Testing Jar Seals And Reprocessing Jars (Safe Home Canning)

by Merissa on July 22, 2013

in Canning and Preserving

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I think that this is the part that most people panic about when it comes to canning. Did my jars seal? Are they safe for my family to eat? How can I be sure?

The scary thing is that the worst problem that can come from canning (botulism) is unable to been seen or smelled. So what can we do about it?

First of all, and this is the biggest thing...make sure you following the canning directions to the T. Make sure that you boil or cook your canned foods for the correct amount of time and the correct amount of pressure (if you are pressure canning). Make sure that during the time of cooking that your canner stays up to the correct pressure (or keeps boiling if you are water bathing) for the entire time you are processing.

You also want to make sure that you talk to your local extension office and find out if you need to make time/temp/pressure adjustments for your altitude. If you aren't familiar with your local extension office you can locate one here: US Extension Offices. (By the way, if you didn't already know, your extension office is a plethora of information on all things local, outdoors, growing food, ect. Utilize them!)

Once you have the cooking part down you shouldn't have much to worry about. But do you know how to properly test a seal on a jar? Here are some things to look for...


The most common method for testing jars is the Finger Test Method. Simply press on the middle of the jar lid with your finger. If the lid "pops" up and down with your finger when you press, it's not sealed and needs to be reprocessed. If it doesn't move at all it's sealed.

Note: Don't test canned foods until they are completely cooled and you've given them several hours to seal! Doing so might create a false seal and unsafe food.


The next method you can try is the Spoon Test Method. Tap the lid with the bottom of a spoon. If it makes a dull sound the lid is not sealed. If it makes a pinging noise it is correctly sealed. Please note that if you did not leave headspace and food is touching the lid it will create a dull sound either way.


Of course you can also look at the lid at eye level. If the lid looks flat or bulging it's not sealed. If the lid is nice and concave it's properly sealed!

My jar didn't seal...now what?

If your jar didn't seal don't stress and get upset. It happens to the best of us! Even experienced canners that have been canning for decades have jars that don't seal on occasion. If you have an unsealed jar or two, here's what to do.

Remove the lid and rim. Check the rim of the jar for any nicks or cracks. If you have a nick, discard the jar (or use it for dry food storage!) and place your prepared foods in a new, clean jar. Place a new lid on the jar and secure it with a clean rim. (Do not reuse the lid you already processed the jar with.) Reprocess the jar using the same process that you already used. It's a good idea to leave some time in between your canning so if unsealed jars do happen you can just add them to another batch instead of having just a single jar to re-can.

If you don't want to re-process your un-sealed jar you can always stick the food in the fridge or eat it for supper. Or you can just freeze the contents for future use.

How long have you been canning? Do you make sure to follow safe home canning methods?


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{ 108 comments… read them below or add one }

1 RevAllyson July 22, 2013 at 2:06 pm

We’re really careful to follow safe canning procedures when we do anything. 🙂 New lids, clean rings, sterile jars, processing times checked, etc. I’ve never had a problem with bad food, although I’ve had plenty of seals fail for a variety of reasons. The exploding jar of spaghetti sauce was the worst, but at least it was contained in the pressure canner LOL…


2 Courtney October 4, 2015 at 7:17 pm

I’ve just had to throw out 14 pints of salsa and 5 quarts of spaghetti sauce due to the seals not working. They seemed to have sealed fine and after awhile we looked in the pantry and all the lids were exploding once we took the rings off they volcanoed out of the jars. Could I have got bad sealing rings. They come in boxes of 12 and I had 19 not seal and had 3 left over rings I didn’t use. I threw them out, but I’m very upset about all the wasted food and all the time I put into canning it all.


3 Colleen July 23, 2013 at 6:28 am

I have a large family to feed, so we can on a large basis. About 300-600 jars per year. Safe canning methods are a huge part of our season. Not only checking lids, rings, and jars, but also making sure the canner seals are good.


