lid did not seal - safe to eat?

lolear(5b - Chicago)September 18, 2010

I'm still very new at canning. Yesterday I canned some crushed tomatoes. One of the jars did not seal properly. When I checked the seals, about 13 hours after canning, I put the one improperly sealed jar in the fridge. Would they be safe to eat after sitting at room temp for 13 hours, or should I pitch them?



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Personally, I wouldn't be afraid of them if they only sat 13 hours at room temperature. Even though not sealed, they were boiling and then very hot for probably an hour, and, as long as you didn't open them during that period, they should be relatively sterile from the heat treatment.

And, it's tomatoes, not like they'd grow botulism, probably worst case scenario after a day or two they would either get moldy or fermented if they did have microbes growing in them.

Now, if it were canned meat or a prepared dish that includes meat, I'd say no, don't risk it.

Let's see what others say.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 8:52PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I'd agree they are probably fine. Just use them up quickly. Next time I wouldn't wait so long to check the lids though. Doesn't take but just a minute to walk by the jars and tap the lids to see. ;)


    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 9:24PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

If you put in the fridge you can eat them up in a day or two or open the jars, take out a bit and freeze them in the jars.
You could reprocess, but a lot of energy for 2 jars.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 11:21PM
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penserosa(z6 NJ)

How about applesauce? I had one jar that didn't seal. Doesn't the BBB say to wait 24 hours before checking? So I did (more like 36 hours actually, b/c I figured cool was cool) and one jar didn't seal. I put it in the fridge (Tuesday morning) and worried about whether to eat it. Last night I got it out thinking I probably have to get rid of it, and the lid is no longer buckling, but appears to be sealed. Is it possible it could have sealed in the fridge? Or would that just be the expansion of the air in the headspace? Should I use it or pitch it?


    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 8:42AM
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I think the deal about waiting 12-24 hours is to RECHECK the seal to see if any have let go.

For me, anything that has not sealed within an hour I consider "unsealed" and it goes in the fridge. I think about 99% of the jars seal within 15 mn of being taken out of the canner (many seal before they are out of the canner during the cool down phase).

I recheck everything after 24 hours (or maybe longer) but if I find something that has come unsealed at that time, I would toss it - but for me that means it becomes chicken food. I won't feed the chickens goods that came unsealed while in the pantry - who knows what has got to growing by the time I find them.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 12:37PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

First, a clarification. Botulism has been reported in tomatoes, which is why citric acid or lemon juice is required in those that are canned.

But, as has been mentioned, when a high-acid product like tomatoes (acidified per instructions) or applesauce has sat out a number of hours and has not sealed, it should be refrigerated and then consumed within a short time (or frozen).

I would not treat pressure-canned product like meat or green beans that way, however. With those if I didn't see a seal within an hour I would refrigerate. I would not leave those jars out.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 1:39PM
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