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Oct 13, 2012 06:47 PM

home canning tomato mistake need advice

I am very new to homecanning just started this past summer and have made a major mistake. I used the boiling water bath canner for canning tomatoes from the garden. i bought the ball blue book and a water bath canner with the rack. I grew tomatoes and decided I would can them. Anyways I first canned some of the tomatoes in water which called for a processing time of 40 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts fine no problems. Then i decided the next time to can them without water so the next batch was canned in there own juice. I did the process and didn't have any problems. Then i didn't can any tomatoes for awhile and at the end of seaon received some tomatoes from a friend who had to many. I processed them and went and looked at the recipe and discovered the last jars that I did I only processed them for 45 minutes which would be okay if they were in water they weren't I did raw pack in own juice which called for 85 minutes. I did everything i was suppossed to adding the proper amount of lemon juice etc. but i did that last batch at the wrong processing time and am now thinking I may have done all my cans of tomatoes at the wrong processing time. Are the home canned tomatoes still okay to eat, can I get botulism should i throw all 35 cans away? I don't know what to do? I need help from people with canning experience. On another site an experienced canner told me they are fine because the lemon juice was added and to boil them for ten minutes after opening but to check them look for mold and smell the contents of the jar as due to the wrong processing time they would go bad faster. Right or wrong anyone else made this same mistake? Need some advice please help. Thanks.

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  1. I don't quite follow: when you say you canned in water do you mean that you put your tomatoes into jars, sealed the jars, and put the whole shebang into a hot water bath? Which is how I've always canned them - the tomatoes are packed in their own juices (they separate into solid and liquid components after processing: that's normal). Or did you add water to the tomatoes when you canned them?

    How long ago did you do the last batch? If it's in the past day or two and you're worried you can open the jars and recan them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tardigrade

      The first batch i followed the ball blue book recipe for tomatoes in water they show pictures on the page. I boiled the quartered or halved tomatoes in water for five minutes then put the tomatoes and liquid in the jar put your lemon juice and salt in the jar seal it then place in hot water bath canner for 45 minutes. I did that with the first batch. After reading the ball blue book they had tomatoes in own juice where you skip the boiling of the tomatoes in boiling water for five minutes which is the way you describe it. That is the way I did the rest of the batches of tomatoes it says in the ball blue book if you do it as you describe you have to place them in a boiling water canner for 85 minutes i did it for only 45 minutes. I looked at the wrong recipe. I did them over a week ago other batches i did that I am having doubts about whether i did the right or wrong processing time were done two months ago. I am worried I don't want to get botulism because i did the wrong processing time 45 instead of 85 minutes. On another site i read that I could open the jar if it smells like it should and looks fine boil it for 10 minutes or more and it will be fine even though the processing time was incorrect. What do you think? Thanks.