Does too much water in a pressure canner impact food safety?

Asked September 13, 2017, 11:01 PM EDT

Hi. I did a dumb thing, and used a pressure canner for the first time without reading the directions. I covered the jars with an inch of water, and did not allow ten minutes to purge the air space in the canner. I did follow times and weights for canning the items. Does this impact safety of the food?

Arapahoe County Colorado

1 Response

Hello.....Don't worry I have done some not so smart things in my days of learning how to preserve foods. That is part of learning and asking questions like you just did is a BIG part of learning.
The answer to your question is that the jars that you pressure canned were not processed correctly because there was too much water in the pressure canner, the canner did not get vented which creates the ideal pressure inside the canner that you want for the product you will be pressure canning. The air in the space between the water and the top of the lid needs to be vented out and that did not happen.
You have two options if you have canned these jars not more than 24 hours ago:
1. you could store the jars in the refrigerator and keep them there until you can consume them. If you have the room in your refrigerator I would go this route.
2. you could entire the jars and start all over again....making sure that you use new lids, you can use the same jars and screw bands. Doing the reprocessing you will have a safe product, but it will be over-processed which basically means that you have lost more nutrients and it will be a little more softer in texture....BUT IT WILL be safe to eat.
You can email me at: azander@bouldercounty.org and we can chat more about what you tried to pressure can and if there is another option for you.