canning: bringing out the alarmist in me

So in my absence of much of a blog, this summer has been consumed by quite a bit of canning. It’s quite a nice holdover for baking – instead of making the brownies when I’m stressed, I make Schezuan green beans, tomato chutney or vanilla bean shiro plum jam. While I still make some delicious baked and cooked creations, including a stunner of a zucchini bread played off from this recipe, canning has become quite the interesting hobby.

So when my local CSA offered 25 lb boxes of paste tomatoes for $20 this week, it felt like an offer I couldn’t refuse. And then, my friend Kathryn offered to jump in on the cost and work-sharing for the tomatoes. Following the lovely Marisa’s guidelines for canning whole tomatoes, we worked from about 11am to 2:30 pm Saturday to get 8 quarts processed and the other tomatoes peeled and ready to can. My roommate B & I finished the other 14 quarts later in the evening, and things seemed ok.

We did get some separation of water and tomatoes – the water was at the bottom of the jar. And then today, once the cans were fully cooled, I decided to attempt to redistribute the water. Once I tipped the jar back and forth a few times, the water did redistribute. BUT, then I noticed that there were many many tiny white bubbles leading to the top of the jar. And then, I realized, at least with this jar, there is a TON of headspace.

So I realize we probably did not do the best job in squish enough air out/put enough juice in when loading jars, but all of a sudden, all my concerns with waterbath canning (especially tomatoes) comes to a head and the alarmist in me comes out. So this post goes out to canners: do I redistribute the water on all the jars? Are the small bubbles dangerous? Is this head space completely and totally unacceptable and unsafe? (Meaning should I put this in the fridge and use first?)

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About nomnivorous

A food enthusiast who cooks, bakes and eats it all... And if it happens to be cute, it's even more likely to be eaten by this nomnivore!
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3 Responses to canning: bringing out the alarmist in me

  1. You are fine so long as they sealed properly. Losing water in the boiling waterbath is normal. The little bubbles you see after turning the jar upside down are normal, too.

    No alarm on botulism (bc if you followed the recipe the environment inside the jar is too acidic for spores to activate), but when you open the jar, if they smell off it just means you didn’t kill all the molds/bacteria/yeasts that cause spoilage (different from botulism).

    Either way you won’t die!

    Good job on putting up the awesome CSA deal!

  2. Marisa says:

    Kate is right on all accounts! Great job on the tomatoes!

  3. Pingback: Taking stock of summer: Joy extended « nomnivorous

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