Too much water

Asked June 23, 2020, 7:49 PM EDT

I’m new to canning and thought I was suppose to cover the jars. So I covered my jars with water. I waited for the vent to vent for ten minutes and processed at the correct pounds and time. Is my food ok even though Th ere was too much water?

Orange County Florida

1 Response

Thanks for contacting us!
So there are two different ways to can: Water bath canning (for high acid foods) and pressure canning (for low acid foods). You didn't mention the product you were canning, but since you were using a pressure canner, I am assuming it is a low-acid food.


So, the reason why we have to pressure can is because we need to create a purely steam environment. When water reaches 213 degrees F. it turns to steam, so in a boiling water bath canner, the highest temperature we can reach is 212 degrees F. This is ok for a high acid environment, but not for low acid because of the risk of clostridium botulinum. It is found naturally in the soil. It is difficult to kill, so we need to ensure that the coldest spot in the jar reaches 240 degrees F. (for a specified time in order to kill it). The only way we can create this is with a steam environment under pressure. In a pressure canner, you only want about 1-2 inches of water in the bottom. You did the correct thing by venting and processing.

If you processed them within 24 hours, you can reprocess them. You will need to remove the lid (it can only be used once for processing) and re-check for nicks, re-wipe the rim and apply NEW lid (follow directions on package for heating). Place band and "lady" tighten. Reprocess using the same processing time. You might want to note on the label (after they have been naturally cooled and wiped off) that they have been re-processed so you can use them first. Depending on what you are canning, realize that the texture will be affected and it will have lower nutritional value. That being said, if it would cause an unpleasant texture to re-process, you can always put them in the refrigerator and use them immediately or freeze them for future use.

Hope this helps! There is a great resource from the University of Georgia called "So Easy To Preserve" which has research-based recipes. A current issue of the Ball Blue book is also another good place for information or check the website from USDA https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html
If you have additional questions, there is an Extension office in all 67 counties. The one in Orange County can be reached at 407-254-9200.

Happy Canning! Stay safe!
-Katherine