4 happy momma July 23, 2013 at 8:32 am

I have been canning for a while. I have only had a few problems. We did have some salsa that became unsealed after about 6 months. It was the strangest thing. I am not sure what happened but I had about 15 jars that all of a sudden decided that they did not want to be sealed anymore. It was very sad to throw them all out. But then I had jars ready to be filled up with something else.

When I open up a jar I always ensure that the seal is still intact and I usually listen closely when I open it up. If I am in doubt, I will throw it out. I am not afraid to “waste” food if I am not sure of its quality even when It makes me sad. I try hard to ensure that it is good food for the family.

I know some people have had real trouble with the reusable canning lids. It is hard to tell if they are sealed, you don’t get that concave look, nor the sounds. They seem to have about a 50% failure rate. Many times you will unseal them trying to see if they are sealed. They seem to be a pain to use. I would not recommend them. Just stick with the old tried and true canning lids is what I think.


5 Merissa July 23, 2013 at 8:33 am

I agree, regular canning lids seem much easier to use and now that they are taking the BPA out of them I’m more than happy to keep using them!


6 Sue in Oregon July 26, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Merrisa, I am a 70 year old wife, mother and grandmother. I find your blog so refreshing and encouraging and just want to say “ThankYou” for the courage and knowledge you are sharing with others. I have been canning for years and get some strange looks when talking about ‘putting food up’ and canning. My mother-in-law gave me my lessons when I moved to Oregon and I have thanked her each time I pop the seal on a jar for teaching me a craft that has provided food for my family during some pretty lean times.
I have learned to take advantage of fantastic meat sales to can and have on hand for several years. Abundance in fruit and vegetables gardens of friends brings out the water bath canners/pressure canners and on food is on the shelf for future use.
I encourage men and women to learn how to can. Go to a senior center and talk with canners. Check out Extension Services at your local college for canning classes and teaching brochures. Your advice to follow directions “EXACTLY” in the Ball Canning Bible is right on. YouTube is also a great visual lesson for new ideas. Again, just like me tell you that I think what you share with others is a great service and very interesting. As my grand daughter would say……You Go Girl!”


7 Merissa July 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Thanks for all the advice and encouragement Sue!


8 Rita September 15, 2016 at 1:02 pm

i always can tomatoes every year. I follow all the rules but every so often after about a week some of the lids pop and the smell is dreadful. I can’t figure out why this happens. this year I did 37 uart jars out of these 8 already went bad, hopefully these will be the only ones. what I dont understand is how come some go bad and some dont? I’ve had the same issue every year where some go bad and some dont If I wasn’t doing them right wouldn’t they all go bad? I would appreciate any advice


9 Kim September 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I pressure canned peaches. I had some difficulty with the canning process (all the ater boiled away)> the jars all sealed. as long as the jars are sealed is the food safe to eat?


10 Merissa September 21, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Did you boil the water for the correct amount of time? If not, even though they look sealed they may not be safe and you might want to stick them in the fridge and use them.


11 Carolyn in Michigan September 28, 2013 at 2:34 pm

I used to can a LOT. But haven’t now for quite a long time. I recently was given a bunch of extra produce and decided to “put up” some of it. If I have to reprocess any of it, do I need to empty, clean and refill the jars…or just switch out the lids and put them in the water bath? Thanks!


12 Merissa September 28, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I don’t empty the jars, I just remove the lid and rim, then clean off the rim of the jar, replace it with a new lid and then reprocess.


13 Beth February 25, 2014 at 4:38 am

Great topic. As a relatively new canner (2 seasons) safety is a major concern. We always follow the directions very carefully and attend carefully when opening the jars. I have two questions for all of you experienced canners out there that will ease my mind greatly.

1) We check for head space when canning, but often it changes after processing. Is this OK? If we had 1/2 inch head space to start and the food moves around or shrinks, is the food still safe?
2) When we open, I like to hear a loud “pop” to know that the seal was intact. But sometimes we perform the above tests with success, open the jar, hear the suction/seal sound, but not the “pop.” Is this food safe, or do we need that loud pop?

We tossed 3/4 of our tomatoes because I didn’t hear the pop, but they seemed OK and I felt sure I was doing the wrong thing by throwing them out.


