Canning our well water

nancedar(z7NC)August 22, 2011

We live in the hurricane path that visits us every few years. I was wondering if we could can our well water (tested every year)instead of buying bottled water? Should I add some lemon juice or something? How long do you think it would last that way? And, how long to BWB it in sterilized quarts?

Nancy

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planatus(6)

I can water whenever I'm a jar short in the waterbath canner. It helps raise the water level, and gradually I accumulate a small supply of drinking water. I don't add anything, but do use scalded jars and fresh lids.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 10:31AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

We can our well water - lose power, lose the well - and you may add the lemon juice if you wish for a fresher flavor. But it isn't required. Just be sure to date the jars.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 11:00AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

The document below provides instructions on canning water.

Carol

Here is a link that might be useful: Canning Water for Shelf Storage

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 5:46PM
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nancedar(z7NC)

Carol - thank you!

That site is exactly, exactly, what I was looking for. I do remember when I was a Girl Scout, a thousand years ago, about aerating the water to make it more palatable. Dating it is the right thing to do too, although, with such clean water, the most we have to deal with is 3 months of the hurricane season. After that it can be used, as plantatus said, to raise the water level to displace the live water when the jars don't fill up to the water level over the tops of them. Great tip there!

Nancy

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 7:00PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

I am glad to help. Bottled water is so expensive (and wasteful of containers). It's too bad more home canners don't know it's perfectly possible to process your own emergency supply.

Carol

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 11:09PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

This is an absolutely super idea! I have a lot of larger containers and I am not pressure canning at this time, so they are not filled with anything. WATER! How easy.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 12:38PM
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2ajsmama

Bump - with a hurricane about to hit the East Coast I thought this would be helpful.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 9:00AM
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farmerboybill

Great plan for a safe drinking supply. I'm gonna start doing this as well.

Another good way to keep water is to bottle it and freeze it. Whenever I buy a plastic bottle of soda, I refill it (not completely full) with water and set it in the freezer. I have dozens of bottles and jugs of water in my big chest freezer. Full freezers remain at a more constant temperature. This saves energy and helps to reduce freezer burn. It also gives you more time in case of a power outage. All that ice keeps the freezer colder longer without power. They're handy for tossing in a cooler when you're going somewhere with food AND you can drink them on the way home.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 9:09AM
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kalindi615

Well it got my attention... as I am headed out to buy lots of bottled water because we WILL loose power for days then loose our ability to get water from the well. WHY oh WHY didn't I think to put jars with water in to fill up my batches!?!?! Next year I guess I will know better.

Thanks for the info and bumping.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 11:10AM
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berrybusy

Would this be a use for the 2 quart jars as well?

Also, I would think adding lemon juice would help if you are working with very hard water, just as you add a touch of vinegar to the water in a canner to avoid the white film.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 12:18PM
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2ajsmama

I just got back from the warehouse club where I bought C and D batteries, milk (we only have about 1C in the house, we'll go through a gal before the hurricane), cereal and 35 1/2l bottles of water for drinking (we'll use it next summer if not now). Place was packed, and people were buying batteries and water like crazy (the store didn't put a limit). One couple bought 2 5-gal jugs plus more 2.5 gal jugs of water. Man told me that he planned on putting a 5 gal jug in each bathroom to flush toilets. What a waste! I told them I was putting the rain barrels back up (was putting them away for winter), could fill gal jugs from that to flush with. Also told his wife about canning water - she said she has a bunch of empty quarts. But they didn't put the bottled water back.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 12:40PM
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2ajsmama

FYI - UGA (NCHFP) says canning isn't necessary, but wash out food-grade containers immediately before storing chlorinated water. They also recommend more bleach than the link above does - 16 drops (1/4tsp) per gal instead of 6.

If you do can, they also say to boil the water before putting it in jars, but then processing time is only 10 minutes.

Here is a link that might be useful: UGA Emergency Water Supply

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 3:25PM
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2ajsmama

I just got to thinking - assuming a pH of 7.0 (and I think our pH might be higher since we have hard water), and boiling kills botulism toxins but not the spores, how can you BWB well water without risking botulism? Do the spores only live in surface soil?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 4:58PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

It seems like this would be an excellent use for the Tattler reusable lids! I'm such a cheapskate, I'd hate to put a new lid on jars of water. I suppose you could "take the risk" and reuse lids in this case (especially for chlorinated water) since it wouldn't be a big loss if they didn't seal and it really isn't required.

I can't believe I've never thought of filling that extra space in the canner with jars of water. Thanks!

Deanna

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 5:32PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Botulism spores reside in nutrient-rich environments. That would include soil or sediment below bodies of water. From there they can enter the digestive tracts of animals or fish, or into vegetables which grow in the soil.

So water alone is generally not a risk, and of course you can chlorinate it for assurance.

