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    • Dry Oven Canning

      "Dry Oven Canning" has become a hot topic the last few months as families yearn to build up the pantry in anticipation of further economic troubles and potential shortages. There's no question that the method is considerably easier than old-fashioned canning with a water bath or pressure canner, the question is... Is it Safe? The resounding answer is . . .
      hotly debated!

      What is Dry Oven Canning?

      Dry canning is when jars of prepared foods are placed in a heated oven (usually 200F or about 93C) on racks and heated for a minimum of 30 minutes. Once the jars "pop", like in traditional canning, they are considered to be "sealed". The theory is that 200F temperature is enough to create a sterile environment and that once "processed" these jars can then be stored for years, (many report up to 30 years!) safe from contaminants.


      The Concerns

      There are a number of concerns with oven canning...

      1. Oven Thermometers are often inaccurate and it can be very difficult to ascertain when the Contents of the jar has actually reached 200F. There isn't any way to regulate the circulation of heat in the oven. The only way to accurately test the internal temperature of the jar contents would be to remove the lid itself, thereby compromising the food. If you think your oven circulates air evenly think back to the last item you baked in it, was it perfectly browned all over? Did one part of the item brown faster or a bit darker?
      2. Oven Temperature- the oven cannot be a pressure chamber, which means that the food inside the jars will never get hotter than the boiling point of water (212F) regardless of how high the air temperature is inside the oven, Basic Law of Physics Folks!
      3. Explosion Risk- Canning jars were not designed to be in a dry heat environment for a prolonged period of time and have been known to crack, shatter and in some instances even Explode during processing.
      4. Manufacturers of canning jars do not recommend baking or oven canning in the jars.
      5. Lack of Proof- There isn't a Single, research-based documentation/study to support that 'canning' any food in a dry oven as described on this web page or any page that proposes oven canning provides sufficient heating to destroy bacteria of concern.
      6. Clostridium Botulinum - aka Botulism THRIVES in an anaerobic environment (like a jar of food!) and is Completely undetectable in an opened jar. It has No Color, No Smell, and causes NO change in taste to alert you to it's deadly presence.

      In Short, Oven Canning is a potentially hazardous practice that can lead to food poisoning, botulism and death. There are a number of considerably safer methods of food storage and preservation.

      How To Oven Can

      If you're not convinced that it's a dangerous practice because you read on the internet that folks have done it and you believe it's safe enough for them, than it's safe enough for you... then here's a How To (btw, we're not responsible for any illness, this is provided for information only).

      The ONLY Foods that MAY be "Dry Canned" must contain less than 10% Moisture overall. Those that use this method generally use larger jars such as quart jars, rather than pint jars.

      Which food items can be Dry Canned?

      • white rice
      • wheat
      • whole grains
      • oatmeal
      • dry beans
      • powdered milk
      • white flour
      • pasta without egg (really debatable as pasta contains Oil which can go rancid easily)
      • freeze dried foods
      • dehydrated foods that are crisp enough to snap such as peas, celery, carrots, onions, yams, sweet potatoes
      • TVP
      • cheese powder
      • gelatin
      • low fat ready-to-eat cereals
      • sugar

      Foods that Should NOT be dry canned:

      • Cornmeal
      • Pearl Barley
      • Nuts - due to the natural oil content
      • Seeds


      Dry Canning Method (here's how it's recommended on the internet) Clearly you know we DON'T Recommend it at all!


      1. Wash and dry Jars, be sure the rims are free of cracks and nicks
      2. Heat oven to 200F
      3. Fill jars using a canning funnel leaving 1/2" of headspace and place them on a large cookie sheet
      4. Once all the jars are filled, put them in the oven and "Process" for at least 60 minutes
      5. Remove the jars from the oven, Wipe the rim of the jar, place a lid on and screw the band down tight
      6. When the lids "Ping" they are said to be sealed.
      7. Cool in a draft free spot
      8. Label and date the jars and store in a cool dark place

      What this method does for Dry Goods:

      • Kills eggs, larvae of bugs, preventing them from hatching
      • Reduces moisture in already low moisture foods to help prevent staleness

      What this method does Not Do:

      • Kill Bacteria Spores
      • Kill Mold Spores

      Troubleshooting:

      • Jar Frogging- foods that contain more than 10% moisture will "frog-up" and cause mold to grow.


