The Dangers Of Stacking Home-Canned Food Too High

Congratulations, you've done it. You have used your water bath canner to preserve some fruit by making jelly or jam, or you've used a pressure canner to can several quarts of green beans from your garden. As you admire your glass jars of home-canned food, you realize that now that the work of canning is over, now comes the time to store all that good stuff. And finding room for your latest batch of home-canned foods may become a whole new challenge.

According to Food in Jars, it's best to store home-canned foods in a cool, dark space such as a cabinet or basement. But if you find yourself short on cabinet or pantry space, you may be tempted to stack those glass jars as high as your shelf space allows. But there could be potential safety issues with this, from the additional weight of those jars, and other factors. As reported by Healthy Canning, the choice to stack may depend on the type of canning jar used, such as Mason jars, which use metal lids, versus Weck jars, which utilize glass lids. But jar type aside, what other concerns may arise when it comes to stacking home-canned food?

Only use two layers of cans for safety

According to theĀ National Center for Home Food Preservation, you shouldn't stack your jars of home-canned food in layers more than two jars high. And as another safety measure, it's good practice to place a piece of sturdy, supportive material in between the layers. Doing this will help retain the jars' vacuum seal and when you stack jars too high or stack them directly on top of each other without a barrier material in between the layers, you run the risk of damaging the seal, which can lead to spoilage.

According to the CDC, when home-canned foods aren't properly preserved and ingested they can cause difficulty breathing, muscle paralysis, and even botulism. So it's important to not let this happen. And as Melissa K Norris, host of the podcast "Pioneering Today," points out, when stacking jars of home canned foods, be sure to put larger, heavier jars like quarts on the bottom and pint or half-pint jam jars on the top layer. Now that you know how to stack those jars of home-canned food, you can safely organize your canned goods for maximum shelf life.