You’ve heard the most delightful sound in the kitchen – the popping of lids fresh from the canner – and your jars are completely cooled. Now what?
Prepare Jars for Storage
Remove the rings and wipe down the outside of the jar with a warm wet cloth or sponge. Often a bit of juice, brine or jam escapes during the vacuum process. Being outside the seal, this can spoil and rust the lids.
Wash the rings by hand or in the dishwasher and store them in a dry place for later (see below).
Label each lid with the contents and date. You can do this with a sharpie marker or label maker. I love how neat jars look when labeled with my Brother p-touch label maker. Lil gets a kick out of making the labels too.
Where to Store
Home canned goods last longest when they are stored in a dark, dry place with cool and consistent temperature. My basement is great for this. A cool closet, root cellar, or cupboard will also work.
If you have them, I find jar boxes to be excellent for storage of filled or empty jars. The high sides prevent light from discoloring food and the cardboard dividers keep the jars from clanking during transport.
Empty Jars and Rings
In the fall, the larder is full of filled colorful jars. But as winter progresses and the contents are used, what do you do with the rings and empties?
You may reuse the rings for canning so long as they aren’t dented or rusted. You also will need one per jar to keep home canned goods in the fridge after opening.
I store rings in a kitchen drawer with my dish towels. You’ll note some lids in there too; I keep them around for when I want to store leftovers or dry goods. Lids cannot be reused for canning but they are fine for non-sealed storage.
I stash a small selection of empty jars in a kitchen drawer (with some other miscellany like our cider press bag) for storing leftovers. When this drawer overflows, I take the excess down to the basement and sort by size on a shelf. When I have a dozen of a given size, I load them into a box and stack these for use during the next canning season.
I’m sure that my system is not the only one that works. How do you manage canning jars?
Added to Simple Lives Thursday 58.