STORING JARS OF PRESERVED FOOD

How do I store my jars of preserved food?
Process all jars that are going to be stored at room temperature via boiling water canning, Fowler's Vacola bottling, steam canning or pressure canning. Ensure jars are clean, rings and clips are removed (if applicable) and jars are clearly labelled. Store jars in a single layer in a cool, dark and dry place such as a cupboard or pantry. For large quantities of preserves, ensure shelving is reinforced. Do not stack jars.
  
How long will jars of preserved food keep?
All fruit preserves are best consumed within a year, but may be consumed after this date – check for spoilage before consumption. Full sugar preserves will keep longer than low-sugar preserves, and will begin to discolour, and change flavour/texture after a year of storage. Please note that pale coloured jellies may naturally darken during long-term storage. Pressure canned food may keep longer than this 12 month period, but it is recommended to consume within one year for all bottled food at home.
  
What are the signs of spoilage?
Bulging or loose lids are the main indicators of spoilage, also check for changes in smell and flavour – if in doubt, throw it out. A good vacuum seal ensures good quality preserves but if you find mould or other signs of spoilage, do not skim mould from the jars and consume the jar contents! Safely dispose of the jar contents and wash jars well before use.
   
What do I do when I open a jar of canned food?
Once jars have been opened, store in the refrigerator and use within a few weeks – pressure canned food is best consumed within a few days of opening, pickles within a few weeks and full-sugar preserves like jam and jelly consumed within 6-8 weeks. Check before consuming that spoilage has not occurred during refrigeration. Use clean utensils when removing preserves from jars to prevent contamination.
   
LEARN MORE: WATER BATH CANNING (BOTTLING) ARTICLES
      

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