14 Merissa February 25, 2014 at 7:13 am

I hope this helps…

1. Yes, food changes when it’s canned (especially foods like potatoes or beans that absorb the liquid) so some shrinking is ok.

2. I also listen for this, not necessarily for the pop but just that the jar lid was hard to open and doesn’t come easily off. This isn’t the best indicator though, as long as the jar passes the test in the article above before it’s opened it should be fine.


15 Elaine March 31, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Just a word on the tomatoes, my Grandma & Dad both have always tod me, “No one has ever died from eating bad canned tomatoes.” If you have a bad jar of tomatoes, you will know the second you open it. The smell will tell. I am in my 30’s and still don’t can alone-I have grownups =] that I team up with. I have learned a lot and can’t wait for this years garden to provide a colorful pantry.


16 Merissa April 1, 2014 at 6:15 am

I want to caution that this isn’t necessarily true. Botulism cannot be smelled from a jar so it’s hard to detect.


17 Mathieu February 26, 2014 at 11:47 pm

Hi Merissa,
The best test you can do to verify your lids are correctly sealed is by lifting the jars by the lid (you need to remove the ring to perform the test). If there is any issue with the seal, it won’t be able to lift the weight of the jar and it will unseal.
Obviously you need to wait for the jars to cool down to execute this. This apply to reusable lids as well 🙂


18 Linda Jett July 19, 2014 at 11:48 pm

I canned green beans and peas and squash and tomatoes. They all sealed except 1 jar. I cooked in a water bath – the quarts 45 minutes and the pints 30 minutes. A friend now tells me that these items cannot be done in a water bath and should have been done in a PC for that length of time – not a water bath. That she would not eat them…….What do you suggest??? Thanks so much…….


19 Merissa July 20, 2014 at 9:25 am

Yes, all of those foods should be processed in a pressure canner to be safely sealed. If you just did them you should be able to re-process them in a pressure canner.


20 Marsha July 30, 2014 at 8:51 am

We did ours In a pressure canner but mistakenly covered the jars with water but did them 25 minutes on 10lb pressure as chart indicated. One person told me I needed to reprocess them is this correct? will it ruin the green beans by reprocessing? I thought as long as the beans are boiled when cooking them later for at least 10 minutes or longer any toxins would be destroyed. Help!!


21 Merissa August 7, 2014 at 9:10 am

I’m really not sure on this one. I’ve never covered jars with water when pressure canning. I would call your local extension office and ask them wheat to do.


22 Patch September 26, 2014 at 2:02 am

BOILING for at least 10 minutes will break down botulinum toxins — be sure it’s actually boiling for those 10 minutes, not simmering, not just heating, but boiling.


23 Jay August 1, 2014 at 12:50 pm

As I lifted a jar of tomatoes out of the water to place on the counter to cool and “POP:. (seal). A very weak sounding, Pop was heard. The lid sunk in too. I am use to setting them down then hearing loud pops as they seal. Do you think that weak sounding pop was good enough?


24 Merissa August 1, 2014 at 4:06 pm

It might be ok but if you are worried that something hitting it might have caused the pop I would just stick it in the fridge and enjoy now.


25 Sharon K August 2, 2014 at 3:06 pm

I’m just teaching myself how to can. Yesterday for my second attempt, I made a batch of nectarine chutney, and then some oven roasted nectarine butter. A few questions re the latter. 1) I got the recipe for the nectarine butter off the net, from someone’s cooking blog, and had been listed on a larger canning blog. But, it occurs to me, how do you know if a recipe is an “approved and tested” recipe, and based on safe canning rules? 2) The recipe just called for roasting the fruit until soft, mashing, optionally adding sugar and spices to taste, then canning for 15 mins in a hot water bath. Should it also have had lemon juice to make it keep? 3) I realize now that I didn’t leave enough headroom. The butter rose to the bottoms of the lids, and there are small traces of fruit on the outside of rims of the jars. But, the lids don’t move, are concave, and tight. Are they really sealed?


