How to Vacuum Seal Almost Any Jar in Your Kitchen


How to vacuum-seal almost any jar in your kitchen.

I have a hard time throwing out jars.

They are the perfect container for dry goods, for leftovers in the refrigerator, and of course for liquids. I'll buy a product in a glass jar before buying a similar product in a can or plastic jar.

Glass jars can be reused; cans cannot, and I prefer not to reuse plastic, so cans and plastic are both "garbage" that need to be disposed of.

And when your homestead doesn't come with curbside garbage pickup every week and recycling is pretty much unheard of in your neck of the woods, disposing of things is difficult.

In my childhood years, we spent summers walking along the edge of the 4-lane highway with a wagon, picking up glass bottles. When returned to the corner grocery store, we'd get 5¢ per bottle, enough to keep us in Pepsi and candy. But in this day and age of recycling awareness, glass isn't even recycled anymore.

So my kitchen is filled with jars: canning jars as well as reused jars from spaghetti sauce, mayonnaise jars, salsa jars and more.

Gallon-sized jars make great canisters for various flours and sugar. Half-gallon jars and smaller hold pasta and rice and other dry goods in my kitchen.

Reused jars from pasta sauce, salsa and so on are great for storing dehydrated foods such as chopped onions, peppers and sliced mushrooms.


There are several methods of vacuum sealing jars in this post, so keep reading to find one that works best for you!



How to vacuum-seal almost any jar in your kitchen.



This post contains affiliate links. See my full disclosure here.


For longer-term storage of dehydrated foods and dry goods such as pasta and rice, you can vacuum-seal reused jars to ensure freshness. Vacuum-sealing prolongs foods' storage life by eliminating oxygen that breaks down food over time.

The secret to using almost any jar in the kitchen? Using a FoodSaver appliance to vacuum seal the jars. (The model I have in my kitchen has been discontinued. I've updated the link to a current model. Evidently the accessory hose needs to be ordered separately now. Please note that I do not have this particular model.)

You can use canning (Mason) jars, but you can also re-use those spaghetti sauce and salsa jars too.

What can you store in vacuum-sealed jars?


Any food that you don't use often is a good candidate for vacuum-sealing, which will lengthen its storage life. If you buy a product in bulk, such as rice or popcorn, you can transfer a small amount to a smaller jar for convenient use and store the rest in larger jars that are vacuum-sealed.

For instance:

  • Dry goods such as rice, popcorn, pasta
  • Dehydrated foods
  • Freeze dried foods - when you open a #10 can, put the bulk of the product in large jars and vacuum-seal, and put a smaller amount in a jar for daily use
  • Bulk spices
  • Oatmeal
  • Powdered milk
  • Candy - buy candy on clearance after holidays and vacuum seal for later use


    How to vacuum-seal almost any jar in your kitchen.


    How to vacuum-seal a canning jar


    Canning jars are sealed with the FoodSaver canning jar attachment. To use it, just place the flat lid on top of the jar - you don't need the ring to hold the lid on - then set the canning jar vacuum seal attachment on top, connect it to the hose attachment and press the "Start" button on the vacuum sealer appliance. (The hose attachment comes with the FoodSaver unit. If yours has been misplaced, you can order a new hose attachment here.)

    There are two different canning jar sealers, one for regular mouth jars and one for the wide mouth jars, so be sure to get the one that fits the jar size you use most. Or get both.
    If the lid just won't seal, try these trouble-shooting tips:
    • Use two lids. I know, that sounds crazy. But it often works. Place the two lids, one on top of the other, on top of the jar and use the canning jar vacuum seal attachment as directed. When it's finished sucking out the air, remove the attachment. The top canning lid will come off, but the other will have sealed to the jar.
    • Or try a different lid.
    • If you still have problems, use a different canning jar. There might be an imperceptible dip in the rim of the jar.


    How to vacuum-seal almost any jar in your kitchen.

    How to vacuum seal non-canning jars


    But did you know you can even vacuum-seal most reused jars? It requires a different method but it's just as simple. As long as the jar lid has a "rubber" ring inside, it can be vacuum-sealed. In the photo above, you can see the white ring inside the lid from this empty jar of yeast.

