Are my canned peaches sealed correctly?
I’m new to home canning. I cold packed my peaches in a jar, then added the hot liquid, released the air bubbles, refilled need hot liquid leaving head space. Then wiped the jar top, placed the hot disk on the jar and finger tip tightened the ring. I then water-bathed with about 1 inch of boiling water covering the tops of the jars, for 30 minutes. But when I took them out of the canner, lots of the fluid was missing, dropped to shoulder level of jars or slightly below. Some of the peach is exposed without being covered in liquid. But all the lids seemed to have sealed all flat and won’t pop when depressed. I picked the jars up by the seals and none of them came loose, but they all seem to have a different ‘ Ping” sound when I tap them on top with a spoon . Are they safe to eat?
Washington County Maryland
Hi and thank you for your question.
Not being able to see your whole process, these are some items that come to mind, that could have been why your jars lost liquid. If the jars meet the headspace, altitude, jar size, type (raw pack) and processing time they should be safe to eat. Below are some of my thoughts as to what could have lead to the liquid loss.
1. Peaches require 1/2 inch of head space. Too little might have forced liquid from the jars to escape during processing.
2. Altitude does effect the amount of time needed to process your jars. Not knowing your altitude and guessing quart jars were used, 30 minutes of processing at an altitude of 0'-1000', for raw packed quart jars is correct.
3. Assuming you tested the vacuum seal 12-24 hours after the jars were allowed to cool, Loss of liquid does not cause food to spoil, though the food above the liquid may darken. I would keep an eye on the jars over time, if they are being stored as a shelf stable can. The vacuum seal could weaken overtime.
If your jars lost half of the liquid after processing, that would be considered excessive, and I would recommend refrigerating the jars and use within 2-3 days.
4. You may want to try to hot pack your peaches the next time you water bath can them. Your raw pack peaches might have expanded during processing and pushed out more liquid than expected.
National Center for Home Food Preservation: https://nchfp.uga.edu/
USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, Guide #1 and 2: https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html
Upcoming webinars and hands-on workshops in Maryland, visit: https://extension.umd.edu/foodpreservation