HELP - Pressure canning unexpected result

danderAugust 21, 2011

Hello and thanks in advance for any help.

We just canned 6 quarts of paste/salsa-type tomatoes in our new pressure canner. Loaded the glass jars up to 1/4-1/2 inch from the jar-top and added a little lemon juice. Hand-tightened the lids to the point of resistance. Added 3 quarts of boiling water to the pressure canner per mfg specs (which brought the water to about 1/3 up the sides of the quart jars) and then cooked under 11 psi for 25 minutes.

After cooling down we removed the lid and found that most of the fluid in the jars has boiled away... still some bubbling of the remaining fluid. I don't think this is how it is supposed to turn out !

Any suggestions or thoughts very much appreciated. We have TONS more tomatoes coming along and would like to get this right.



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

First need to know which canning method you used - raw pack or hot pack. Second which liquid you used - water, juice, or none added.

Secondly if your jars were over-packed then you can get boil-over as they swell. Otherwise the loss of liquid is do to siphoning and that is related to improper pressure canning techniques - too much heat adjustment, improper venting, improper cool down, etc. Did you wait the required 10 mins. between removing the weight and then removing the lid?

So really need much more information to correctly answer your question.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 2:19PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

I'm assuming when you say added a little lemon juice you mean the recommended amount.

If you search for siphoning on this site you will find a lot of information regarding causes for liquid and product loss from jars.

Three causes that come to mind right now are:

1) Inadequate headspace. 1/4" is not enough and overpacked product will expand and bubble out.

2) Fluctuations of temperature during processing. If you adjust the temperature on your stove you have to do it in small increments to prevent liquid loss. Again, many past threads discuss recommendations for canner operation and sustaining consistent pressure.

3) Not following the recommended 10-minute wait time after the pressure drops back to zero. Jars removed from the canner immediately not only are short on total processing time but also are more likely to expel liquid when the lid is removed as there may be residual pressure even if the gauge shows zero.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 2:21PM
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You guys are great. At least two of your suggestions were probably at the heart of the problem: (a) tried to nudge the cool-down time along a little bit and also (b)loaded the jars too much. Second try went like a charm. The lesson: "patience grasshopper" !


    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 9:06PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Daryl - if you are using the canner manual for guidance please know that they are seldom updated and most likely misleading or confusing when it comes to canning. A much better source for step-by-step pressure canner use is available from NCHFP. Using it can resolve most all issues you might encounter.


Here is a link that might be useful: How to Use Your Pressure Canner - NCHFP

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 9:30AM
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