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Posted: 5/1/2009 12:43:42 PM EDT
Just wanted to show how you can vacuum seal dry foods using various jars.  Here is what the finished jars look like.  There's green beans, crowder peas, spinach, peppers and onions stir-fry, collard greens, mixed vegetables, green onions, fordhook limas, English peas, etc.:

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c103/sungrasses/Jar%20Vacuum%20Sealer/100_0389.jpg
I used jars that previously held spaghetti sauce, pesto sauce, salsa, jelly, and pickles.  You can use any jar that has a metal lid with a rubber seal underneath.  I drive through the neighborhood on recycling day and collect jars.  You may also use regular canning jars, but I prefer to save those for my canning.  

You will need the following FoodSaver canister and a FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer with the hose attachment, silica jel packets, and O2 absorbers:

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c103/sungrasses/Jar%20Vacuum%20Sealer/100_0367.jpg

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c103/sungrasses/Jar%20Vacuum%20Sealer/foodsavercanister.jpg

This is the 6 Quart FoodSaver Bulk Storage Canister, available here for $24.99 plus shipping. :  

Food Saver Canister

Per their website:


The FoodSaver® 6 Quart Bulk Storage Canister is a round Vacuum Storage Canister that works with FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealing Systems to keep moist or dry food fresh. Buy in bulk and save, then seal in the freshness. FoodSaver® Bulk Storage Canisters create airtight storage for pantry or refrigerator use. Great for storing cereal, chips, crackers, candy, pet food, soups, stews and much more.

Features:
-Buy in bulk and save
-Great for refrigerator or pantry storage
-Keeps bulk cereals, crackers and snacks fresh longer
-Ideal for large quantities of dry pet food

Buy 2, 4 and 6 Quart Sizes!


If you don't have the hose attachment for your FoodSaver, you can purchase it at this website as well.

I bought frozen vegetables on sale and placed them in my dehydrator.  You can also seal any dried beans, rice, flour, dried herbs, or anything else you can think of.
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c103/sungrasses/Jar%20Vacuum%20Sealer/100_0385.jpg

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c103/sungrasses/Jar%20Vacuum%20Sealer/100_0384.jpg

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c103/sungrasses/Jar%20Vacuum%20Sealer/100_0388.jpg

I also cut the green tops off my onions.  Here they are already dehydrated.
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c103/sungrasses/Jar%20Vacuum%20Sealer/100_0369.jpg

Once the veges are completely dry, place 3 silica jel packets and one O2 absorber in the jar with the dried vegetables.
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c103/sungrasses/Jar%20Vacuum%20Sealer/100_0371.jpg

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c103/sungrasses/Jar%20Vacuum%20Sealer/100_0376.jpg

Screw on the lid and place the filled jar inside the vacuum canister.  Attach the FoodSaver hose to the vacuum sealer and to the canister.  Turn the knob on the top of the canister to "Vacuum".
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c103/sungrasses/Jar%20Vacuum%20Sealer/100_0379.jpg

Sometimes 2 jars will fit in there together.
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c103/sungrasses/Jar%20Vacuum%20Sealer/100_0383.jpg

Start your vacuum sealer in the usual manner.  My model requires me to just push down on it.   Repeat the vacuum process several times for each jar to ensure a good seal.  Turn the knob on the top of the canister to "Open" to release the vacuum.  Take the jar out and touch the lid to see if it's sucked down.  This means that it's sealed.  If the center of the lid pops up when you touch it, it's not sealed.  Place the jar back in the canister and re-vacuum.  The lid will bulge up while inside the canister after you run the sealer a few times.  Then when you "open" the canister knob, the jar lid sucks down to form the seal.
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c103/sungrasses/Jar%20Vacuum%20Sealer/100_0381.jpg

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c103/sungrasses/Jar%20Vacuum%20Sealer/100_0373.jpg

I guess I could vacuum seal dried veges and herbs in mylar or FoodSaver bags, but I love the way the filled jars look on my shelves.  I also like the convenience of using these jars when I want to add some "green" to soups, or just a few veges to a rice dish.  

I estimate each of the spaghetti sauce jars holds up to 2 regular sized bags of frozen vegetables when dried.  I buy frozen veges on sale for $1.00/bag.  So, I'm paying $2.00 per quart for these dried veges.  Emergency Essentials has Provident Pantry Freeze-Dried Spinach for $13.95 per #10 can.  Here is the link:

Emergency Essentials Website

I prefer using the quart size or smaller jar, instead of the gallon can of dried vegetables.  It's more convenient for me.

If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask!


Link Posted: 5/1/2009 12:48:17 PM EDT
A lot of good information on here. Sounds like I need to get busy!

