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.

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.

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. (If you've lost yours, you can reorder a hose attachment here.) Attach the other end of the hose to the FoodSaver unit and 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 brick.

    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. 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

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    Carra said...

    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

    Anonymous said...

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

    May Jesus be with you, Kathi!

    Sarah Redford said...

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

    Kathi said...

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

    Sam said...

    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.

    Kathi said...

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

    Nana Miles said...

    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!

    Kathi said...

    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. :-)

    Abigail Murdock said...

    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!

    Kathi said...

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

    Unknown said...

    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!!

    Kathi said...

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

    Roxanne Bennett said...

    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?

    Kathi said...

    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.)

    Unknown said...

    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.

    Kathi said...

    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.

    candy said...

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

    WT Abernathy said...

    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!

    Kathy said...

    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!

    Kathi said...

    You are so welcome! Have fun with it!

    Jgangaware said...

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

    Kathi said...

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

    Anonymous said...

    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.

    Ella said...

    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

    Kathi said...

    You're welcome, Ella!

    Adam Phillip Churvis said...

    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?

    Kathi said...

    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!

    Adam Phillip Churvis said...

    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?

    Kathi said...

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

    Unknown said...

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

    Kathi said...

    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.

    micheljgaudet said...

    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!

    Unknown said...

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

    Kathi said...

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

    Stacie said...

    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,

    Kathi said...

    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 ( and pressure canning ( if you're interested.

    Unknown said...

    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!

    Kathi said...

    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!

    Kim said...

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

    Kathi said...

    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).

    Rebecca said...

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

    Kathi said...

    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.

    Unknown said...

    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.

    Dairy Farm Homestead said...

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

    Anonymous said...

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


    Kathi said...

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