Re-using canner water?

michelelcAugust 30, 2012

I am going to make a batch of Eli Topp's Tomato basil pasta sauce this morning, and then a batch of dilly beans. Is it possible to re-use the water in a boil bath canner, or should I put in new water?

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I always reuse it. In fact, I usually start with the water that I used for blanching the tomatoes, then bring the jar heating water to a boil and top the level off with that.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 11:43AM
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It kinda depends how yucky the water gets - I give it a sniff and if it smells too strongly of something or is really discolored (usually it's because I forgot to wipe off a big drip off the outside of the jar), then I dump it and use fresh water. But I prefer not to have to heat up another pot of water again if I don't have to.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 11:48AM
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My water gets a film on it (and the aluminum PC rack I use in the stockpot I use as a BWB gets "crystals") if I leave it for days, but I have used it the next day no problem. I wouldn't think twice about using the same water while the canner is hot - in fact, that's exactly what my cousin and I did yesterday - sterilized jars in the canner and simmered lids in a saucepan while we made peach jam, processed the first batch while we cooked the 2nd batch and simmered the lids, warmed the jars once the first batch was out but no time to sterilize so just processed the 2nd batch for 10 min instead of 5, and used the lid water to top them off since we did lose a little water with the 1st batch.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 12:10PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Like malna I will use it for batches one right after another if it hasn't gotten discolored or yucky from any boil over. Saves water and heating energy.

But I won't let it sit overnight and then reuse it. Not good for the canner, allows too much bacterial growth in it in that amount of time and there's no energy savings.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 12:29PM
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Dave, do you then pour the water into a separate container and pour it back in the next day? Or just start with fresh water? I cant tell you the number of times my canner water (water bath Im talking about) sat in overnight, but I would change it the next day. I hadnt considered it being hard on the canner. Makes sense. I always start with fresh water for pressure canner because I want exactly 3 quarts of sanitized water to start with. Question though, I have used the same water I used to sanitize the jars. As in, I first sanitize the jars, then pour 3 quarts of water from those jars into the pressure canner. Is this a potential problem?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 1:14PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

BWB canner gets dumped and new water as needed but always emptied at end of the day, allowed to dry well, and fresh water the next day. You don't get siphoning with a BWB, just with a pressure canner.

Pressure canner doesn't need "sanitized" water (neither do), just plain old tap water. And 3 quarts is just a guide not an absolute. Short runs take less, long runs take more. Sure you can use the water you were heating the jars in. I have no siphoning problems with the pressure canner so its water can be used for several batches in the same day. Just add a bit more as the level falls from venting steam. At the end of the day it gets dumped and dried well.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 1:35PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Just a reminder - anything that is going to be pressure canned doesn't require sterilized jars, just hot ones. Anything that is going to be BWB for 10 min or more doesn't require sterilized jars either, just hot ones.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 1:37PM
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Another reason I don't/can't leave water in any of my canners is I have such hard water that I have to put either vinegar or citric acid in the water to reduce the white mineral scale that forms all over everything. So I dump it as soon as I'm done canning for the day.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 2:33PM
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melfield_wy(5b Wyoming)

I generally re-use water for multiple batches of processing in one day...

Regardless of whether or not I re-use, my "used" water either gets dumped into the flower garden or the compost pile. Water is to precious to be just dumped down the drain!

(Just a reminder!)

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 8:21PM
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Amen! C'mon Isaac!!! The Midwest needs you!!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 11:38PM
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I pour my boiling water on fire ant hills in the yard and it works! Especially nice on the ones near the house. No need for pesticides. I don't necessarily consider that a waste.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 10:36AM
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We have had ants from Hell INSIDE my house this year. Just can't seem to get them fully under control.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 1:04PM
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@melfield - you would love my old house. It is so old and has never been updated, that all drains just dump out the side of the house onto the lawn. Everything under the drain area and the ditch it runs in down to the wild flowers, grows like crazy. No water wasted here :)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 1:24PM
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melfield_wy(5b Wyoming)

Kali615: You are right, I would! I would dearly love to create a gray water cistern system here, but to do would mean redoing the whole drain / septic system ($$$). Makes no sense to me to waste as much water as we do, IMO!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 1:57PM
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