26 Merissa August 3, 2014 at 6:35 pm

You can generally learn the latest about canning from your local extension office. I make various fruit butters all of the time and haven’t added any lemon juice to them, usually the fruit is acidic enough for the water bath. It sounds like the jars are probably sealed but since little room was left they may not stay sealed for long. In this case it would probably be best to enjoy them sooner rather than later.


27 mike August 8, 2014 at 11:50 am

I put up several quarts of meat spaghetti sauce I left 1″ of head space ,, processed at 11 psi for 70 minutes ,, each jar had boil over and I noted content down the side of the jar ,, I’m guessing that I need more head space?? Sauce was “hot packed”
Can I reprocess again right away ? I just heard 3 pops ,, I guess I’ll wait 24 hrs and see where they are ,, we’ll eat lots of pasta this week !!!


28 Merissa August 8, 2014 at 12:53 pm

I would take off the lids, take some out and reprocess right away. Without leaving enough headspace you run the risk of the jar not sealing right and you definitely don’t want the jars to go to waste or get bacteria in them. You should be fine to reprocess if you just did them.


29 mike August 9, 2014 at 7:30 am

Melissa ,Thank you so kindly for the fast reply!
Only 1 jar did not seal ,, I put that in the fridge,,, the others have good concave lids and have the sound as described above when tapped,,, as this is my first time pressure canning it’s more or less a test to see if I could do it,,, my question now is I exactly measured 1″ headspace,, and had 11 psi ,, why the boil over? For sauce that is precooked/hot packed is it necessary to process for 70 minutes?? I saw on another website (after the fact) that hot packed food only needs to be processed for 15 minutes at proper pressure because your not “cooking” product only “sterilizing” it and 15 minutes will do that


30 Megan August 10, 2014 at 9:03 pm

I am new to canning (first year) and a week ago I removed a jar of peppers out of my canner and I hit the top of the lid without thinking. Do you believe that this created a false seal or do you believe it is okay? I hate to throw away four jars of peppers but don’t want to make my family sick. Before I read your post I did not know that you could have a false seal. I just assumed that it would seal or it wouldn’t. Also, has to much time passed to reprocess the jars?


31 Merissa August 10, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Personally I wouldn’t eat them but if you feel they are safe then it’s really a judgement call. I wait no longer than 24 hours before re-processing anything.


32 Todd August 11, 2014 at 7:43 am

I was canning hot sauce and did a boil bath for 30 minutes. I let the jars completely cool down for several hours then I did the finger test. As I did the finger test some jars were not sealed but the lid did not pop back up creating a seal. All the jars seem sealed now as I did the finger test again the morning after. Could they be sealed properly now?


33 Merissa August 11, 2014 at 8:08 am

I personally wouldn’t trust a jar that could possibly have a false seal. If it’s been less than 24 hours you can re-seal.


34 Kristen August 13, 2014 at 8:36 pm

I made cherry jam with our tart cherries, first time canning ever and a few of the lids I messed with by pressing them instead of waiting on them to pop on their own. I don’t know which jars those are now, how do I know if they are properly sealed now? Does pushing on them too early cause them not to seal properly?


35 Michelle Smith August 15, 2014 at 12:08 pm

I made salsa a week ago while in water bath the water flowed over and put out the flame soon as we discovered it we lit the burner returned to boil and started our time again. Is it safe? Also same salsa had to much head space I was leaving town so I tossed it in the refrigerator can I reprocess it now a week later?


36 Pamela Urbanczyk August 23, 2014 at 12:20 pm

How many times can I ‘re process…my jars are leaking when I take them out of water bath.. bad seals??


37 Merissa August 23, 2014 at 3:44 pm

I wouldn’t re-process more than once. To make sure the jars don’t leak next time you will need to make sure they aren’t packed too full and have ample headspace, plus the lids will need to be very tight. After a second re-process if they don’t look right I would just stick them in the fridge and use.


38 Betty August 23, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Why do I not hear the same ping when I water bath as I do when I pressure can?
My water bathed jars sealed but I never hear them.
Is this normal?


39 Merissa August 23, 2014 at 3:45 pm

You may not hear them if they seal inside the pressure canner. Most of the time mine are sealed by the time I get them out.


