Friday, August 10, 2012

Canning Jar Plastic Storage Caps

Ball sells plastic storage caps that really work well with major brands of canning jars in both the wide mouth and regular mouth sizes. Last week I purchased more of them and thought I’d pass along a very useful pantry storage item as many of us have canning jars lying around. I purchased these caps from Lehman’s because my Ace Hardware was out of stock, again. They are sold in boxes of eight. The wide mouth caps were $3.95 and the regular caps were $3.50.

I stock a proper amount of freeze-dried and dehydrated foods that are sold in #10 cans. Each can holds about 3½ quarts of food and sometimes lasts quite a while before it’s all used up so I needed a way to open the can and safely store the rest. When I open a #10 can all the contents gets transferred to sterilized quart canning jars with an oxygen absorber and then capped with a warmed canning lid to soften the rubber seal (just like if you were pressure canning) then the ring cranked down tight to make a lasting air tight seal. Just to be clear, I do not process these jars like regular pressure canning, but just warm the lid to soften the rubber seal.



So how do I use these plastic caps?
After opening a #10 can I fill 4, quart canning jars with the contents. The 4th jar normally is not full and that jar is the first one I use the plastic cap on. I am a believer that we should use our stored foods everyday. For one, in most cases it saves us money by purchasing in bulk and two, we need to know how to make meals out of those foods well in advance of a disaster event. When the last canning jar is emptied I start the process over again with another #10 can.

From my dehydrated foods I make a variety of lunch soups, stews or use for other meal ingredients every week and with the food stored in canning jars. With the plastic cap I can conveniently select the combination of ingredients needed for the meals while the other jars are safely sealed for the long term.

Which items do I currently store this way?
Tomato powder, cheese powder, butter powder, egg powder, diced carrots, diced onion, diced celery, sweet corn, peas and shredded mozzarella.



6 comments:

Anonymous said...

i love these plastic jar caps and yes, anyone that carries them usually sells out pretty quickly. i use them specifically for foods that have already been opened or that will be used up quickly..and have been known to use them and the jars just for packing a lunch to work or field. i also use them on those 1/2 gallon mason jars for storing things like macaroni and other dry goods and for the water bottles in the frig.

Tom Stedham said...

Great tip!

Carolyn Renee said...

OK, playing Devil's Advocate here. Is there a difference between using these plastic caps instead of just using the lid and rings (which I'm currently doing)?

Mike Yukon said...

Hi Carolyn,
Technically the canning lids are better, providing you haven’t bent the lids getting them on and off, because the rubber seal is a better seal than the plastic cap offers. The plastic caps have no gasket but their design has a sealing bead inside and is very good. They do seal well enough for me. I did in the past use the two piece canning lids but got lazy I guess. The one piece plastic caps are very convenient, work well and help me spot the jars that are in use and not sealed with an oxygen absorber. I know, pretty weak reason but what can I say, it’s a guy thing :-)

Monsoon Matriarch said...

I've used these also and LOVE them. In addition to storing the overage from a #10 can or other bulk items, I use them for small-batch freezer preserves.

If I have 2 or 3 cups of berries or other fruit that comes in late, I'll whip up a quick batch of preserves, maybe throw in an apple or two to stretch them a smidge. I cook the fruit like regular preserves, not the awful freezer-jam recipe. Usually this is for three or four 8-ounce jars. I sterilize the glass jars and white caps, then load the jars and put the white caps on loosely, but enough that they won't fall off. I let them cool to room temp, then put in the fridge for a day, then put all but one in the freezer. I tighten the caps all the way once the preserves are frozen. We use the one in the fridge immediately. The jar 'in use' stays in the fridge -- not out on the counter. When it's almost gone, we bring the next one out of the freezer, thaw in the fridge and use. Keeps us using homemade without pulling from the long-term storage.

Mike Yukon said...

Monsoon,
Great idea about making and freezing preserves in small batches. Thanks for the idea!