Vacuum Sealing Jars Vs Canning

Vacuum sealing jars and canning are two popular methods for preserving food, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Both aim to extend the shelf life of food by creating an environment that inhibits the growth of bacteria, yeast, and mold. Understanding the differences between these two methods is key for anyone interested in food preservation.

Vacuum Sealing Jars

1. Process Overview:

  • Mechanism: Vacuum sealing involves removing air from the jar before sealing it. This is typically done with a vacuum sealer machine, which extracts the air and seals the jar’s lid tightly.
  • Equipment: A vacuum sealer machine and specific types of jars or bags designed for vacuum sealing are required.

2. Advantages:

  • Shelf Life Extension: By removing air, vacuum sealing significantly slows down the oxidation process, thus prolonging the shelf life of foods.
  • Versatility: It can be used for a wide range of foods, including dry goods like nuts and cereals, as well as meats and cheeses.
  • Space Efficiency: Vacuum-sealed jars take up less space than traditional canning jars.

3. Limitations:

  • Not for Long-Term Preservation: While it extends shelf life, vacuum sealing is not recommended for long-term food preservation, especially for low-acid foods.
  • Equipment Cost: Requires an initial investment in a vacuum sealer.

4. Safety Considerations:

  • Risk of Botulism: Vacuum sealing does not kill bacteria like canning does; hence, there is a risk of botulism with certain types of food, particularly low-acid foods.


1. Process Overview:

  • Mechanism: Canning involves placing foods in jars and then heating them to a temperature that destroys microorganisms that cause food to spoil.
  • Types: There are two primary methods of canning: water bath canning for high-acid foods and pressure canning for low-acid foods.

2. Advantages:

  • Long-Term Preservation: Properly canned food can be stored for years without refrigeration.
  • Versatility: Suitable for a wide range of foods, including fruits, vegetables, meats, and fish.
  • No Need for Electricity: Once canned, the food does not require electricity for storage.

3. Limitations:

  • Time-Consuming: The canning process can be more labor-intensive and time-consuming than vacuum sealing.
  • Equipment: Requires canning jars, lids, and a canner (water bath canner or pressure canner).

4. Safety Considerations:

  • Risk of Contamination: If not done correctly, canned foods can become contaminated with bacteria, including botulism.

Comparative Analysis

1. Suitability for Different Foods:

  • Vacuum sealing is better suited for short-term preservation and for foods that will be refrigerated or frozen.
  • Canning is ideal for long-term storage of a variety of foods, especially for those that need to be stored at room temperature.

2. Safety:

  • Canning is generally safer for long-term preservation, particularly for low-acid foods, as the high heat kills harmful bacteria.
  • Vacuum sealing requires careful handling, especially with perishable items, to avoid bacterial growth.

3. Cost and Convenience:

  • Vacuum sealing requires an initial investment in equipment but is generally quicker and easier for small batches.
  • Canning requires more time and effort but is more cost-effective in the long run, especially for larger quantities.


Here are two helpful and functioning links from highly regarded websites on the subject of vacuum sealing and canning:

  1. USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning: This comprehensive guide provides detailed instructions on home canning techniques. It’s a 196-page publication available for download from the National Center for Home Food Preservation website or available for purchase in a spiral-bound format from Purdue University’s Education Store. Learn More​.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI): While not directly a guide, NCBI hosts a multitude of peer-reviewed articles and resources on various topics, including food preservation and safety methods. It’s a valuable resource for research articles and latest findings related to vacuum sealing and its implications. Visit NCBI​.


Both vacuum sealing and canning are effective methods for preserving food, but they serve different purposes. Vacuum sealing is best for short-term preservation and works well in conjunction with refrigeration or freezing. Canning, on the other hand, is ideal for long-term storage and is particularly useful for preserving a wide range of foods safely at room temperature. The choice between the two methods depends on the type of food being preserved, the desired shelf life, and personal preferences regarding time, effort, and equipment.

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