How do you Jar food (and what way is the best, pressure cooker or vacuum seal)?
What is usual shelf life for all foods when jarred?
There isn't a "best" because it depends on what you are canning/jarring.
For most fruits, the boiling water bath is fine. This method actually vacuum seals the food as it heats.
For vegetables and meats, the pressure canner is a must. The boiling water bath doesn't not heat these low acid foods enough to kill illness-causing bacteria. Using the pressure canner also vacuum seals the bottles.
For more details, check this page: Home Canning for Food Storage.
As for the shelf life of home canned foods, they are best used within 1-2 years - just like canned foods from the grocery store. But they may be just fine after several years as long as the lids are not bulged. If you can "pop" the lid down when pressing on it, it is not properly sealed and should be thrown out.
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