    That rubber ring is the secret!
    Some jars have a green ring, or a red ring. The color doesn't matter, as long as it has this rubber-like substance inside the lid.


    How to vacuum-seal jars.

    To seal this kind of jar, you'll need a FoodSaver vacuum canister set. The canisters come in a set of three, in various sizes.

    Just tighten the lid on the jar and place it inside one of the canisters. I choose the canister closest in size to the jar so there is less air to suck out.
     
    Attach the hose attachment that comes with your FoodSaver to the top of the canister. (This hose attachment is no longer included with a new FoodSaver appliance. They can be ordered separately - be sure you order the one that will fit your machine). Then push the "Start" button. The vacuum sealer sucks the air from inside the jar and from inside the canister too.

    When it's finished the unit will turn off. Just remove the hose attachment, press the button on top of the canister and open it. The jar inside is now sealed.

    The last step is to label your jars; don't depend on your memory. Hot peppers can look identical to sweet peppers, and chopped red peppers look amazingly like chopped carrots. Trust me on that.

    How to vacuum seal bottles and jars with plastic lids


    You can't. I'm sorry.

    Instead, use those jars with plastic lids to hold leftovers in the refrigerator. Soy sauce bottles with long necks and plastic caps make nice bud vases for flowers from your garden, or you can use them to hold vinegar, which doesn't need to be canned or preserved.

    (If you'd like to try making your own vinegar for just pennies, get a free copy of my ebook by subscribing to The Acorn, my weekly-ish newsletter.)

    What NOT to vacuum seal


    Don't vacuum seal [or use an oxygen absorber] to preserve sugar or brown sugar. You'll end up with a solid brick of sugar.

    Store your labeled, vacuum-sealed jars in a cool, dark place for maximum storage life.

    A short FAQ



    • Vacuum-sealing is not meant to preserve fresh or cooked foods. It isn't a substitute for canning food in jars. It's a great way to extend the shelf life of dry foods (pasta, rice, dehydrated foods, etc.).

    • Can you vacuum seal gallon-sized jars? You'd need a canister that's large enough to hold a gallon-sized jar in order to use this method, and unfortunately I don't know of one that big. 

    • Alternative methods of vacuum sealing - if you don't have a FoodSaver unit, you can either use a Pump N Seal hand pump or add oxygen absorbers to your jar instead. These will absorb the oxygen inside the jar and create a vacuum seal.



    For more simple living and money-saving ideas, subscribe to The Acorn, my weekly-ish newsletter, and join me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. I'd love to see you there!







    The following images contain affiliate links. See my full disclosure here.





    Related posts:
    How to Find and Buy Used Canning Jars




    This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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    69 comments

    1. Kathi, I never heard of this before! Oh I would love to be able to do this. What a lovely idea, and what a lovely way to preserve food. Thank you so much for sharing.

      I'm praying for you Kathi. Thank you so much for being so faithful to the Lord Jesus, and may He bless you.

      I praise the Lord as well, for leading me to your blog. May He be with you, and keep you through this trying time.
      In Him, Carra

      ReplyDelete
    2. Anonymous8:01 AM

      Wow! :) That's nice. I hadn't heart of that either.

      May Jesus be with you, Kathi!

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    3. Wow... it's look so delicious! Thank you for your post.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. You're welcome, Sarah. I'm glad it was helpful.

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    4. I’m thinking of buying this model for my household to save left overs and avoid throwing away perfectly good foods just because they grow stale out in the open air.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I really like this model, Sam. I hope yours will serve you well too.

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    5. FoodSaver is much better than other brands. I bought one of them and till now I'm so happy because of that decision. Thank you for sharing this post Kathi!

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      Replies
      1. The FoodSaver is the only brand I have any experience with, Nana, and I'm extremely happy with it. It is a workhorse in my kitchen; it sounds like yours is too. :-)

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    6. Great tip! I have a vacuum sealer,but I don't know this use of it.I wish I knew this tip sooner. Thank you, Kathi, keep up the good work!

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      Replies
      1. Learning this tip is game-changing, Abigail. All those empty jars in the kitchen are even more useful now!

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    7. I found your site last night through Pinterest. I picked up a seal a meal at the thrift store yesterday for $3 and came with the hose attachment. It sealed a bag of noodles, so I hope the attachment port works for the mason jar (that I just purchased). Then, i'll be brave to purchase the canisters to start reusing jars. Thanks for sharing!!

