, "This can be dangerous because the temperature will vary according to the accuracy of oven regulators and circulation of heat. Dry heat is very slow in penetrating into jars of food. Also, jars explode easily in the oven."(3)

On the other hand, browse the Internet and it's obvious that there are those who tout its benefits. For example, the woman who writes on her blog Farmgirl in Training, says that oven canning has proven to be very effective for her. "I save money buying in bulk, it is sealed and I don't have to worry about bugs or rancid flour. Plus, with the shaky economy, I have a stock pile to help get through the winter."(4)

Lynn stated, "Many of these foods will last for years if properly sealed," adding that "You may not be able to prepare for everything...but it sure helps to have many different techniques of food preservation at your disposal!"(1)


(1) http://theprepperproject.com

(2) http://theprepperproject.com

(3) http://nchfp.uga.edu

(4) http://farmgirlintraining.blogspot.com

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