40 Betty August 23, 2014 at 4:58 pm

These were peaches and I water bathed them. They looked sealed.But never heard a ping. They have not sit long enough for me to test the jars.


41 Sophie September 5, 2014 at 7:23 pm

I made a small amount of tomato jam and just intended to keep it in the refrigerator and eat it later that week. I filled some clean canning jars (because the recipe said glass jars or plastic containers could be used) with the jam, let it cool a bit, put the lid on, and put it in the refrigerator. At some point in the refrigerator, I suppose the lid sealed because it had an indention that popped up when I opened it. Is this safe to eat?


42 Merissa September 5, 2014 at 7:57 pm

How long has it been in the refrigerator? As long as it’s been in there since you placed it in the jar and it smells fin then it should be fine.


43 Sophie September 5, 2014 at 8:54 pm

It has only been in there for three days. Before I put the lid on the jar, it set for a little while to cool (I didn’t want the jar to break or anything) I had opened the jar earlier today and it smelled fine, but I was a little worried because my knowledge of food preservation is limited and I didn’t want to make myself sick. Thank you for responding


44 Merissa September 5, 2014 at 8:55 pm

Oh you should be just fine. 🙂 Enjoy your homemade goodies!


45 Jenna September 9, 2014 at 9:18 am

I was checking the seals on my jelly after they sat overnight. A few of the lids popped down when I checked them which I understand creates a false seal. But when I lift the jars by the lid they are holding strong, so now I am confused. Will a false seal hold strong like a good seal? I was getting ready to reprocess but don’t want to take the time if I don’t need to.


46 Merissa September 9, 2014 at 9:52 am

Yes, even a false seal can create a hold. It’s better just to be sure that they are sealed properly. I would either re-process or place in the fridge and enjoy.


47 cindy September 16, 2014 at 9:27 am

I canned salsa did not leave in water long enough, cans all sealed should I redo in hot bath even though they are sealed


48 Joanne September 22, 2014 at 8:23 am

I heard a pop noise when I was in my kitchen, so I checked the jars of salsa that I had canned a week ago and there was a jar that unsealed. I put it in the refrigerator right away, but I am still concerned as to whether it is edible or should I just throw it out?


49 Merissa September 22, 2014 at 11:36 am

I would toss it, sounds like it somehow made a false seal.


50 sonya October 16, 2015 at 9:20 pm

I had the same thing happen and I am wondering if just dumping it in a saucepan and boiling it for 10 min would kill any possible spores if there had been a false seal since that’s what you are supposed to do with green beans anyway just to be on the safe side. Also, even if it was a false seal, if it was good and tight and sealed enough that the lid was tight until the moment it popped, wouldn’t that have kept anything from contaminating it?


51 Rachel September 25, 2014 at 6:34 pm

I’ve only been canning for a few seasons and don’t feel very experienced, so I’d love some advice! I just canned apple pie filling this afternoon and thought I’d left enough headroom, but now I’m noticing that in several jars the apples are touching the lid inside. The jars seem to have sealed but sound dull when I tap on them. Do you think they’re ok or do I need to scoop out some apples and reprocess? Thanks!! 🙂


52 Merissa September 25, 2014 at 7:57 pm

As long as they are sealed you should be alright, I might just eat them first before others though.


53 Susan September 29, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Pressure canned 13 jars of salmon today for the first time. 100 minutes. Pressure 12lbs. It did seem like 12 jars had already sealed before I took them out of the canner, they all had a concaved lid. 1 still had the raised lid. I thought as they cooled I would hear a popping. They have been out almost 4 hours now and nothing. Can I assume they did seal in the canner? Or should I wait till completely cool and try pressing or the spoon test?


54 Merissa September 29, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Wait until they have all completely cooled before testing.


