You may have seen vacuum sealers used to prepare innovative meals on fancy cooking shows, or you may have seen them advertised on late-night TV as a helpful cooking appliance for your home kitchen. While you may have seen foods sealed into plastic bags, you might not know that vacuum sealers can also be used to seal jars.
To use a vacuum sealer to seal a jar, you need to purchase the proper attachment to fit over your jar lid and a tube to connect the attachment to your sealer. Some vacuum sealers are sold as kits that include all these parts, but it is also easy to purchase components separately.
Vacuum Seal Your First Jar
Vacuum Sealing Mason Jars is easy – and most vacuum sealers support them straight out of the box. Source: Foodsaver
Once you have the proper equipment, vacuum sealing a jar is simple.
Prep Your Jar: First, make sure your jar is filled with whatever it is you are canning or jarring. When you fill jars to be vacuum sealed, leave about an inch at the top, especially if you are jarring dry foods that could get sucked up in the vacuum hose. Leaving this room is also important if you are jarring liquid to give it space to expand or contract with changes of temperature. After your jar is filled, sit the flat lid on top. Set aside the ring to be used later.
Attach the Jar Sealing Attachment: Choose the right size sealing attachment for your jar, either wide-mouthed or regular-sized. Then, slide the sealing attachment over the mouth of the jar. Push it down far enough that you can’t see the neck of the jar and the attachment stays snugly in place.
Connect the Air Extraction Hose: Use the air extraction hose to connect the sealing attachment to the vacuum sealer. Make sure there is a good, snug fit at both ends to make sure that no air or pressure escapes. A leak could mean your vacuum sealer won’t extract all the air, leaving your food vulnerable to spoilage.
Seal It Up: Switch on your vacuum sealer and let it do its work. Most models will automatically switch off once sealing is finished, but check your manual to make sure that’s how yours works. If you need to switch your sealer off manually, listen for a popping sound that lets you know all the air has been extracted from your jar. When the sealer is done, carefully remove the attachment and screw the ring seal around the top of the jar.
If you can’t find a sealing attachment that will fit the jar you wish to seal, you can also purchase a plastic canister that will hold your whole jar. Simply place a jar with lid and ring on inside the canister, attach the canister to the sealer with a tube and switch on the sealer.
What to Seal in Jars
Note that vacuum sealing does not make a product sterile the way that old-fashioned methods of canning do. If you are using a vacuum seal method to store jars of homemade pasta sauce, pickles or other perishable items, you will need to refrigerate or freeze your jars to keep them safe from mold or bacteria. However, these jars will last much longer in the refrigerator than if you simply dumped your products into plastic containers. Jars will also survive in the freezer much because the lack of air in the jar will help protect against freezer burn.
You can also use vacuum sealing to store jars of dry goods that you want to keep fresh. You can package smaller jars into individual servings of dry soup mixes for easy dinners or pack snacks to bring for lunch.
Whatever you want to jar, vacuum sealing will help you prepare and store healthier and thriftier foods. Once you have sealed a few jars, you will see how easy and useful vacuum sealing can be. If you’re on the market for a vacuum sealer, then why not consider our two favorite models? Both the Weston Pro 2300 and the FoodSaver V4880 are capable of sealing jars.