(This is an article by a woman named Lil Roberts from Countryside & Small Stock Journal)
“While visiting a friend one day, I told her I had a few hours until the kids got home from school, so if she wanted some help canning, I would be glad to help her. She started bringing out all the canning jars, and a big cookie sheet. Then she started hauling out cans and cans of beans, oatmeal, cornmeal, flour, and all kinds of dry items.
We started filling half-gallon, quart, and pint jars with different dry foods. When we had the jars filled, she turned on the oven to 200°F, and put the cookie sheet in, then put the filled jars on the cookie sheet. She filled it with all it would hold.
After about an hour she got a damp paper towel and started taking out the jars, one at a time. She would wipe the rim with the wet towel, put the lid on and screw the band down tight. She was working steady and fairly fast. She would get one jar done then put it aside on a towel-covered area, open the oven open the oven and get out another jar and do the same thing.
Be very careful and use a heavy cloth or potholder, as the jars are really hot. She used a small kitchen towel, which is what I use all the time now because you get a good grip on the jars, and it protects your hands. She got the jars all out and sealed, and then put in another batch and set the timer for another hour. She said all her dry foods are now protected from bugs and critters, and will keep for years.
I started oven canning all of our dried foods at that time, and only a few months ago found out how long most of the foods will keep if stored right. Are ready for this? A lot of them will last 20 to 30 years! I was shocked when I found this out. I know I have used items that have been canned 7-10 years or so, and they are great and fresh tasting, just like when first canned. But 20-30 years was a real shock. They are to be stored where it is dry and not over 75°F.
I oven can all kinds of dry goods—beans, cornmeal, flours, rice, oatmeal, dried onions, dried carrots, dried celery, potato flakes, dried yams and sweet potatoes, cereals, pastas—the list goes on and on. I even oven can our dry boxed cereals. Most of the cereals are even better once they are oven canned, as they have more crunch to them.
The only thing you cannot oven can is dry foods that have oil in them. I oven can almonds, and pecans, but walnuts do not can good at all. They will go bad, but it is due to the amount of oil, so they get tossed in the freezer (E.D. Baking soda and baking powder are best added at cooking time).
I buy dried food when it is on sale, then I have enough to fill the oven a couple of times to save energy.
You can use most glass jars and their lids, as long as the lids have a rubber gasket inside. Once in a while I will have one or two jars that do not seal; I just put them in the pantry to use, as they are heat treated and in glass, so they are still bug and critter free.
Any herbs or veggies that you dry, you can oven can. I dried grated carrots and then oven canned them. I just used some in my homemade soup, and they are fantastic.
Using a cookie sheet or a large flat container to set your jars on is a good idea. When I first started oven canning I knocked over a pint of rice while getting jars out. Needless to say, the cleanup took a lot of time and energy.”
I haven’t tried oven canning myself, but it looks very interesting. Just thought I’d share this article.