How to Store Home-Canned Food: Learning the Hard Way

There are some places that canning jars full of homemade blueberry jam just aren’t safe — including near a woodstove.

| February/March 2014

Blueberry Jam

Home-canned items aren’t safe in just any old cabinet. A reader from Texas learned this lesson the hard way.

Photo by Fotolia/Anna-Mari West

I’m sure there are some great stories to tell regarding novice home-canning experiences. Here’s mine: When I was about 21 years old, I lived in western New York, where the blueberries grow beautifully. I eagerly picked quarts and quarts of these jewels to take home to make and can homemade blueberry jam.

Months after successfully completing the job, I heard an orchestra of popping and pinging one cold night. I walked toward the sound and discovered that the seals on the half-pints of jam were breaking! That’s when I learned never to store canned jars of jam in a cupboard right next to a woodstove. Thirty years later, I still think of my inexperience with a smile on my face.

Julie Kerr
Fritch, Texas

mother earth news fair


Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!