Sneak Preview: Learn about this inexpensive way to seal food into Mason jars with a vacuum-sealer hand pump. Watch the video to make the process easier to understand.
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Have you ever wanted to try sealing certain foods inside a glass jar instead of using so many plastic bags?
Many people tell me they are curious about vacuum-packing chopped lettuce but don’t have or can’t afford a vacuum-pack machine. So, a few months ago, I was elated to learn you can vacuum seal a Mason jar with a portable vacuum-pack device. But now I’ve discovered something cheaper, thanks to my blogger friend Vicki.
PLEASE NOTE: This is not a heat process, so perishables (like lettuce and fresh veggies) must remain refrigerated. Non-perishables like nuts, cereal, flour, etc., can be stored in the pantry. Either way, your food will last longer than normally expected.
Do I have to buy a full-size vacuum-seal machine?
Ziplock sells a hand pump(paid link) that will vacuum-pack a glass jar of chopped romaine relatively inexpensively. It comes with three vacuum-sealable Ziplock bags (helpful in storing big chunks of cheese). Look for these in the same area as aluminum foil and plastic wrap. Or check Amazon.
In addition to the pump, you will need a thumbtack, electrical tape, and a clean glass jar.
Regarding the jars, use a glass canning jar or a repurposed glass jar (such as one spaghetti sauce or jelly might come in) with a screw-on lid. Some twist-on tops may also work if they form a tight seal.
Note: New to the idea of vacuum-packing prepared lettuce? See this post for more details about the why and how-to of this technique.
How to create a vacuum in a jar for less:
How do I unseal the jar?
The easiest way to open a sealed jar is to peel off the tape. Doing this will immediately break the seal.
Or, you can strong-arm the lid if you have substantial muscles.
How long will the seal hold?
It’s a good idea to check the seal occasionally while the jars are in the fridge to ensure the seal holds. Do this by bouncing your finger quickly on the lid. If sealed, it will not move.
When the seal breaks, the flat lid will move up and down slightly and make a noise. Re-vacuum with a new piece of tape if you aren’t quite ready to eat the contents.
Of course, the sooner you discover the broken seal, the better. In general, the large vacuum-pack machines make a more robust and more dependable seal.
What if the jar won’t seal?
- Try a smaller piece of electrical tape.
- Tape too tightly adheres to the lid before you start to pump. Remove and replace with a light touch.
- Make sure there are no cracks in your hand pump. (This actually happened to me when I first tried this technique, leading me to believe it wouldn’t work. I’m glad Vicki encouraged me to give it another try.)
- The lid may not be sealing the jar completely. Twist-on lids are the most frequent offenders.
How to vacuum-seal Mason jars with a hand-pump:
If you already have the wide-mouth attachment, you can avoid putting holes in your canning lids by using the attachment with Mason glass jars.
Parting Thoughts: The blue writing on the hand pump rubs off onto your hands in a swift and annoying way. You can see in the pictures how half of the script is already gone. Coat the plastic barrel of the pump with vegetable oil and then use a paper towel or a little scrubby pad to remove it.
What would you like to read next about vacuum-sealing lettuce?
- An Amazing Way To Make Chopped Lettuce Last Longer
- The Lettuce Experiment
- Yes, You Can Use a Handheld Vacuum-Pack Machine to Seal Lettuce In a Jar
- Is a Plastic Knife a Substitute for Vacuum-Packing Lettuce?
- What Happens if I Vacuum-Seal Lettuce and Vegetables Together?
- My Favorite Portable Vacuum Sealer for Jars and How To Use It
If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately for a quick answer: Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon!