Reprocessing Tomatoes?

TamTramJune 13, 2014

Hi All,
A friend offered to introduce me to canning. I want to learn so accepted. We picked and canned tomatoes today. But, I'm concerned about the way she sterilized the jars... in the dishwasher. The jars, filled with tomatoes, were not then boiled for at least 10 minutes or processed in a pressure cooker. They're now sealed. I'm worried that they're not sterile. Can I submerge them in water and boil them for whatever time is recommended with the sealed lids left in place? Note, it's been less than a day.
All advise is greatly appreciated!

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

They are not sterile and underprocessed both. Can you tell us exactly what you did - were you canning whole, haves, crushed, and did you add the required bottled lemon juice to insure acidity...

To reprocess, you must reheat the contents (pour all into a pot, bring to a boil), refilling clean jars and using new lids, adding the lemon juice.

Should I assume then you will be using the boiling water bath method and not a pressure canner? Processing time for tomatoes whole or halved is 40 minutes pints in a boiling water bath, 45 minutes quarts - depending on your altitude, it goes up in 5 minutes increments for however many feet above sea level you happen to live. I'm linking the approved chart for you, National Center for Home Food Preservation, it's your accurate and safest guide...

Processed for the correct amount of time, your jars are fine dishwasher clean.

Please refer to it, come back here and ask questions if you'd like more help with it. It looks like you could use some tips in beginning to can and this is a reliable place to learn, but I know you may be pressed for time with your tomatoes sitting out so am giving you this much information right now....Let us know.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomatoes NCHFP safety

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 5:44PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The jars don't have to be sterilized first IF proper processing is done on the jars after filling and capping them. They are sterilized during the processing.

But if this person just filled the jars and did no processing (much longer than 10 mins is needed) then that is downright dangerous and you are right to be concerned. Not someone you want to learn anything about canning from.


The link morz8 gave you has all the correct directions but it has to be done with 24 hours.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 6:30PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

I agree that we need to know exactly what WAS done.
Hot or raw pack? Processing time and method? Added acid?
Hopefully OP will come back and post.

The short answer to the original question of whether or not they can be boiled with the sealed lids in place is: "NO!".
For the reasons listed above.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 10:36AM
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I'm sorry for the delay in returning. I had a lot happening over the weekend.
Thank you all so much for responding. Here is what was done....

Tomatoes were dipped in hot water for about a minute until split, given a cold bath, and skinned/cored. Tomatoes were crushed and gently boiled on stove for maybe 5-8 minutes and then poured into dishwasher-cleaned jars with a teaspoon of salt. No lemon juice was added. No processing in the jars was done. Lids were placed on jars, they were sealed, and allowed to cool. She stated that this was how her grandmother taught her mom and her mom taught her and that noone had ever gotten sick.

After reading above posts I emptied the jars into a pot, gently boiled the tomatoes about 5 minutes, poured them back into dishwasher-clean jars, added required lemon juice per the recommended website, put new lids on, and boiled them according to the chart on website.

Question 1: Are these now safe?
Question 2: I missed some of the jars. If what I did above is safe, is it also safe to do the same with the jars I missed several days later?

Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 8:15PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The jars you did are now safe. The ones that have been sitting for several days would not be considered safe for re-processing as too much time has passed. Re-processing must be done within 24 hours per the guidelines.

The guidelines would recommend tossing the contents but it depends on how comfortable you are with the risk. Many recommend marking those jars and using them ASAP and only in well cooked recipes where the food will be boiled for at least 10 mins. The 10 mins of boiling will neutralize any toxins that may have developed in the jars.

Personally I would dump those jars that have gone longer then 24 hours as my tolerance for risk is very low but it is your choice.

As for your friend, how open is she to understanding that, thanks to research, things have changed a great deal since Grandma's day and that the risks associated with her methods have been documented as unsafe for over 40 years?


    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 9:03PM
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Thanks, Dave! That eases my mind.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 9:20PM
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Assuming her dishwasher has an actual sterilizing cycle - If you put the non processed jars in the refrigerator right away, I think they would be fine for a couple weeks. But non sterilized jars and sitting on the counter, I would dump them after 24 hours.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 9:11AM
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