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How to avoid/fix Canning Problems 2

My strawberry jelly has glass-like particles in it, what is this?


There are a few causes:

Too much sugar could have been used:
Be sure to follow all recipes' instructions when making jams, jellies, or fruit spreads.

The mixture may not have been cooked long enough:
If you have too short of a cooking time then that can result in the sugar not dissolving completely which will cause it to not mix thoroughly with the juice and/or fruit.

The mixture may have been cooked too long or too slowly:
Slow, long cooking can result in too much evaporation of the water content of the fruit.

Undissolved sugar that was stuck to the pan could have fallen into the jelly as it was poured:
Be sure to carefully wipe the pan's side free of sugar crystals with a damp cloth before you fill the jars. Ladling your jam, jelly, or fruit spread instead of pouring can also help.

If this ever happens with a grape jelly then the crystals could be tartaric acid, which is a natural substance found in grapes from which cream of tartar is made:
Allow grape juice to stand in the refrigerator 12 to 24 hours. Ladle the juice from the bowl, being careful not to disturb sediment that may have settled in the bottom, strain the juice through a damp jelly bag or through several layers of cheesecloth.


My jars sealed and then the became unsealed during storage. What could have caused this and what should I do?

There are many things that could have caused this, but first we must tell you DO NOT EAT OR USE THE FOOD IN THESE JARS!

Spoilage may have occurred from under processing or not processing the food :
You need to process all your foods by the recommended method and for the recommended length of time.

Particles of food may have been left on the sealing surface:
You need to always wipe your jar rim and the treads of your canning jars before you adjust your two-piece lid.

There could be a chip or crack in the rim of your jar:
Always check your jars and discard of the ones that are unsuitable for canning uses, gently run your finger over the edge of the jar if there are no visible chips or cracks to see if you feel in (be careful not to cut your finger on cut glass) and if you feel chips or cracks then the jar needs to be tossed or used for something other than canning, a country style flower vase perhaps?

You may have used the incorrect headspace:
Always use the recommended headspace in your recipes.

Air bubbles may not have been removed before you adjusted your two-piece lid:
Be sure to use your bubble freer or a non-metallic spatula in order to free the trapped air bubbles in food. To do this slide the spatula or bubble freer between the food and the canning jar and press back gently on the food to release the trapped bubbles.


My canned juice doesn't taste that great...what did I do wrong?


There are a couple of things that could have happened to cause a poor flavor in your juice:

You used immature, overripe, or inferior fruit:
Be sure to use only good-quality, firm, ripe fruit for making juice.

Too much water was used in extracting fruit juice:
Use only the amount of water that is called for in your recipe instructions. If making tomato juice, you will not need to add any water.

Stored improperly:
Be sure to store in a cool, dark, dry storage area.


After I canned my jars I have less liquid in them now. What caused this?


There are about six different things that can cause this, first thing you need to know is that you NEVER open your jar to replace the liquid lost during the canning process.

Food was not heated before packing into jars:
Use the hot-pack method.

Food was packed too tightly:
Pack food loosely into jars.

Trapped air bubbles were not removed before adjusting the two-piece lid:
Slide a non-metallic spatula or a bubble freer between the food and the jar and press back gently on the food to release trapped air bubbles.

The pressure canner was not operated correctly:
Pressure should not be allowed to fluctuate during the processing time. You need to allow the pressure to drop to zero naturally. Remove gauge or open petcock and allow the canner to continue cooling for 10 minutes before opening lid.

Jars were not covered with water in the waterbath canner:
Jars must be covered with water by 1 to 2 inches throughout the processing period.

Starchy foods absorbed the liquid:
Nothing can be done to prevent liquid loss due to food absorption.


My food jars did not seal during canning, what can I do?

There are many things that can cause the seal to fail. These things include: not preparing lids correctly, improper adjustment of caps, food particles on jar rim, not processing or under processing food. If the food is unspoiled then you can reprocess it within 24 hours after the first canning attempt, be sure to use a new canning jar lid and process for the full time. Or refrigerate the food and use within a few days.

