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Extension > Food > Food Safety > Preserving and Preparing > General > Food Preservation and Canning Troubleshooting Guide

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General

Food Preservation and Canning Troubleshooting Guide

Carol Ann Burtness

Why didn't the lid seal? How do I keep my peaches from floating? Many problems with home canned products can be traced to use of other-than-recommended canning equipment or procedures. Current food preservation fact sheets and publications are available from the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.

If you are using recipes and/or procedures written before 1994, you are using outdated materials. For safety's sake, please update your methods. Checking your equipment and reviewing current canning recommendations can go a long way towards preventing potential problems. This "troubleshooter's guide" may help you determine the cause of the problem and how you can prevent it from happening again.

If you are using recipes and/or
procedures written before 1994,
you are using outdated materials.

Jars Do Not Seal

Reprocessing Procedure

If a lid fails to seal on a jar, you have 3 options:

  1. Remove the lid and check the jar-sealing surface for tiny nicks. If necessary, change the jar, add a new, properly prepared lid, and reprocess within 24 hours using the same processing time.
  2. Adjust headspace in unsealed jars to 1½ inch and freeze instead of reprocessing.
  3. Refrigerate unsealed jars and eat canned product within seven days of refrigeration.

Food Spoils

Processing at an incorrect temperature due to:

Improper cooling of jars after processing:

Other reasons for spoilage:

Food Loses Liquid During Processing

Food Turns Dark (not spoiled)

Fruit or Tomatoes Float or Separate From Liquid

Sediment in Jars (not necessarily a sign of spoilage)

Discoloration in Canned Foods

Source

Related Resources

Reviewed by Deb Botzek-Linn 2014

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