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Sep 4, 2009 09:21 AM

Expert Canning Advice Needed re: My first batch of Tomatoes

Hi, I canned my first tomatoes yesterday. I followed up-to-date info that I received from a canning class that I took in the spring. I'm confident that I followed all the steps correctly. My question is - is it usual for some of the tomato juice to get into the canning water when processing? The water was pale yellow when I took the jars out, and I could smell tomato juice.
Also, my jars and lids have a powdery residue on them, it looks like dried salt-water, but there was no added salt, just citric acid. I also wanted to mention that the rack I used is cast aluminum. It's not a canning rack, just a round rack that fits in the big pot. Any thoughts and advice are greatly appreciated, as I want to be sure the tomatoes are safe to keep.

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  1. If your lids sealed your maters are almost certainly safe. Sometimes you get a little leakage. This can be caused from not screwing the band on tight enough when you put the lid on. Make sure you leave enough headspace for your recipe. You also need to make sure that you are filling your jars with hot liquid and getting the air out but at the same time you can not over pack a jar.
    The white is likely oxidation from the aluminum. I use an aluminum canner and get it every time. Just wash your jars after they cool.
    Nothing unusual. ;)

    1. Yup, it's normal to have some of the tomato juice in the water -- besides what Fritter said, you might also have had tomato juice on the outside of the jars, etc. No biggie.

      Were you water-bath canning or pressure canning?

      1. I had a similar problem with some zucchini pickles. My guess is that I didn't leave enough headspace in the jars. According to the National Center for Food Preservation "If too little headspace is allowed the food may expand and bubble out when air is being forced out from under the lid 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." But my jars have "clicked" and appear to be sealed, so I think it's okay.

        1. The residue on your lids could possibly be coming from the minerals in your water. If you have a water softener that uses salt it could well be salt residue. I use to have that at my old house where we had a water softener. In this house I get a bit of a residue even though we don't have a softener and I'm sure it's traces of some mineral in our well water. Nothing to worry about.