To prevent this from happening in the future you need to follow instructions for using home canning jars and two-piece lids and follow correct processing methods and times for the recipe.


This is so weird, my pickles are hollow, I've never seen this before, how did this happen?

This is caused from a faulty growth of the cucumbers. There is nothing that you could have done to prevent it. Hollow cucumbers are best when they are used for relish. To tell if a cucumber is hollow watch to see which ones float in the water when you are cleaning them.


When I opened my jar there were black spots on the inside of the lid. Is my food safe to eat?

Yes, your food should be safe to eat so long as the black spots on the lid are the only indicator of something wrong. These spots are caused by natural compounds in some foods, the deposit is harmless. Unfortunately, there is nothing that will prevent these spots in future canning.


My pickles have a white sediment in the bottom of the jar, what caused this?


There are a couple of things that could have caused this to happen to your pickles:

Harmless yeasts could have grown on the surface and then settled into the bottom of the jar:
The presence of a small amount of white sediment is normal, in the case of yeast growth there is nothing that could prevent it.

Additives in the salt could have settled in the bottom:
Use a canning or pickling salt or a salt that has no additives.


My pickles have shriveled, what went wrong?


There are a few things that could have caused this, read below to see what you can do to prevent the different causes of shriveled pickles.

Too much salt, sugar, and/or vinegar added to the cucumbers at one time can cause shriveled pickles:
Be sure to add salt, sugar, and/or vinegar gradually, until all of it has been added.

Whole cucumbers were not pricked before canning:
Be sure to prick whole pickles before canning them to allow the brine to saturate and plump the flesh of the cucumber.

Cucumbers had a wax coating the prevented the brine from penetrating the peel:
Be sure to use unwaxed pickling cucumbers.


My pickles turned out soft, how can I keep this from happening next time?


First let's go over the reasons that could cause the pickles to go soft and we'll go over how to prevent each cause:

Cucumber's blossom end was not removed:
Cut 1/16-inch off the blossom end of the cucumber before pickling.

The brine or vinegar was too weak:
Use pure granulated salt or canning and pickling salt, 5% acidity vinegar and a tested recipe.

Scum was not removed daily from top of brine:
Completely remove the scum everyday during the brining process.

Pickles were not completely covered with brine:
Pickles must be completely covered with liquid during fermentation and in the home canning jar.

Pickles were under processed:
Process all pickled foods in a boiling-water canner.


My pickles are a weird dark color?


When pickles are discolored and/or darkened there are a few causes and ways to prevent this from happening in future canning:

If hard water is used to make pickles, the minerals in the water can cause darkened pickles:
Use soft water.

If you use brass, iron, copper, aluminum, or zinc utensils were used in making your pickles then they can become dark or discolored:
Instead use enamelware, glass, stainless-steel, or stoneware utensils.

Ground spices were used:
Use whole spices instead.

Whole spices were left in the jars of the pickles:
Whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, and other whole spices used for flavoring the pickling liquid should be removed before canning.


My soft spread is really tough and a little stiff. What did I do wrong?


There are a couple of things that could cause this:

Too much natural pectin in fruit:
Be sure to use fruit that is completely ripe.

Too much sugar was used:
If commercial pectin is not used 3/4 to 1 cup sugar for each cup of juice or fruit should be adequate. Use standard dry measuring cups and and level sugar even with the top edge of the cup.


While we are the subject of soft spread keep in mind that if it has fermented you should NOT use it.

If your soft spread has fermented then that means that it was not brought to the correct temperature before filling jars and/or was unprocessed, preventing all spoilage micro-organisms such as yeasts from being destroyed. To prevent this from happening you need to bring the soft spread to a rolling boil when using commercial pectin or 220°F when preparing a recipe without added pectin. Fill jars and adjust two-piece caps one at a time. Process in a boiling-water canner. Refer to recipe for correct processing time.

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