Thanks for the post OP!

Link Posted: 5/1/2009 12:54:25 PM EDT
Looks like I have my work cut out for me over these next few weeks.

Great write up. Thanks!
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 12:57:13 PM EDT
WOW...thanks...that's a great cost savings, even considering the price of the unit....
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 1:12:19 PM EDT
Thanks.  I like preserving this way.  I don't like having stuff in gallon size containers.  Foods seem to get stale when I can't use it all up fast enough.  So quarts and smaller work better for me.  

By the way, you can also use 1/2 gallon canning jars in this canister.   You can get those from ACE Hardware, $10.49/ 6 jars:

ACE Hardware
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 1:16:13 PM EDT
Any idea how long stuff lasts when preserved like this, longer than wet canning?
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 1:30:00 PM EDT
I don't really know for sure.  Maybe someone else knows???

With the dried food, O2 absorbers, and silica packets, I would think it would keep a very long time.

By the way, I get my silica packets from the shoe store.
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 1:37:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/1/2009 1:43:10 PM EDT by MrHunterAZ]
Well the shelf life of dehydrated foods highly depends upon the method of dehydration, the techniques of canning, and the food item.

One of the most fragile nutrients in dehydrated food is Vitamin C, you have to dehydrate on very low temps to not destroy the Vitamin.

The shelf life and nutrient content however is higher than wet canning because the high temps in the canning process destroy some of the nutrients. Shelf life can be expected in the decades.

-Remember that blanching (In most foods) is required...and more difficult to achieve the correct blanch with the corrct temp and time...is required to stabilize the vitamins and nutrients.


There is a difference between dehydrating and drying....many commercial dehydrators apply too much heat to the food which denatures proteins and disrupts cell walls, this is drying. The removal of moisture while keeping the cells intact is dehydrating. The lower the heat applied the more nutrients will be retained. Remember to store with the 02 absorber and keep out of light and heat. Should be gtg for decades.


P.S.

Very good write up GardeningAngel, I have a similar setup at home. BTW if you put the 02 absorber at the bottom of the jar it makes it easier to pull food out but much more difficult to replace it lol.
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 2:21:10 PM EDT
Thanks for the headsup on putting the O2 in the bottom of the jar.   I put 1-2 silica jel packets in the bottom, an O2 vertically in the middle, and another silica jel on top for good measure.  Overkill?
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 2:35:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/1/2009 2:35:40 PM EDT by MrHunterAZ]
Originally Posted By GardeningAngel:
Thanks for the headsup on putting the O2 in the bottom of the jar.   I put 1-2 silica jel packets in the bottom, an O2 vertically in the middle, and another silica jel on top for good measure.  Overkill?


Very much so


From what I have been reading/doing is there is supposed to be a "conditioning" period after you dehydrate. You know how after you take it out you hear a plastic crisp sound when dropping the veggie? Well I guess your supposed to leave the veggie out in a paper bag, box, or other container for a few hours to a few days. This allows the food item to redistribute some moisture throughout itself and come to a kind of baseline with the atmosphere. I noticed that when I do this with spinach it makes the leaves a little less brittle. It is also supposed to draw moisture pockets out of the stems and cores of the veggie and evenly distribute.

I would imagine that 1 O2 absorber should be enough. maybe a silica packet for the very long term stuff.

When you dehydrate you are looking for 95%+ dehydration, that's when you hear the plastic sound. IIRC you really only need sub 20%-15% moisture content to keep mold away.
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 2:55:42 PM EDT
Very good information thanks a bunch.
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 3:42:42 PM EDT
I like the pictures and thread, I keep talking about vacumn sealing some stuff but have not gotten around to buying a vacumn sealer yet.

As far as the silica gel packs and 02 absorbers, are they needed?

If the lid of the jar sucks down then you have pulled a vacumn in the jar.  As long as the lid retains its seal I don't see much need for the silica gel packs and 02 absorbers.

I can understand the overkill concept but if the seal on the lid fails then those packs won't help out for very long.

I am mostly going to be sealing up stuff I will use up within a year I think so I am not all that concerned with storing stuff for years and years.
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 4:27:16 PM EDT
Originally Posted By biere:
I like the pictures and thread, I keep talking about vacumn sealing some stuff but have not gotten around to buying a vacumn sealer yet.

As far as the silica gel packs and 02 absorbers, are they needed?

If the lid of the jar sucks down then you have pulled a vacumn in the jar.  As long as the lid retains its seal I don't see much need for the silica gel packs and 02 absorbers.

I can understand the overkill concept but if the seal on the lid fails then those packs won't help out for very long.

