Home-canning caramel sauce is not recommended. Caramel sauce contains dairy products and has low acidity making it unsafe to process in a water bath or pressure canner. Preserve caramel sauce by placing it into freezer-safe, airtight containers and store in your freezer.
Is It Possible to Can Caramel Sauce?
No – there are no science-tested caramel sauce canning recipes from trusted sources. Caramel sauce’s main ingredients are butter and whipping cream. The National Center for Home Food Preservation and other canning experts warn against canning dairy products or their byproducts due to uncertain processing times and low acidity.
Reasons Why Caramel Sauce May Not Be Safe for Canning
Canning caramel sauce may be unsafe due to the following reasons:
Density – Caramel sauce has a thick consistency with a density similar to that of pumpkin puree or peanut butter. This means heat may not penetrate effectively into the center of the jar.
Lack of testing – There are no research-backed guidelines for the processing time, temperature, or storage methods when home canning dairy products.
Low acidity – Like meat and vegetables, caramel sauce is a low-acid food. Most recipes don’t use any acidic ingredients, supporting the rapid growth of bacteria.Print
Can Condensed Milk Caramel Be Canned?
No – both caramelized sweetened condensed milk and Dulce de leche are dairy products that are not safe for canning. That doesn’t mean you can’t make yummy caramel out of them, but you need to store it in the refrigerator for safety:
- Remove the label on your canned sweetened condensed milk. Use cans with sealed lids, not pull-tab lids, as they can easily pop once pressure builds while heating.
- Fill a medium-large saucepan or pot with water. Immerse unopened cans of condensed milk in the water. You can also use a pressure cooker or slow cooker.
- Bring the water to a rolling boil before reducing the heat to a gentle simmer.
- With the can wholly submerged in water, simmer the condensed milk cans for 2-3 hours.
- Using canning tongs, remove the cans from the hot water and set them aside on a heat-resistant surface to cool naturally.
- Once completely cooled, you can open the cans and consume the caramel on ice cream, brownies, or apple pie or refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks.
How to Store Homemade Caramel Sauce
With canning being a risk for caramel sauce, some excellent methods of long-term storage include:
Once your delicious caramel sauce is ready, allow it to cool completely. Transfer it into clean, non-glass, airtight containers and place them in your freezer for up to 3 months.
Did you know you can dehydrate caramel sauce, pound it into a light powder and preserve it in airtight jars for up to two years? For this method, use caramel sauce that is made with only sugar. Do not dehydrate caramel that has been made with dairy products.
- Spread caramel sauce on a fruit roll dehydrator tray lined with parchment paper and dehydrate at 165°F until fully dried.
- Remove the dehydrator tray from the oven, and let the caramel cool to room temperature.
- Break up the pieces of dehydrated caramel and place them into a food processor, and pulse for a few seconds at a time until a powder forms.
- Store the ground, dehydrated caramel in clean, airtight jars. To rehydrate, simply add two parts hot water to one part caramel powder and stir until you achieve the desired consistency.
What are the Dangers of Rebel Canning Caramel Sauce?
Canning low-acid foods with dairy, including caramel sauce, without following tested recipes provides a breeding ground for Clostridium botulinum. Botulism can be fatal, and there is no way to see, taste, or smell the bacteria.
2. Unpleasant Taste or Texture
Rebel canning may leave your sauce with an undesirable consistency or flavor.
3. Wasted Ingredients
Processing caramel sauce using untested times and procedures may result in a product that separates or isn’t usable. Instead of potentially wasting time and ingredients, store caramel sauce in the freezer.
Is Caramel Sauce Shelf Stable?
Homemade caramel sauce isn’t shelf-stable. The natural ingredients, including unsalted or salted butter, and lack of processing make it hard for the sauce to keep longer than 3-4 months.
Some store-bought caramel sauces may be shelf stable if they are unopened because some brands include preservatives or additives to extend the shelf life. Always read the label and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
What is the Shelf Life of Commercially Made Caramel?
According to the USDA, canned food can last for years as long as the can isn’t dented, swollen, or rusty. However, it’s a good idea to confirm the expiration date and storage instructions before buying canned caramel sauce from the grocery store. Use the food within one year from the manufacturing date for the best quality.