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Sep 19, 2011 12:22 PM

Canning Jars leak when canning applesauce

I have canned applesauce in the past and had absolutely no problems. Some of them not being opened and eaten for four years, and they were all fine and tasty, not having discolored at all. So, it was surprising this year that all of a sudden in a few successive batches of canned applesauce, there is bubbling and leaking.

That's never happened before, and I have been canning for several years. I recanned them with new lids and bands and it happened again. I tried it a third time leaving a little more head space, and only processing them in the boiling water for 15 minutes. They leaked less, and I didn't redo them again, but it is unsettling even though they have created what appears to be a perfect seal. Maybe I should leave like an inch or two of headspace or can them for only five or ten minutes or...? But then the voice in the back of my head will whisper worries of botulism or storage problems.

The recommended headspace for applesauce is 1/2 inch. I have followed that closely and erred on the side of leaving a little more than 1/2 inch of headspace. I don't have any trouble with canning my tomatoes this year, so I'm baffled. I've never seen it bubble up and out like that. I want to can a whole ton of applesauce this year as there is such an abundance of apples.

I have also tried leaving them in the canner for a few minutes after turning off the heat, and that may have helped a little, but... I can't seem to just have them can like they should. It's almost like they are over packed or under an extended amount of pressure or heating time, but that doesn't seem to be the case according to Ball and whatever I can find on the internet. It's worked in the past, but somehow it's different now.

Any ideas...? Many thanks for any assistance.


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  1. I wondered if you had gotten an answer to your question yet? I had this same problem today, but it is my 1st time canning applesauce. I did a BW bath the 1st time, and they all leaked, but sealed anyway. I reprocessed the whole batch, this time in a pressure canner, and had the same problem. The sauce is literally boiling right out of the jar, and they all have about 1" headspace. The only one that didn't leak has about 3" headspace since it wasn't full.

    1 Reply
    1. re: trioadastra

      No, I was surprised that no one answered. I think that my problem was adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to the jars before canning. I'm so used to doing that as an acidic preservation tool for canning tomato products, that I did it with applesauce to this year. When I stopped doing that, the jars came out fine. I did probably leave an inch to two inches head space and only boiled them for 15 minutes though as well, all different from the standard instructions. The seal was good though, and remains so. Oh, and I also let them sit in the water for a while after turning off the heat, that may have helped. You kind of have to try a bunch of different things until one works. Maybe your sauce wasn't hot enough prior to canning or wasn't cooked down enough.

      As I said, I believe the lemon was my problem. So I don't know if that helps at all. Since yours sealed well, they should be fine anyway as long as you clean up the jar and top before storing away. Just keep an eye on the top and coloring of the contents, and use your best judgment.

    2. I came upon this post when dealing with the same problem, and decided to leave the jars submerged a few extra minutes in the canner after their boiling water bath. About 5 minutes later I heard 3 of them successively "pop" to seal underwater, so I supposed it was all right to pull them out. Very shortly all the rest chimed in with clean little "clicks" of the lids.. no seeping! So, anecdotally, I surmise that the jars need a little more time in the canner after processing to settle down, as they were just too hot. I am so much more confident to do the next round! I hope this is helpful.

      1. As an experienced canner, I always leave my jars in the bath for a few minutes after i turn off the burner. I would not suggest digressing from the recipe, like reducing lemon juice, etc That can lead to contamination. Extra headspace and cooling time seem like the correct course of action.