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      Replies
      1. What a deal, Sarah! I hope it works for you!

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    8. Hi Kathi, I didn't know you could use other jars! Awesome! However, I've tried and can't get it to work. I checked the for foreign matter on jar and lid, screwed on the lid, put it in the canister and inserted my hose and procedded to vacuum but it doesn't evacuate. Am I missing something? Got any tips or something I should be watching for?

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      Replies
      1. Hi Roxanne, did the jar have a rubber strip inside? Some don't, and sometimes they just don't work. I'd try another jar and lid and see if you have success. It *should* work, I've sealed dozens and dozens! (Oh, make sure your air hose is working, too. Stick your finger against the end of it, can you feel suction? They sometimes develop a hole.)

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    9. Hi Kathi. This is awesome. I would not have thought to use my food saver. I have been reading up on boiling jars etc. to preserve my food. How long will the food last in the jars this way? Thanks so much for the info. God Bless.

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    10. Hi Shelly, first off, you can't save *fresh food* using this method. That will need to be canned in either a water bath or pressure canner. But you can store dry foods this way: rice, pasta, dry beans, grains, oatmeal, popcorn, etc. I haven't tried crackers but I think this would work well to keep them from going stale on a short-term basis (not for long term storage). Powders are a good candidate too, but put a piece of paper toweling or something similar on top of the food, under the lid, so that the vacuum action won't pull up the fine powder, which can ruin the motor of your Food Saver.

      ReplyDelete
    11. I use my jar vacuum sealer all the time and love using it. Found you on Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

      ReplyDelete
    12. I love the idea, but I'm not sure my kitchen has the room for one more gadget. Something for us to keep in mind, though-
      Thanks for sharing!

      ReplyDelete
    13. Well, thank you for putting this out there! I have a Foodsaver and never knew it could be used this way. I will have to get the canister set but I have the hose!! Such good tips, too! I can see me sucking up the fine powder, but not now because you said to put a piece of paper towel on top of the food, under the lid, so I will!
      This is BLOWING MY MIND!! Again, thank you so much for sharing!!
      Many blessings to you and yours!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. You are so welcome! Have fun with it!

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      2. I use coffee filters and get four regular size circles from each filter, I place on top of powders and spices.

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    14. How do you seal the large jar pictured, the one with dog treats?? Is it possible? Thank you in advance!

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      Replies
      1. I haven't found a way to vacuum seal a gallon-sized jar, so I use them for sugar and flour and dog treats.

        Delete
    15. Anonymous2:11 PM

      Have you tried the Pump-N-Seal? I think it was pretty big in the early 90s but it's still around today. It required no batteries or electricity and stores easily in a kitchen drawer. I was shocked at how powerful and long-lasting the seal is. Works really great on mason jars of all shapes as well as bags.

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    16. I recently picked up a set of food saver canisters at a thrift store but did not know i could reseal throw away jars inside of them. I have been using the jar sealers for years but was limited to Mason jars. You have opened up a whole new world for me! Thanks Kathi

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    17. Kathi, how do you figure that tightening down the lid of a jar at ambient atmospheric pressure, placing that SEALED jar in a vacuum chamber, and then evacuating the vacuum chamber, creates a vacuum inside the sealed jar? If it's sealed before applying vacuum, then the pressure inside will remain at 14.7 psi. Am I misinterpreting your instructions?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Screw the lid on lightly, not tightly. The rubber seal in the lid will work. When you open the jar you'll hear the unmistakable sound!

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      2. Kathi, here is your complete instruction: "Just tighten the lid on the jar and place it inside one of the canisters." Do you see why this is confusing?

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      3. Yes, I'll need to edit that for clarity. Thanks.

        Delete
    18. Anonymous5:06 AM

      I hate throwing away 1 gal glass jars. You know the ones pickles come in. How do I vac seal them?

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      Replies
      1. The principle would be the same, but you'd need a canister large enough to hold the jar or a vacuum-seal top like Foodsaver makes for quart and pint size jars. As far as I know, neither one is available. However these jars can be used to store flour, sugar and so on - that's how I use them.

