Inadequate Water in WB Canner

Stoneturtle(6)September 15, 2011

Hi everyone. Rookie canner here. I've gotten a lot of useful info from reading the forums here. My batch of Annie's Salsa came out great! It's the first salsa my husband or I either one will eat by itself instead of using cheese or something to modify the taste.

Today I made apple pie filling using the NCHFP recipe. I used half the ClearJel after reading the forums on the subject here. Here's the thing...I'd never canned quarts before, and though my canner said it held 7 quarts, the only way to get a scant inch of water over the tops of the jars was to fill it to the brim. I expected water all over my stove and that's what I got. What dismayed me, though, was when I took off the lid, I found that my jar tops were barely awash! Unlike my stove...

Now, my pints had the habit of going "tink" as I move them from the canner to the cooling rack, or shortly thereafter, so I was pretty worried when my quarts didn't. After a nice nap and a few games of FreeCell and a couple of episodes of "Rifleman" off the DVR, I went back in the kitchen and was happy to find that they had, indeed, all sealed.

My question is, what's technically the purpose of the amount of water over the tops of the jars, is it to facilitate the seal or is it required for sterilization for some reason? Is my pie filling going to be ok, since they did seal?

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readinglady(z8 OR)

A quart of a dense product like apple pie filling will often take longer to seal than a pint of something thinner like salsa. Just a reminder not to expect identical results as each product will vary somewhat on sealing time.

Since apple pie filling is high acid, even if your seal wasn't quite as strong there's no serious risk. It sounds as if they're fine, though the processing wasn't optimal.

Those canners really aren't designed for quarts regardless of what they claim. A pressure canner works better for BWB quarts, as it's deeper. The alternative is a large deep stockpot sufficient to cover the jars with an adquate amount of water.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 2:45AM
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I really do wish they would make a BWB canner that was about an inch taller. Would make it so much easier for quarts. And since I have a 16 qt Presto, I don't have the option of using that for a BWB.

When I BWB anything, as soon as my water comes up to boil, I turn the heat down - on my stove to about 6. Water boils at 212 degrees - it doesn't matter if it is a hard vigorous boil, or a gentle rolling boil. You have less splashing of water on a gentle rolling boil.

Also, if I'm BWBing something in quarts with a long processing time, I'll put my tea kettle boiling. After about 20 minutes of processing, I'll open up my canner and dump in the boiling tea water - just to make sure there is sufficient water in the canner.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 11:03AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Absolutely. You may need to add water from time to time. Add it around the jars, not over their tops.

This link to the NCHFP instructions is a good review for all of us.


Here is a link that might be useful: Using Boiling Water Canners

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 11:33AM
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Thanks, everybody, for the advice and reassurance! Since it's just me and the hubby now, I mostly can in pints and half-pints, so this was my first try at quarts. I do have a pressure canner, and I have another BWB canner which I thought was the same size but on measuring find that it is about an inch taller! I will try that one. Yesterday (and still) it was doing duty as an apple basket. I like my porcelain-coated canner better, this other is stainless steel and tends to leave my rings and jars coated with white deposits which are tough to scrub off. I guess it reacts with the water here or something.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 2:29PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

this other is stainless steel and tends to leave my rings and jars coated with white deposits which are tough to scrub off. I guess it reacts with the water here or something.

Just add a couple of T of vinegar to the water in the pot to eliminate that problem. It is common for many of us.

That was going to be my question - which canner do you have as they make several different sizes of the old enamel graniteware canners. Mine is the 33 quart. Holds 9 quarts jars with no problems covering the jars at all.

But many brands of stockpots are available that will hold 7 quarts and are deeper than the standard granite ware canners.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 3:52PM
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mellyofthesouth(9a FL)

I found a 22 qt stockpot at walmart that is 12" deep. It is hard to find them that are taller and skinnier vs wider and shallower. Made in china, but what can you do. Should cover quarts without getting water all over the stove. I use the rack from the pressure canner or a cake cooling rack in the bottom of stockpots for canning. Have never owned a dedicated water bath canner.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 10:33PM
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Hmmm, Dave, I dunno about the actual size. It was supposed to hold 7 quarts. Thanks for the suggestion about the vinegar, I'll try that the next time I use the stainless steel canner.

Tomorrow, applesauce! In pints though :) Then applebutter the next day.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 12:18AM
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suzanne876(8 to 9)

I have looked all over for a 33 quart, 9 quart jar rack with dividers, and I can't find one. My old one had a top circle that fit on the rack with nine spaces. I really don't want to buy another canner just for the rack. Stainless steel would be nice but not necessary. I do a lot of canning (like 50 or 60 quarts of one thing) so I need dividers to keep things quick and simple. I threw away my old rack, and time's getting short!
Has anyone seen one?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 9:44PM
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