" Blog da Horta Biológica: How To Dry Can Food For Decades

How To Dry Can Food For Decades

There are many ways to store food, as well as many reasons to do so. There are many situations that can lead to a shortage of resources in supermarkets. Whether due to economic crisis, a carrier strike, a pandemic, or so many other situations. It is increasingly important to know how to produce and store food so that we can ensure that our family and ourselves will not lack proper nutrition in more difficult times.

Food can be safely stored for long periods of time through dehydration, freezing, fermentation / pickles, refrigeration, salting, smoking, and vacuum sealing in cans or jars.

In this post we will show you how to dry can, even if you don't have a machine to do so. Watch our educational video at the end of this post.

Whether you have a veggie garden or you buy in bulk, you can use this method we will show you, using the oven. This storage method is suitable for the following foods:

  • Dry beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Rice
  • Lentils 
  • Dry pasta
  • Dry oats and grains
  • Flours
  • Spices
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder

This method is exclusive for dry goods. It must not be used to store foods that contain some type of fat in their constitution, such as dried fruits from which oil can be extracted.

This is a storage method that kills bugs and larvae, and can preserve food in excellent conditions for 15 to 20 years. Some say that it can go up to 30 years, but we cannot certify this because we have never preserved food for that long.

Necessary Material

  • Jars with lid (we used jars with a capacity of about 1kg)
  • 1 big pan to sterilize the jars
  • Large funnel
  • Cloth or rubber gloves to handle the hot jars 
  • Vinegar
  • A big clamp might be useful to handle hot material


  1. Start by washing the jars.
  2. Put some water (enough to cover the mouths of the jars but not make the jars float) in a large pan and a little vinegar to sterilize the jars.
  3. When the water boils, place the jars inside the pan with the mouth facing down and leave it for 20 minutes.
  4. Using gloves, remove the jars and place them in the oven with the mouth facing down.
  5. Set the oven temperature to 105ºC for 30 minutes. This is the second step in the sterilization process and will dry the jars before filling them.
  6. When the jars are completely dry, turn off the oven and let them dry inside until the jars are at room temperature. 
  7. While jars are drying, wash and dry the lids and funnel well. 
  8. Remove the jars from the oven and, using the funnel, start filling the jars. Do not fill the jars to the top. A space of about an inch should be left between the food and the top of the jar.
  9. Place the filled jars, without the lid, in the oven, again at 105ºC, for 90 minutes for 1L jars or 120 minutes for bigger jars. This process will help to sterilize the food and heat the jars so they will be vacuum sealed after they are closed. 
  10. Add the lids facing up in the last 15 minutes to sterilize and keep them hot when closing the jars. 
  11. After the time in the oven, remove one jar and one lid at a time and close it tightly.  
  12. Watch the jars to see if they are vacuum sealing. We know they are vacuum sealed when the lid pops down. 
  13. Check the lids again after 24h.
  14. Only after 48h  should the jars be kept in the pantry or basement. The storage place must be dark and cool so that the jars have the ideal conditions for a long-term storage. 
  15. In case any of the jars is not vacuum sealed, there are two options: repeat the process of heating in the oven or store in the kitchen to be used first. 

Remember that this method is not suitable for liquid/fresh foods, meat, fish, or vegetables. This is for the dry foods mentioned above only.

This is an excellent storage method that preserves food in the same conditions as when it was harvested or purchased. The images in the following video where captured more than 3 years ago. At the end of the video, we show some jars that we still have, and you can see that the beans of our garden are still perfect.

We hope that this dry food storage method will be useful for you. If you would like to see a storage method for fresh/liquid food, you can also watch this video, where we show how to make and store homemade tomato puree.

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