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    19. Hi-ho all!✨��✨

      A REALLY good way to seal pretty much ANY jar with the proper metal lid and gasket ring is simple. Using a small push pin, pierce the lid in the center. Now take a VERY SMALL piece of Teflon tape, say about one inch long. Take a smaller piece of same that you place sticky-to-sticky so you have a small NON-STICKY pad that goes over the hole you just pierced in the lid. Think of the smallest band-aid strip in the world ... lol. Now all you need is any of MANY small vacuum hand pumps you can buy, place the pump suction cup straight over the lid's hole and PUMP AWAY.
      You can actually buy a 'kit' that already had the tiny 'band-aids' that you peel off to place over the hole in the lid, and it works GREAT!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I use Duct tape over the hole. It seals good and tight. You'll see a small depression in the tape after you seal it.

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    20. How can you reseal gallon pickle jars I have a bunch my daughter loves pickles

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. The best way to reseal gallon-size jars is to use a Pump-N-Seal hand vacuum pump.

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    21. Hey. I’m new to canning. Can I use my FoodSaver Jar Sealer to seal a jar of Vegetable Beef Soup? It seals fine, but does it need the heat from the pot for some reason I’m unaware of?

      Thank you,
      Stacie

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Hi Stacie, no, unfortunately vacuum-sealing is only good for dry goods (rice, noodles, spices and so on) or dehydrated foods. In other words, the food has to already be "preserved" or shelf stable. Any "wet" food like soup needs to be pressure-canned. Fruits (high acid) can be water bath canned, but anything with meat or vegetables (low acid) in it must be pressure canned.

        I have tutorials on both water bath canning (https://www.oakhillhomestead.com/2015/10/how-to-can-apples.html) and pressure canning (https://www.oakhillhomestead.com/2019/04/how-to-pressure-can-chicken-stock.html) if you're interested.

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    22. Hi, I’m wondering if sterilizing jars is a necessary step before vacuuming sealing your dry goods? Or is it safe to just hand wash and dry your jars and lids really good before vacuum sealing your goods?
      Thanks for all your help!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I sterilize mine by running them through the dishwasher and a heated dry cycle. But unlike canning, the jars don't have to be kept warm until filling (we do that when canning so that the jars won't break when the hot food is added). And of course the jars must be completely dry inside. You can certainly do what you're comfortable with!

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    23. I also used a seal a meal unit WITH the foodsaver attachments and it works beautifully. I see that you have the large gallon jars....is there a nifty way to seal that jar? I have so many gallon jars and it sure would be nice

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      Replies
      1. There are 2 ways to seal a gallon size jar: with oxygen absorbers or with a hand pump (read the comments for more about this method).

        Delete
    24. Rebecca2:11 AM

      What model Number food saver machine do you have? I am looking to get one and need some recommendations.
      Thanks for this great post.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Rebecca, my FoodSaver is so old that they don't even offer it anymore. If I needed to replace it now, I would purchase either the V2244 or the V2000.

        Delete
    25. I notice the screw rings are still on the Ball or Kerr lids. That holds the flat pressure lid in place until it seals and then can be moved to the next batch of jars, cutting price of each finished item. After opening a jar, put on a ring to hold contents from spilling if tipped if that's a concern.

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    26. I recently got a FoodSaver. I will have to try this.

      ReplyDelete
    27. Anonymous5:36 PM

      My daughter often uses partial jars of pasta sauce on her ravioli. Cna I revacum seal the liquid sauce?

      Tiffany

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. You will still have to store it in the refrigerator but yes, you can reseal it. It won't be shelf-stable.

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    28. What a cool tip, Kathi! I am also a hoarder of any glass jars. I even have a whole dedicated cabinet in my kitchen for just my glass jars. I recently had to purge some out though, as I had too many, haha.

      Thanks for linking up and sharing with us on the Homestead Blog Hop!
      -Cherelle

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    29. Thanks. I will start doing this with my canning jars. Your tips will keep frustration down for sure.

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    30. Use 2 lids?? Wow! I hate finding my jars unsealed in the fridge. And-use any lid?? Again, wow. So glad I found this!

