Oven dry canning isn’t actually canning. It is referred to as canning because it is the process of putting food up in mason jars for longevity. Oven canning dry foods is not a new technique, either. It has actually been around since the 1940s.
What Exactly Is Dry Canning?
Dry canning is a method of processing your dry goods (grains, beans etc.) by placing sealed jars prepared with dry goods into the oven to heat. The oven is heated to 200 °Fahrenheit (93 °Celsius). The temperature is said to be enough to create a sterile environment.
Is It Dry Canning Safe?
Please be advised that the USDA deems dry canning as unsafe, and so is the HFP. You are solely responsible for the outcome if you choose to do it. Neither the author nor www.newlifeonahomestead.com express any liability from the side-effects as a direct or indirect result of you dry canning your produce. If you’re not an experienced canner, do not do this.
Oven canning dry goods, is it safe to use and store? Some people will argue that is is not safe but if it is done correctly then it can be. There is a worry of botulism as with any canned food. Botulism thrives in moist, low-acid foods.
The bigger concern is that the jars are not safe to be put in the oven because they aren’t made to withstand high temperatures. This is a heated debate, some people are worried it could happen, others have been doing it for years or even their entire lives without any issues. More on that later.
Oven canning dry foods are neither of these, they are dry. Therefore, the dry foods do not provide conditions for botulism to continue to exist in them after processing.
The items of foods that are being canned in the oven are already dry, you are making them even drier by removing any excess moisture from the product.
Now for the cost effective part, buy in bulk and then process it into usable portions. You can store your dry foods in airtight bags, and food grade buckets and containers but you will more than likely need to purchase them. There is no saving if you have to purchase the storage bags, buckets, and oxygen absorbers.
Hand warmers are not food safe, so you shouldn’t put them in your containers to use as oxygen absorbers. Buy your food items for cheaper in bulk and then store it in portions like you didn’t. It sounds like a win to me.
Here is my big bag of elbow noodles that I have weighed out to one pound, which is a serving size for my family. I put the jar and canning funnel on the scale then zeroed it out so I know how much is in my jar.
Side note to think about, if I store flour in a bucket and used oxygen absorbers to keep it, it will stay safe and fresh. Then I need to use some flour so I open the bucket, now it won’t stay fresh any longer.
If the flour is put up in a mason jar then I am more likely to use it before it is no longer fresh. Therefore saving money is out the window if you have to throw out half a bucket of dry goods due to it being stale.
Purpose of Dry Canning
Why would you want to dry can food items that are already dry? Using the oven to dry can food is done so that it can kill eggs and larvae of bugs preventing them from hatching.
I know that sounds gross, but dry food does have that issue, little crawly bugs can come to life in your flour. Ewww. It also reduces the amount of moisture in an already low moisture food to help prevent staleness.
Canning of dried goods can give you some freezer space. I used to keep my flour and sugar in the freezer to prevent them lil bugs from coming to life.
Now, I preserve it in the oven by dry canning it and storing it on the shelf as compared to the freezer. therefore freezer space has been opened up for putting up meat and things that actually need freezing.
It protects your dry goods from rodents. Yep I am talking about nasty little field mice and the occasional hamster that your kid lost. The mice moving in will happen, you then need to be sure that they can’t get into your pantry.
Those little buggers will eat anything that they can sink their teeth into. They do not care if they are wrapped in plastic bags or paper. They will chew through it.
Just because you stored your bulk of flour in that food grade plastic bucket don’t mean anything to a mouse. They will accept that challenge and eat your expensive bucket getting your flour too.
Here I am pouring flour out of my pitcher that I generally store it in. I had set it out of the freezer to get room temperature before canning it in the oven.
Items are easier to store if they are in mason jars for more space saving. You can stack your bags of rice and beans, but hopefully they are out of reach of mice. Big bulk bags of pasta and heavy sacks of flour and sugar really take up some space.
Not to mention, my bulk pasta is a big plastic type bag that will easily rip down the side if I’m not careful. Answer is to store them in a mason jar. Once the jars are canned and cooled then you can store them in a cool dark place.
What Foods Are Typically Dry Canned
It is safe to can any dry foods that have less than ten percent moisture overall. Food that are high in oils, such as nuts, can not be dry canned.
Foods must be low in oils to dry can or they will go rancid under this preserving method. Read the labels on your packages to check if there are any oils; if there are be sure that they are listed at or near the bottom of the list.
Foods That Are Typically Canned
- Dry beans
- White rice
- White flour
- Whole grains
- Pasta without eggs
- Powdered milk
- Cheese powder
- Low fat ready to eat cereals
- Freeze dried food
This cereal was in need of a new container. The bag got ripped down the side where they cut it open. I have the ingredients next to the jar showing what all is in the cereal including any oils or lack thereof.
Foods You Should Definitely Not Can
- Nuts – due to their natural oils
- Pearl barley
How To Dry Oven Can Step By Step
- Mason jars
- Baking sheet
- dry goods
- Wash, dry, and inspect mason jars for knicks and cracks.
- Allow the jars to COMPLETELY dry.
- Fill jars with dry good using a canning funnel.
- Leave ½ inch headspace, tap jars making sure that they are full.
- Place filled jars on large baking sheet.
- Place jars in the oven on the sheet.
- Heat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once the oven is heated to 200 start timing for one hour.
- Remove from oven one jar at a time so they stay hot.
- Wipe the rim clean, place lids, then tighten the bands.
- Once the bands are tightened set them aside on a towel to cool.
- Label the jars and then store.
The purpose of placing the jars in the oven while it is preheating is so that the contents in the jars can heat up slowly to avoid the jars cracking. It is important to remove the jars from the oven one at a time so that they can remain hot to seal.
Once the jars have cooled they should seal, you may not hear a ping sound so to check if it is sealed, press down on the center button to be sure it is sunken in. If it is sunken, it is sealed.
If you look right you can see that the center is sunken in meaning that the jar is sealed.
If dry canning in the oven is something you think you may like to do then there are a few issues you may need to be aware of.
- The oven temperature is not a pressure chamber and may not be the actual temperature in the oven. You may want to check with an actual oven thermometer.
- There is a risk of your jars breaking. Some of your mason jars may not be able to handle the dry heat environment for long periods of time. The jars may crack, shatter, or even explode. Especially the thin ones. The other thing that may cause this is if the jars are heated to quickly and have a cold item in them.
- Lastly, there is a lack of proof by researchers to indicate that the dry canning in the oven is or isn’t safe for processing. Even though years of doing so has proved that it is safe.
Condensation Issues? Check this video out:
Now that you know all about canning dry goods in the oven and feel better about your decision to do so, I hope you enjoy canning your non traditional foods that you never really thought about before.
Sarah Rodriguez is a homesteading wife and mother of five living in Appalachia. She grew up in a homesteading and logging family.
She and her husband Arnie work their 10-acre homestead together alongside their growing family. Sarah honed her self-reliance skills through 4-H and FFA at an early age and is now teaching her children to live off the land, raise livestock, and the importance of both sustainability and frugality.