Advice - I canned tomatoes without lemon juice

mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)September 19, 2011

Hi. I'm a member of the RMG and someone there recommended I check in with this group for advice.

I'm a newbie canner, so when I canned up some tomatoes a couple of weeks ago, I didn't realize I needed to add lemon juice before processing in the water bath. So they are just straight tomatoes and juice, or some jars with onions and peppers mixed in. Do I throw them all out? Or can I safely use some of them by a certain length of time? An RMG'er suggested taking some out of the jars and putting them into baggies to freeze. Other than that, do I need to just start from scratch again?

Thanks for any expert advice!!

Marj

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

or some jars with onions and peppers mixed in.

Those you will need to pitch IMO as they should have been pressure canned to begin with. There is no way to safely BWB process mixed low-acid vegetables unless you add a large amount (like 1 cup) of acid (vinegar, lemon juice, etc.) as one would with salsa.

The plain tomatoes - it is your choice. Personally I would toss them since it is far too late to either reprocess or freeze them and I'm not comfortable with the associated risk. But others wouldn't think twice about keeping them. If you do then I strongly recommend they be very well cooked prior to eating them so that at least any toxins will be neutralized.

Prior to 1976 most canned their tomatoes with no added acid. Since the research done then the guideline has required the acid to be added but some still choose to ignore the guidelines.

If you are going to be canning then it is well worth the time to become familiar with the current guidelines or to restrict your canning to the recipes/instructions in the current Ball Blue Book.

Dave

PS: what is RMG?

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP Guidelines

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 8:18PM
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mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)

Thanks Dave - sorry, that stands for the Rocky Mountain Gardening group

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 8:49PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

If you feel comfortable with the risk of keeping the jars, you can carefully decant the contents into a pan and cook at a full boil for ten minutes before using in a recipe. If there are toxins, as Dave mentioned, that will kill them.

One reason veggies seldom made people sick even before the advent of more modern processing was that cooks usually used them in recipes where they were thoroughly cooked over a long period.

It's totally up to you depending upon your comfort level.

Carol

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 9:42PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Canning tomatoes alone need bottled lemon juice, so adding the other low acid foods is unsafe. It is up to you if you eat the food . However, botulism only takes 2 days to create enough toxin to paralyze or kill. It has no signs in the jars. No smell, no taste, can't see it.

Technically you can boil for 10 to 15 min. before you eat the food. But, if you drip anything on the counter, a dish cloth, etc. you are still exposed to it.

You make the decision.
If jars are unsealed, the safe thing is to NOT open them. Wrap all in trash bags and dump them in the trash. Dump the jars and contents.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 2:45AM
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2ajsmama

Linda Lou - the NCHFP says if jars are leaking, to boil them on their sides for 30 min to detoxify. But then dump them, jars and all.

In this case, when (I assume) they're still sealed, why can't she boil the jars for 30 min and then dump the contents but keep the jars?

Just wondering why the jars have to be pitched if spores are killed by boiling (and you don't want to eat the food after boiling for that long) - is there still a chance that the heat hasn't killed everything after 30 minutes? Or an hour?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 6:56AM
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