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    31. Anonymous2:05 PM

      Very, very informative. I have used Food Saver for many years, on my third one now. First one lasted years, the second was a lemon and just replaced it because I need it so much. One way I use it is to cook extra soups, and other foods, put them in Freezer Canning Jars, seal them with Food Saver. Then put them in the freezer. Let them defrost enough to remove from jar, then just microware. Thanks.

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    32. Anonymous12:26 PM

      You CAN use this for wet foods, they just have to be FROZEN afterwards. It is not a preservative form of keeping foods, so canning or dehydrating MUST be used instead, however, you CAN USE A FOODSAVER IF: you freeze the food after you seal it.
      just FYI

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    33. Anonymous10:14 AM

      I have had 4 Foodsaver vacs and all the accessories with them and my last one just took the trip so I am not sure I want to purchase another as my budget says no. I even used to have the pump n seal but lent it to a friend, never to see it again. Guess I am going to have to find a way to save my products.

      ReplyDelete
    34. Also you can buy a break bleeder to use with the jar sealers. And Also for powders can use a coffee filter or cupcake liners so the powders do get into the hose.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. The coffee filter/cupcake liner tip is a great one, thanks! I know people who've ruined their Foodsaver by letting it suck up powder/flour/etc.

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    35. I purchased a 5 gallon stainless steel"degassing" cannister and use an HVAC vacuum pump. I can fit 4 1/2 gallon Mason jars in the cannister. Initial cost is high ($200) food the setup, but it works great, fast and will seal all sizes...even one gallon.

      ReplyDelete
    36. The FoodSaver Vacuum Storage canisters to place your screw-lid glass jars into are expensive, $109 on Amazon ... ouch! A cheaper alternative might be to purchase a small laboratory vacuum desiccator. These Kevlar units are about half the price of the FoodSaver kit for a small size desiccator but these are build to hold a high vacuum. You may have to modify the FoodSaver hose attachment but these things work great.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I was checking the links the other day and nearly choked at that current crazy-high price! They were about $20 when I ordered mine years ago. Thank you for this alternative suggestion.

        Delete
    37. I did a little eBay looking today. You can pick up a 5 gallon cannister and pump for less than $125. That system will take care of 99% of your vacuum needs. Just be sure to buy vacuum pump oil too.

      ReplyDelete
    38. Kathi I use my old pressure canner for the 1 gallon jars, and I also found the putting in melted wax on the lids that does not have a rubber. I have done this for over 40 years, learned the wax from my mother. They used to seal there jelly jars with wax, and also did what I call oven canning. I so like reading your post and in these days I love seeing you stand by the our Lord and savior.

      Cindy an Jim

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    39. I have been using 'recycle' jars and their lids for many years. I am 78 yrs. old and no one has died from my process and I use them for canning, both hot water and pressure. First, I make certain that each jar is sound and of excellent quality (no cracks, chips or the like). The lids if they have the gum or rubber ring inside can be used multiple times (I use them up to three times each.) as long as they are not bent or damaged in any way and if they have the white liner in side the lid. If no liner, they probably should not be reused for acid foods or meats. I, also, use them for storing food products other than canning products. If one is reticent on using recycle lids, new lids can be procured from various on-line sources, searching for canning lids...easy peassy.

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    40. Thank you for pointing that out, Carol. I'm updating the link in the post to a newer model. The photos show that the accessory hose is included and the machine has a "canister mode." Here is the link.

      ReplyDelete
    41. Foodsaver seems to have lost their Chinese manufacturer. Roots and Harvest carries their own brand of both sizes.

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      Replies
      1. Anonymous6:14 PM

        Just to be sure,and clear, the link you gave is for a FOOD SEALER,, NOT a FOOD SAVER.....DIFFERENT BRANDS. Will this one work with all Food Saver bags and canisters, etc.?
        Thank you!
        Carol L

        Delete
      2. You are right, Carol, I'm sorry I didn't catch that. So I have updated the link again to a Food Saver appliance. Evidently they do not include the hose anymore and it must be purchased separately.

        Delete
    42. I'm going to try the two lid method on some of my jars because they don't seal Thanks for the tips on food prservation We are up in years and need to keep extra food on main floor as the steps are getting hard to use. Keep up the good work

      ReplyDelete
    43. Can you seal Mason jars the same way as the reused jars and Lids?

      ReplyDelete

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