This is my favourite way to store some foods.
It’s a vacuum jar sealer for Ball Mason jars. The sealer comes from the FoodSaver company and you can get them on Ebay, with or without the hand powered vacuum pump and in both regular and wide mouth models for the different models of jars..
Once you have the sealer and a hose fitting, you can fit the sealer to pretty well any kind of vacuum device. I chose to buy a package that came with the gun type vacuum that you see in the pic as they were on special at the time.
Using them is very simple: Once your dried or otherwise prepared food is in the jar, place a lid on it (without the screw ring).
Then you slip the rubber seal on the inside of the jar sealer over the lid and mouth of the jar.
Attach the vacuum device of your choice and suck the air out of the jar. When you think there’s been enough air sucked out or your vacuum device tells you that enough air has been removed, just pop the hose attachment from the jar sealer and remove the sealer.
The Mason jar lid will be held in place by the vacuum you’ve created until you choose to remove it.
It’s a great way to keep dried food for the short to medium term without the need to use a water bath or pressure canner to sterilize it. It adds that extra layer of security to storage by removing as much air (and therefore oxygen) as possible.
If you store produce in liquid such as vinegar or oil, the jar sealer helps to remove air from the pieces of whatever it is that you’re storing. It’s a fascinating thing to watch how many air bubbles out of some things that you’d think are pretty solid. Garlic is my favourite – the sheer amount of air that comes out of cloves is amazing!
This is a particularly good system for short term storage of many foods and will even help you marinate meat. The vacuum helps the marinade get into the meat so that you don’t need to leave it to soak overnight.
If you want to store stuff a little longer, slip in a silica gel packet and maybe an oxygen absorber. We us this for things we’re likely to use within 6 months. I err on the side of caution and use heat based methods for preserving things we want to store for longer.