Carol

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 11:17PM
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bcskye

When I designed our house, I knew we were subject to power outages during snowstorms and tornadoes so I made sure to have it so we would still have heat, light and be able to cook or keep water hot on the small woodstove I wanted. Researched woodstoves for a year and bought it a year prior to building. Wasn't much I could do about the water. While we were on our well, we also lost water when we had power outages. I'd usually fill containers for drinking water, but I'd also fill the jacuzzi, the bathtub and the washer with water for flushing the toilets. Could also fill sinks, leaving one in the kitchen open. We always have drinking water available, but since DH had us put on county water, we don't need to worry so much about it. Its been hard for me not to do all the 'filling' though when I think we'll be out of power. We have a large battery powered lantern and two smaller ones. So convenient and the batteries last a long time. We are fortunate to have a Honda 2000 generator that we bought for our fifth wheel a couple of years ago. We've used it for lighting, tv and for our CPAP machines several times in the last year or two. Now the motorhome is parked right next to the house and we can either move out there or run power from the big diesel generator that's in it. Its taken many years to get where we are now, but I'm glad we're finally there. I hope never to have to go without a woodburning stove, stored water and a small generator again.

I'm praying for all of you that are in the path of Sandy. I hope it isn't as bad as expected and that all stay safe and well supplied.

Oh, I just thought of something a survivalist friend of mine told me about a short while ago. He said those solar yard lights make great emergency lights when you have power outages.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 12:01AM
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2ajsmama

Thanks Carol - I did can 8 quarts last night and was wondering if I should mark them for boiling only since I didn't chlorinate them. I don't have much unscented bleach left and I have to use it to sanitize the buckets (and a cooler that had some water left in it for a month!) and chlorinate the water I plan on storing in them (I have a couple of 5-gal buckets, a couple of 2-gal buckets, and a couple of 1-gal buckets as well as 2 1/2 gal jars that I ferment in).

bcskye - I did plan for a woodstove when we built our modular house, but the builder messed up. I'm still going to see if I can get a stovepipe in that wall w/o hitting wires, but have been thinking lately about rearranging the back wall of the family room to swap the slider and the window and put a 10x15 or so greenhouse/sunroom on the back, with a woodstove in there.

There wasn't anything I could do to customize the the house to get a gray-water collection system in, but I'm thinking I can get at the washing machine drain pipe fairly easily, if I only had a way to pump the water back out of a barrel in the basement. We do have 4 rain barrels now (only had 2 last Oct, just got 2 more) but we have to connect them since we had drained them before a freeze a couple of weeks ago. Those will be used for flushing (and washing if we get in a pinch), better than hauling water from the stream like my dad did last year.

We're set with some battery-powered lanterns and flashlights too, my uncle has a generator (if he maintained it) he bought last year so if we lose power for more than a day we should be able to borrow it for an hour each day like we did last year to keep our chest freezer running - I've got that packed with bigger cuts of meat, shrimp tucked in between the turkeys, lots of frozen veggies that I hope I don't lose. Upright freezer has baked goods - no problem - and kitchen freezer has pre-cooked meatballs, cutlets, kielbasa, cheese, nuts, things that won't be too bad if they thaw.

But it looks like it may skirt to the west of New England (unusual!) and hit upstate NY area harder, if we only see tropical-storm force winds maybe we won't lose power, since most of the leaves are off and crews have been cutting limbs and evergreens near the lines all week.

Hope everybody in Sandy's path now and next week stays safe!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 8:22AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Even though I live in SC Sandy's got me worried too.

My wife went to Europe this week with her sister. They are stranded in Frankfurt right now due to a snowstorm . That means they will be flying in to Dulles late tomorrow night instead of today.

Y'all be safe up there!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 2:39PM
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2ajsmama

They might not be flying into Dulles tomorrow night after all - or getting out later.

Is it hitting you in SC right now?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 2:50PM
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malna

Hope everybody in the path of Sandy is "prepared for the worst and hoping for the best".

It should be an interesting couple of days. Stay safe!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 5:54PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

ajsmama, its not hitting me. I'm in the north west corner of SC. According to the radar it missed us.

According to Live Flight Tracking their flight is way ahead of schedule almost an hour. They took a more direct path according to the flight map. I guess to airline company is trying to get everyone in before the storm gets bad.

That eases my mind some.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 2:37PM
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jill2761(Southeast Texas)

I think using empty canning jars is a great idea for storing extra/emergency water, but I don't understand the need to can it. If you are going to cook with it, you can boil it. If you think it is contaminated, then a bleach treatment or aqua mira tablets (backpackers use this---at any good sporting goods store). However, is it really a problem to drink stored water that hasn't been treated if it was stored in clean containers?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 9:21AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

However, is it really a problem to drink stored water that hasn't been treated if it was stored in clean containers?

"Clean" doesn't equal sterile. Bacteria can grow in "clean" containers. How much depends on how long it is stored and if it is chlorinated or not. But we are talking about well water which isn't chlorinated. Why spend money on treatment tabs?

But even if using chlorinated water, just as with anything else that is canned, the shelf life is essentially indefinite. That isn't true with anything that is NOT canned.

Dave

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 9:49AM
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