A home-preserved pantry is a beautiful thing. It can also represent unique and special organizational challenges. Thankfully, organizing the home preserved pantry can be done neatly and easily by following just a few tips.
The great thing about glass jars is that the contents can be seen. However, a jar of cherries in extra light sugar syrup looks exactly like a jar of brandied cherries. Elderberry jelly might have the exact same color as plum jelly. The easiest way to avoid mix-ups, of course, is to use labels.
Plenty of folks like to write the contents on the jar lid with a permanent marker. That is easy and since the lid often gets tossed, there’s no reason to worry about scrubbing a label from the jar. The only drawback to this is that the label can’t be seen from a distance.
Some choices for easy labels on the glass itself include:
- Dissolvable labels: these can be slapped right onto the glass. They later dissolve in hot water making them a great and easy choice for clear labeling
- Shrink wrap labels: slip a plastic sleeve over the jar, dip in hot water and voila a label that shrinks too and holds onto the jar itself. These remove easily later with a sharp knife.
- Masking tape: It might not be as pretty but it is fully functional. Painter’s tape, especially, removes easily later and marks the contents of jar perfectly.
Jars of home-canned food should not be stacked, more than 2 high at most. This can present some challenges for small spaces.
Build shelves that are close together, whenever possible. Space shelves so that they are just wide enough to hold quart jars at most. Or create uneven spacing so that some shelves hold half-pints, other quarts, etc.
For wide shelves, consider putting jars of dehydrated food (or grains, etc.) on the bottom level and when necessary stack canned jars on top of those.
Store jars in boxes and stack the boxes. There are even special plastic jar boxes that can be purchased for just this safe storage.
It is recommended that all home-canned food be used up within 1 year. Occasionally, a few jars of last year’s applesauce might still be in the pantry when the new batch gets made. Be sure to move the old jars to the front of the shelves and use that up first.
When storing dehydrated foods, don’t top off old jars. Rather, keep last year’s in one jar and start filling up new jars with the goods from this year. Use up last year’s first. This will make for better tasting food as well.
How do you organize your home preserved pantry?