Pickling question: lost headspace?
I made some Italian pickled peppers over the weekend and I'm concerned about the lack of head space once the jars were canned.
I followed all the recipe directions, using wide mouth Ball jars. I couldn't pack the peppers too tightly without risk of them breaking, and I left the required headspace.
Once I canned them, the peppers cooked down a bit and now instead of being tightly packed they're floating, with about 1.5 inches of float off the bottom, with the peppers peaking up above the liquid on the top.
The peppers contain garlic, so I'm particularly concerned about whether this is really a shelf-stable pickle at this point.
For this batch, do I need to open the cans, combine the peppers and turn these into refrigerator pickles?
For the next batch, what should I do differently?
Thank you for your wisdom!
I actually am an expert (I work for Extension, and we HAVE the answers to canning questions!)
No worries about keeping--they are perfectly safe, as long as you followed the recipe. The ones sticking out of the brine may discolor a little.
Try shaking the jar around gently, or turning it upside down a couple times--that may allow any air bubbles to come to the top. Don't do this until 24 hours after processing to make sure everything is cool and sealed properly.
Next time--if you used whole peppers this time, you might try cutting them in half to make sure you don't have any air trapped.
That's great, thank you! I will definitely halve them next time so I can get a tighter fit, the jars don't look as pretty this way. At least all the garlic and other seasonings are down below the "float area" before the peppers start. I bet you're right, there's air trapped inside those whole peppers.
Thankfully the next batch (cauliflower) won't have much room for air bubbles.
I appreciate you taking the time to reply.