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Canning Helps and Hints


Reasons Why Jars Do Not or Cannot Seal

1. Using make-shift supplies

  1. Off-standard jars called packer's jars
    1. Mouths are not accurate width. Lids ride on edge.
    2. Sealing edges are not level-have dips.

b. One-piece caps instead of screwbands (like Mayonaise jars.)

Using screwbands that are rusty or bent or lids that are damaged.

2. Not screwing band down with full strength of the hand before processing or screwing band too tight.

3. Using jars with damaged sealing edges.

4. Not cleaning sealing edge of jar.

5. Syphoning of liquid, causing food particles to lodge between lid and sealing edge of jar.

Lack of heat in processing.

6. Loosening screwband before processing and tightening after processing.

7. Turning jars upside down after processing. (Exceptions with jams and jellies.)

8. Using unacceptable methods of canning, such as open kettle, oven canning, solar canning, steam canning and microwave canning.

Reason Why Foods Spoil

  1. Not processing at correct temperature.
  1. In pressure cooker - 10 lbs. Or 240 degrees F.
    1. Pressure canner gauge not accurate. Should be tested each year.
    2. Failed to exhaust pressure canner.
    3. Failed to keep pressure at 10 lbs. Less than 10 lbs. Will not sterilize food product.

      b. In Boiling Water Bath

      1. Water not at rolling boil when jars placed in canner.
      2. Water not covering jar caps by 1" or more during processing.
      3. Water not a full, rolling boil during entire processing time.
      4. Not processing correct length of time.
      5. Not making adjustment for each elevation of 1000 feet.

    2. Improper cooling of jars after processing is finished.

    1. Failed to remove jars from canner when gauge is 0 degrees F.
    2. Failed to remove jars from Boiling Water Bath when processing time is up.
    3. Failed to cool jars of processed food properly.
      1. Set jars apart about 1 inch.
      2. Do not cover jars.
      3. Holding food too long before processing. Speed in gathering, preparing, processing and cooling is essential.
      4. Not processing low acid foods in pressure canner and high acid foods in the boiling water bath.
      5. Using out-dated canning books and untested recipes.
      6. Cool liquid. Syrup and brines need to be boiling when added to food product.
      7. Slack standards of cleanliness. Keep all utensils, work surfaces, food, clothing, equipment thoroughly clean.
      8. Storage temperature was too high. Store below 70 degrees F.

    If jars did not seal, you may reprocess them within 4 hours after taken out of the canner (replace flats.) IF it is longer than four hours just eat it and enjoy.

    Sugar syrups help keep fruit firm, canning fruits in water will make them soft, but will not harm the fruit flavor. Try canning fruit with diluted fruit juice-usually 1 part juice (not concentrate, must be mixed up first) to 3 parts water. Apple juice may only need 2 parts water. May use honey to can with, but DO NOT let infants under 1 year of age eat any fruit

    Try canning:


    To prevent darkening of fruit: soak peeled, sliced, etc., fruit in a solution of 2 tablespoons vinegar and 2 tablespoons salt to 1 gallon of water and soak NO longer than 20 minutes. Rinse off and place in jars and add syrup. May also use 4-6 tablespoons salt to 1 gallon of water and soak NO longer than 10 minutes then rinse. May use fruit fresh or similar-follow package instructions.

    If you don't want to use any of the above methods, you can place fruit in jar and cover completely with syrup immediately (within 10-15 minutes.) Only the fruit above the liquid will discolor, but usually only slightly. The flavor and nutritional value is not ruined!

    To properly unseal jars-jab the middle of the flat with an icepick. Do not use can openers.



    Process meats and vegetables in water. May want to add salt to vegetables such as green and wax beans. Can either make up a brine solution or add the salt on top of the vegetables and pour boiling water on top.

    Poultry is best to pre-cook and debone and place in jars, rather than to pack raw. When packed raw and then canned, the bones are so soft that they crumble when deboning after it has been canned.


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