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Canning -- Miscellaneous

Is it safe to bake and store cakes and breads at home using canning jars?

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No. The typical instructions for these types of products are as follows: batter is poured into the jar and baked in an oven. As soon as it is done, it is taken out of the oven while the steam is still exhausting and the jar is sealed immediately to create a vacuum. They are then stored without refrigeration, for sometimes over one year. Some cakes/breads in a jar have shown a water activity of 0.93 at the center and a pH of 7.2. The water activity has the potential to be even higher in cakes or breads that have added fruits. These conditions are conducive to the growth of harmful microorganisms. Therefore, baking in a jar and storing the product on the shelf is not safe. If products are baked in a jar, keep them refrigerated. Additionally, there is always the risk of having the jar break in the oven or upon removal from the oven.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University. (August 2004)

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