I am mostly going to be sealing up stuff I will use up within a year I think so I am not all that concerned with storing stuff for years and years.


The vacuum sealer will pull out a good amount of air but there will remain a good amount of oxygen which over time (years) can oxidize your food. Now personally I just throw in the oxygen absorber and allow the packet to pull the vacuum. I personally do not use the silica packet but it can be helpful if you are opening your jar a lot in a humid environment.

What it really comes down to is ho long are you attempting to store food...months, years, decades?
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 4:33:42 PM EDT
and don'tforget about ammo. I've vac packed 50 cal in glass jars.
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 5:04:41 PM EDT
Originally Posted By finishman2000:
and don'tforget about ammo. I've vac packed 50 cal in glass jars.


Very smart idea..
Link Posted: 5/1/2009 6:19:49 PM EDT
keep them out of the light too
Link Posted: 5/2/2009 5:18:14 AM EDT
Food Saver also sells a jar lid attachment. You use regular canning jars and lids (no need for the ring) and just put the lid on, set the attachment over it, and vac it down. While the way the OP is doing it works, he's working his vac packer to death because he's not only vaccuming the jars, but everytime he does it he has to vac the big canister too. This attachment only vacs the jar and save a lot of time.

Just fyi for others that may wish to do this and already have canning jars to use.
Link Posted: 5/2/2009 5:25:22 AM EDT
Originally Posted By SigOwner_P229:
Food Saver also sells a jar lid attachment. You use regular canning jars and lids (no need for the ring) and just put the lid on, set the attachment over it, and vac it down. While the way the OP is doing it works, he's she's working his vac packer to death because he's not only vaccuming the jars, but everytime he does it he has to vac the big canister too. This attachment only vacs the jar and save a lot of time.

Just fyi for others that may wish to do this and already have canning jars to use.


Link Posted: 5/2/2009 5:55:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/2/2009 5:57:59 AM EDT by MrHunterAZ]
After seeing this post I got a craving for dehydrated soup so I made this...





5 Tsp Tomato Bouillon with Chicken Flavor
1 Tbls Dehydrated Peas
1 Tbls Dehydrated Corn
1 Tbls Dehydrated Green Onions
2 Tbls Dehydrated Potatoes
2 Tbls Dehydrated Instant Beans
3 Slices Dehydrated Tomatoes
Handful of Dehydrated Mushrooms
Handful of fresh Spam (Ran out of dehydrated Spam ) Seasoned with garlic and fried before adding the rest of the ingredients.
8 cups of water and I was gtg (Boils down to 5 cups)


Season with some pepper and MMmmm
Link Posted: 5/2/2009 8:56:26 AM EDT
Great post.  Subscribed for future reference.  Just now getting into using my foodsaver.  Mine came with a jar attachment to do just this.  Will start adding some jars to my stash.
Link Posted: 5/2/2009 9:43:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/2/2009 9:48:18 AM EDT by Mach]
You say to screw the lid on the jar and put in canister. How do you get a vacum in the jar if the lid is all ready screwed on?
Link Posted: 5/2/2009 12:38:00 PM EDT
""You say to screw the lid on the jar and put in canister. How do you get a vacum in the jar if the lid is all ready screwed on?""

Dunno.  It just does.  


I've used the mason jar attachment on my canning jars, but I prefer to save my good canning jars for canning.  

I recycle these misc glass jars for my dry stuff.  The canister gives me more versatility to use whatever jars I have on hand.
Link Posted: 5/2/2009 1:53:28 PM EDT
The one jar that was from Classico spagetti sauce, is actually a mason jar, on the side it says atlas mason
Link Posted: 5/2/2009 8:11:42 PM EDT
I'm confused; how do you vac-seal a jar when the lid is already on?
Link Posted: 5/3/2009 6:37:48 AM EDT
The lid will not be that tight, a vaccum is on a molecular level....it will pull the cap in when it wants
Link Posted: 5/3/2009 6:43:09 AM EDT
I just put the lid on, put it in the canister, and start the vac sealer.  It really works.  Don't know for sure how, but it does.  

Each of the sealed jar lids have a nice ping sound when I tap them.  When a jar isn't sealed, the lid has a plunk sound when tapped.  

By the way, that soup up there looks delish!!!!
Link Posted: 5/3/2009 3:18:51 PM EDT
Basically the vacumn has more force than the lid can seal against.

Once you remove the vacumn it keeps the lid sucked down since the atmospheric pressure is higher than the pressure in the jar.

It takes good lids to maintain that seal.

Link Posted: 5/3/2009 3:23:04 PM EDT
tagged, very interesting...
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