For the homemaker who preserves her family’s food for the winter knowing canning problems and solutions is an important part of canning. Whether you use a hot water bath, or pressure canner, the problems and solutions are often the same.
Jars don’t seal. Jars break. The liquid leaks out of your jars while canning. Jars unseal after they have been canned and shelved.
I’m not THE expert on canning, but I’ve been canning for over 10 years and thought I would share a few common solutions below. The one thing I don’t do is oven canning, I’ve just recently heard of it and am really on the fence as to whether or not it’s really safe.
The canning problems and solutions I’m referring to are for the hot water bath method of canning and pressure canning only.
Common Canning Problems and Solutions:
Problem #1: Jars do not seal.
Always check the rim of your jar before filling. Even small chips can prevent a jar from sealing, and if the jar does seal, chances are it will unseal later. As well, make sure there is no food residue left on the rim from filling.
Never reuse canning lids. They should always be new when you put them on the jar. You can also put your lids into boiling hot water to soften the seal part of it before putting the lids on your jars.
Make sure you are canning your foods for the proper amount of time. If your food hasn’t been heated to a certain degrees it will not seal right.
Problem #2: Jars Break.
Sometimes I fill jars and put them into the fridge and can them the next day. Those jars are very cold, and if I were to put warm water in the canner and turn it on the water would heat up too fast and the jars could break because they are still cold. My rule of thumb is that I put water into the canner at a similar temperature as the jars are.
Pulling hot jars out of the canner into a cold room. This has only happened to me once, but I opened the canner and promptly pulled the jar out while a fan was blowing air from the AC right at it. The jar popped and everything fell back into the canner. What a mess!
Problem #3: Liquid Leaks out of the Jars.
I have the most problems with fruit doing this. I fill the jars with fruit and water, can them and pull them out of the canner. Suddenly the liquid is just pouring right between the jar and the lid. And before it stops my jar has lost 1/3 of it’s liquid. The jars usually seal, but the fruit ends up mushy. The key here is making sure you do not over-can. Just like under-canning causes issues, over-canning can as well.
Problem #4: Jars unseal after they have been shelved.
The ph balance is wrong. Research ph balance if you are going to be canning high acid foods like tomatoes.
You canned something that cannot be canned. Um, yes. Been there done that. One summer mother and I and canned 20+ pint of our homemade mushroom sauce. A week later we started smelling something horrible in the pantry. Turns out milk and flour cannot be canned together. Even in a sealed jar the milk and flour started to ferment and the fermentation process created gas which unsealed the jars and let off an obnoxious odor.
I really hope my list of common canning problems and solutions can help you out! Canning is a wonderful way to save money and feed your family lovely foods during the winter (we even can meats!), so I wish you good luck and happy canning.
For proper food safety and canning visit: FoodSafety.Gov.