Packing in jars

GeneTheNewGuyJuly 25, 2012

I have a question about packing in jars. I canned beets a few days ago. I followed all the rules, etc. The last thing I did before putting the jars in the canner was: I put the beets and water in the jars, used a plastic tool (that removes air and measures headspace), got the air out of the liquid, wiped the rim etc.

How much do you "pack" the food in the jar? I was just looking at the jars and I see some empty space in some of the jars. I hope that makes sense? Do I need to post a pic of a jar? Headspace was correctly done, air removed, the lids sealed properly.

Is this any problem? How much or how firmly do you "pack"? Does it make any difference? Do you have to really jam it in hard? Would that break up or squish the produce, in this case beets? Or am I worrying too much?

Lids are sealed properly, all else looks good.

Thanks for your help.


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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

It is always safer to under-pack than to over-pack. The contents need to be able to move freely in the jar.

With beets - whole or sliced? I put whole up to just below the jar shoulder and then fill with liquid. Sliced - less slices than whole - say well below the jar shoulder, and more liquid as you need all the slices to be surrounded by the liquid.

You just comfortably fill the jar, you don't "pack" the jar as in stuff it if you see what I mean. And with fine textured things like say kraut or even green beans you don't stuff, smush, press or any of the other type things. Many canning recipes will say "loosely fill".


    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 10:38PM
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Hi Dave, thanks! I feel better now about it now.

I had beets from 2 different sources. One batch was small beets, the other batch was larger ones. I had to use both batches together to have enough to can. The small ones I just cut in half. The larger ones I cut some into slices and some into cubes. It just depended on how big they were and what shape. Some were regular red beets and some were gold and some were the red/white striped. I didn't think it would make any difference.

All were put in pint widemouth jars. Some jars had all small halves, some had larger slices, some had cubes, some had a mixture of all the above. I processed as per the directions and even added 5 more minutes just to make me feel a little more confident.

I ended up with 7 pint jars. I had some left which would have only filled about half of a pint jar, I started to put them in a half pint jar but instead just ate them with a fork, they were really tasty. If I had put them in a half pint jar and put them in the canner with the pints would that have still been ok?

Thanks for wading through my long questions, I really appreciate it. Gene

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 11:02PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Well, those should be interesting beets!

It's fine to process a smaller jar with larger ones as long as you follow the processing time for the larger size.

Try to be similar in the sizes of the pieces for the most consistent texture in the finished product. Like Goldilocks, not too small and not too large.

Either way, you're doing fine and congratulations on the beets!


    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 12:02AM
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