mold on outside of home-canned tomato jars

Asked January 24, 2013, 3:07 PM EST

My mother has some home canned tomatoes (canned in 2009) that ended up with mold on the outside of the jar. The mold occurred after she had a basement leak she did not know she had (in 2011). She wiped the mold from the jars with no regrowth of that mold on the jars. She is hesitant to use them but hates the thought of throwing them out. What should she do? Is there anything she can do to reassure herself?

Pepin County Wisconsin food safety home food preservation

1 Response

Michelle:
IF you see that there is not an issue with the tomoatoes inside the jars then the product should be safe to eat. Mold will grow on the outside if she spilled a bit of tomatoes on the sides and did not get them wiped off. Also if the seal is intact then the product inside should be OK. However, to take the extra step to make sure the prodcut is safe... BEFORE consuming put the product in a pot and bring it to a rolling boil for 10 minutes prior to consuming the toamaotes. This will destroy any toxin or other bacteria that might be in the food... But I think they are good. Also I should mention we recommend that home canned foods should be consumed within two years of canning them. They are now 4 years old... However as I said before if the seal is intact and they were pressure canned properly then they should be safe after the 10 minutes of brought to a roling boil.