How to Can Water for Emergencies
Although knowing how to produce or procure clean water is vital in an emergency situation, canning water is often overlooked. It shouldn’t be. Sure, bottled water is easy to come by and pretty cheap to purchase, but not everyone is convinced that long-term storage in plastic containers is completely safe and others aren’t crazy about the environmental aspect either.
Put Empty Jars to Good Use!
There’s also the fact that many preppers have an impressive store of jars ready to be used, so why not keep them filled with water? It doesn’t take up any extra space, and you can always use the water if you need the jar!
If supplies are cut, then you simply cannot have too much clean drinking water. You also need water for sanitation, rehydrating dried foods, cooking and cleaning, alongside the ration of 1 gallon of water per person, per day that should be considered the absolute minimum.
It’s sometimes said that canned water can taste a little ‘flat.’ True enough, but that can be easily remedied by removing the lid, pouring out a little water, then giving the jar a good shake. Another way of aerating the water is to simply pour it into a clean jar, then back into it’s original jar a couple of times before drinking.
Here’s what you need:
Jars! As many as you hope to fill and store. Don’t worry too much if they are reused mayonnaise-type jars either. Although preserving jars with sealing rings are the touchstone, for water canning, as long as you get a good seal, then you’re fine.
You also need water, your canner or stockpot and a ladle or jug to fill the jars.
- Clean out those jars thoroughly and run through the hot cycle of the dishwasher if you have one, using the jars when still hot. Otherwise warm the jars in an oven heated to around 175 degrees.
- Meanwhile, take your biggest stockpot, canner or saucepan and boil up some water to fill the jars. You know how many jars you have to fill, so work accordingly.
- While the water is coming to a boil, prepare a safe place to store the filled jars until they’ve cooled down by spreading out a double thickness tea towel or cloth somewhere they won’t get knocked over (they’ll be placed upside down initially).
- Keep the water on a rolling boil for 10 minutes, topping up the water level a little if necessary.
- Working with the hot jars, one at a time, keeping the rest warm in the oven or dishwasher, fill each one with boiling water to around ½ inch below the rim, using a ladle or jug.
- Taking good care not to burn or scald yourself, and using thick rubber gloves if it helps, screw the lids back on or reseal and place upside down, on your prepared cloth, and leave until completely cool.
- Once cool, turn the jars the right way again, and check that the lids have sealed nicely. If you’ve used metal, reusable-type lids, you can check if you have a good seal by trying to ‘pop’ the center of the lid. If it stays solid, it’s sealed. If it ‘pops’ in and out, then use the water straight away and start again.
Shelf Life and Storage
Some people add a little salt, sugar or even a drop of bleach to the water to ensure a long shelf life.
A good habit to get into is to make up a couple of jars of water every time you use your canner for other purposes, then just add them to your supplies.
Canned water should last for 6 months to a year (arguably even longer) if stored in a cool, dark place. As with most canned items, don’t store in direct sunlight. Mark up the jar with the date you canned it and enjoy knowing that you’ve just made a truly canny addition to your stores!
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