      Sources:

      1. National Center for Home Food Preservation ~Link~ Advises NOT to can with this method
      2. USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning ~Link~ Advises NOT to can with this method
      3. Penn State Collefe of Agricultural Sciences ~Link~ Advises NOT to can with this method


      The SAFE METHOD OF "Canning" Dry Goods:

      Use a Foodsaver with a jar sealing attachment AND oxygen absorbers together to "Seal" jars containing dry ingredients with less than 10% Moisture.
      A foodsaver alone will vacuum seal the contents of a jar, but by adding an oxygen absorber a substantial amount of remaining oxygen will be removed thereby reducing the risk of mold.
      Comments 16 Comments
      1. lala72's Avatar
        lala72 -
        Thank you for the the article. I've done research on it and I've found pros and cons. If I do decide to try it I will do a test batch and see how that goes.
      1. Barbara1960's Avatar
        Barbara1960 -
        I just don' t see how this can be safe.
      1. Liss's Avatar
        Liss -
        Quote Originally Posted Barbara1960 View Post
        I just don' t see how this can be safe.
        Fully Agreed, IMHO it just isn't safe and isn't worth trying!
      1. Ms Alusa's Avatar
        Ms Alusa -
        I had not heard of this process before. I very much appreciate this article, the details and information presented. I have to agree that this method seems to me to be inadequate. Why waste the time and supplies...and while you might get one or two good ones....how good are they really? You'll find out, when you need it most and it isn't any good. Thank you for this information!
      1. Jmack's Avatar
        Jmack -
        This method has been proven to be unsafe. Why take a chance on eating food that could harm your body or potentially kill you.
        Pressure canning or water bath method are both safe and proven. You just must be sure to follow the proper instructions either from a home extension service or from a good canning book. Some of the recipes on the Internet are not safe. I've been home canning for over thirty years and love to eat our home grown food because it has no salt or preservatives and is grown organically.
      1. heidiimnot's Avatar
        heidiimnot -
        Sorry, but I think you're missing the point here. First of all, you state that one cannot be sure of the temperature in the oven and would have to remove the lid to test the internal temperature, but the lids are NOT put on until after the jars are removed from the oven.

        This also addresses your other concern that jars could explode. I can see how they could IF the lids were indeed on while they were in the oven, but since that's not the case, I really don't think the danger is very great that the glasses could explode. I think the major issue is with the term "canning." Oven "canning" is not really a method of canning, but simply a way of trying to extend the storage/shelf life of foods that already have a long shelf life because they are dry. Rather than storing a bag of flour in the paper bag that it comes in, for example, you are putting it in a less decomposable and less penetrable storage container and try to keep it as sterile as possible. I really don't see how you are going to pressure can dry flour!

        Oven "canning" is NOT a way of preserving foods that would otherwise spoil fairly quickly. It's a way to safeguard the storability of foods that already have a long storage life and presumably are already free of contaminants like mold and spores. I can the regular way, I dehydrate and I oven can--each has its benefits for certain types of food, and I would disagree with your oven canning list that includes dehydrated foods. I would never oven can home-dehydrated foods precisely because I cannot accurately assure that the moisture has been sufficiently and consistently removed. Therefore, NOT a good thing to oven "can".
      1. Liss's Avatar
        Liss -
        Quote Originally Posted heidiimnot View Post
        First of all, you state that one cannot be sure of the temperature in the oven and would have to remove the lid to test the internal temperature, but the lids are NOT put on until after the jars are removed from the oven.
        While that's true, the time you pulled it out of the oven and attempted to test the internal temperature of the goods you're attempting to "oven can" the temperature would be reduced too quickly to cap it and seal out bacteria, there being USELESS, as I mentioned in the article.

        This also addresses your other concern that jars could explode. I can see how they could IF the lids were indeed on while they were in the oven, but since that's not the case, I really don't think the danger is very great that the glasses could explode.
        Actually there have been several reported instances of attempted "dry canning" explosions of goods. Some people feel dry canning is safe and use it for Everything, including sauces, tomato products, etc we do not, nor do recommend it, as the article clearly states.


        Therefore, NOT a good thing to oven "can".
        Precisely the point of the article, I'm glad you're on our side on this issue. We've had far too many requests for Oven canning directions over the years and hate having to explain just how dangerous this is to ones family and ones health.
      1. Rie142's Avatar
        Rie142 -
        Interesting, I wouldn't try it but it is interesting. I don't can anymore. I used to help my grandma all the time. She had a big garden back then. We don't have one anymore.
      1. cbrogdon's Avatar
        cbrogdon -
        You need to have 3 things happen for Botulism to thrive and grow are: Lack of competing bacteria, low acidity, and low oxygen levels. You have created all three with oven canning and I would say doing this type of canning you are risking growing the Botulism toxins on your food and risking your family's heath. Not worth the risk. If you want to make grains store for extended periods of time, then store them in food grade buckets and put dry ice on top until evaporated or use oxygen absorbers. Much easier and more safe.
      1. elayne's Avatar
        elayne -
        what are oxygen absorbers?
      1. Lalocanana's Avatar
        Lalocanana -
        Wow I would be very careful trying this method. There's a good reason the old fashion way is the best...cause it's safe ! That's the only way I do my canning.
      1. Countrygardener's Avatar
        Countrygardener -
        I always store my flour and rice in large glass jars with tight fitting lids or tins like the popcorn tins from Christmas, after putting the bags from the store in freezer for 3 days to a week or longer (if I don't get back to it immediately)
        to kill any insects or eggs that may hatch or be in there, I then empty into jars or tins and close with lids.....I don't see the necessity of putting it in the oven to seal,( oven canning) it stays shelf stable for a good while and if I want longer storage I use the oxygen absorbers and vacuum seal.
      1. Carol1961's Avatar
        Carol1961 -
        As for the temperature of the food in the jar, we can put an electric oven thermometer probe into the food. The thermometer will buzz when the temperature reaches the programmed 200.
      1. TheBingeThinker's Avatar
        TheBingeThinker -
        We always stored our bulk dry goods in old 5 and 10 gallon food service pails. We would add a chunk of dry ice, and tamp down the lid with a rubber mallet. This is for long term storage though -- I mean it lasted for years with no bugs, no issues. For shorter term, simply putting the stuff in an empty jar with a tight fitting lid should suffice, especially if kept cool. I put my dry goods outside for a couple of days when its below zero, to kill bug eggs present in all grain. (Same thing I do for blankets and pillows to kill dust mites).
      1. TheBingeThinker's Avatar
        TheBingeThinker -
        Regarding oven canning... I have sterilized the canning jars the traditional way, then left them in a 200 degree oven. I kept the lids under boiling water, carefully filled the jars half way with cake mix or bread mix, and cooked at the temperature for the mix, until done. I left the cooked jar cakes in the oven till it cooled just enough not to melt away the rubber seal (using my own judgement), and topped with the sterile canning lids.

        They sealed, and then I put the breads and cakes down in my basement pantry. They kept fine - all of them. No mold or bacteria growth. They were very moist too. I used the wide mouth pint jars, so they slid out nice for slicing, like the old fashioned brown breads that we used to slide out of the can.

        However, these were commercial mixes with preservatives, and the cakes high in sugar as well. I wouldn't trust oven canning for any wet food that would require the pressure to kill botulism spores. You can't take short cuts with canning. But I don't see any reason that dry good like rice, beans, can't be oven canned though for added longevity. I mean, I just toss mine in any old jar and store them in a cool, dry place.
      1. Winners1954's Avatar
        Winners1954 -
        I have not DRY canned, but I do: breads (banana, Amish) & cakes in jar's, in the oven! They last in pantry for a year. They turn out, wonderful. Just saying


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