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Frequently asked canning questions

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By Theresa Howard

Can food be re-canned if the lid does not seal?
Canned food can safely be recanned if the unsealed jar is discovered within 24 hours. To re-can, remove the lid and check the jar sealing surface for tiny nicks. Change jar if necessary, add a new treated lid and reprocess using the same processing time.
Do you really need to leave a certain amount of headspace in the jar?
Yes, leaving the specified amount of headspace in a jar is important to assure a vacuum seal. If too little headspace is allowed the food may expand and bubble out when air is being forced out from under the rim during processing. The bubbling food may leave a deposit on the rim of the jar or the seal of the lid and prevent the jar from sealing properly. If too much headspace is allowed, the food at the top is likely to discolor. Also, the jar may not seal because there will not be enough processing time to drive all the air out of the jar.
Should liquid lost during processing be replaced?
No. Loss of liquid does not cause food to spoil, though the food above the liquid may darken. If the loss is excessive (if half the liquid is lost), refrigerate the jars and use within two-to-three days.
Is it safe to can food without salt?
Yes. Salt is used for flavor only when canning vegetables and fruits; and is not necessary to prevent spoilage. The only exception to this is if you are pickling a product, salt is needed to make the pickling brine.
TIP: Canning green beans- process in a dial gauge pressure canner at 11 pounds pressure or a weighted gauge pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure: pints for 20 minutes, quarts for 25 minutes.
For more information:
Check our office Facebook page, under LaRue County Cooperative Extension Service, for more timely tips on home canning and freezing.