Pickled jalapenos floating

Joe1980(5)September 5, 2011

Today I ventured into pickling some jalapeno slices. I followed a recipe to the T, and also followed the instructions for sterilizing correctly, as well as the proper procedures for the boiling water bath. Anyways, I left 1/2" headspace in my 1/2 pint jars, as directed. Well, after processing, the pepper slices decided to unpack and float to the top, with some not submerged in the liquid. Is this a problem?


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Hi Joe,

I suspect you raw packed the peppers... packed the Jalapenos in the jar and filled with hot brine and processed. Floating peppers (or fruit) are a common when using raw pack recipes.

As long as you followed a safe recipe, left the right head space and processed for the correct time, you should not have any safety concerns.

Over time the peppers will absorb the brine and start to drop.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 8:52PM
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Did you cut a couple slits in each one for the brine to penetrate? That will help with floating.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 8:57PM
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Ajsmama, they are cut into slices.

Bill, yes they are raw packed. From what I gather, they'll keep more crisp when raw packed, as opposed to boiling them first and having them turn out softer. I've read that floating is normal, but I am more concerned that they won't pack down enough to ever be submerged again.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 9:16PM
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If they're sliced and floating, not much you can do. The very top ones may turn dark and shrivel like cukes do when they're not submerged - just throw those away when you open the jar.

I've only ever canned whole jals. Might try sliced sweet banana peppers this year since it looks like most will be coming in after end of Sept (end of market)!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 10:17PM
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Boy, I need to stop reading up on this, because it's making me paranoid. I've read that your best to err on the side of a tad MORE headspace, then less. Is that a true statement? I have a couple of 1/2 pint jars that have a bit more then a 1/2" of headspace, no more then a 1/4" extra, so 3/4" tops. Is that a bad thing, or no cause for concern? I'm just getting paranoid after reading all this stuff about botulism.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 11:27PM
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More headspace may lead to a weaker vacuum seal, and also allows for spoilage from yeasts, molds, etc. (even if seal is intact) b/c all the air may not be evacuated. Insufficient headspace will lead to boil-over and again may get a weak seal b/c food can get b/t the lid and rim. But neither of those will lead to botulism. In fact, more oxygen = better for that, since spores only produce toxin in anaerobic environment. So it's a quality issue. Not that you can't get sick from spoiled food, but just discard it if it gets moldy or if the brine gets murky. If it stays sealed, your jars are OK, but will bear watching - if seal comes undone next day, stick it in the fridge or reprocess from the beginning (heat brine, new clean hot jar, new lid). More than 24 hours, throw it away. Or just open them now and stick'em in the fridge.

Best to try to stick to the headspace recommended in the recipe. Though my jams always seem to have more than I start out with, they really seem to "settle" in the canner. Whenever I try to squeeze it to minimum, though, I even up with no/weak seals.

Gardenweb Harvest forum is a great place to get these sorts of questions answered - people with lots more experience than I over there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Problems with canned food - NCHFP

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 8:20AM
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