55 Kim Elkie October 5, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Possible crisis! I am new to canning, doing it alone for the first time this gardening season. Last weekend I was pressure canning spaghetti sauce. It was late in the evening so I was jotting down on a paper what time the next phase needed to start. I just realized I only pressured my quarts of sauce for 10 minutes! I called my mom this morning and she suggested emptying the jars into freezer bags and freezing it all ASAP. It has been exactly a week … is it still good?! The jars were all sealed. It smelled okay I think but I am so upset I am sure I’m looking for a problem/foul smell. So much work into these jars of sauce … I’m devastated at this potential problem. Do you think they are okay? I have already vacuum sealed them into bags and into the freezer. Thank you for your input.


56 EmilyH October 9, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Hello! I am fairly new to canning as well (1 season; mother and grandmother are seasoned ‘vets’ at it, though!), and had a question regarding my Apple Butter. I used half-pints, and processed 25 jars in total. The first time, only 10 did a successful ‘pop’ while 5 gave a false seal. The remaining did not even attempt to seal. I changed all of the lids to the 15 in question, cleaned the jars and all again, re-processed them within the 24 hour limit, and only 3 out of the 15 sealed. The rest did not. They didn’t even attempt to seal.. I can’t seem to find any imperfections, and left enough head space. My husband and I finally put the remaining jars in the fridge overnight, and now they are all sealed. Should I still freeze them? Or would they be considered correctly sealed? I think I may know the answer… But not positive! Thank you!


57 Jaya November 6, 2014 at 4:50 pm

How do you know if you have a false seal? I jarred my first batch of spaghetti sauce recently and I went to take one out today, and I was told that you can check your seals by picking the jars up a couple of inches by the lid only (without the ring) and if they open then you know your seal is broken. I did that the day after, however, I just went to open one and did the check again after taking the ring off and it opened right away. I didn’t hear a sound at all when opening it. I think that one’s off…

I then opened another jar, and as soon as I turned the ring I heard a loud popping sound, that one barely smells like anything, as opposed to the first jar that smells strongly of spaghetti sauce (not off- just strong). Anyways! Now I’m rather paranoid…. I put the second jar in the fridge and think it’s fine – I am just wondering if it’s normal for a seal to break when you only take the ring off… Any help would be appreciated! Thanks<3


58 Lorrie Jean November 9, 2014 at 9:50 am

The spoon theory must be backwards. I just canned 14 quarts of stew. 10 of them make the dull sound, 4 ‘ping’. by pushing on the lids, I could see that the 4 that ping were not sealed. I tested my jars by actually opeing one that was dull and one that pinged. the one that pinged was not sealed.

Wouldn’t it make sense that if the jar is ‘properly’ sealed that the sound would be ‘dull’, there would be no air left in the jar to allow for the noise to reveberate back as a ping.



59 Kayla November 13, 2014 at 9:17 am

So, here is my problem… I canned jalapenos two weeks ago for the first time. I am new to canning, and being that my husband goes through so many jars of jalapenos I thought I should start canning them too. They all sealed, and after a few days I placed them into a small jelly cabinet with my other canned foods. I opened the cabinet today to put some newly processed jars in and when I opened the cabinet I could smell peppers. I picked up one of the jars and took of the ring and smelled the rim of it. Although it is a perfect seal, it seems that the “heat” of the peppers is escaping and it’s quite noticable. Has anyone else had an issue like this? Are these okay to keep, or should they be tossed?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!


60 Maureen Lynn Widmer November 26, 2014 at 7:08 pm

I came across this post from Pinterest. I always read comments, because so often there is additional information that wasn’t originally included.
I am a self-taught canner — both water-bath and pressure-canning. Something that I think is highly overlooked in processing instructions is how important it is to make sure that the rim of the jars are clean, clean, clean! This, I believe, is the biggest contributor to failed (or false) seals. (Of course, NEVER re-use lids. Ever. EVER.)
As a rule, I use a paper towel moistened with white vinegar (instead of water) to wipe the rims before applying the seals and rings. It is a rare thing that I don’t have sealed jars — vinegar cuts through oil, grease, fats and removes residue like nobody’s business!
I also want to stress – especially with pressure canning (meats, low-acid vegetables, etc.) — that it can take quite a long time for those jars to ‘ping’ as they are so hot when removed from the canner. The vacuum is created as the jar adjusts from the hot contents to the cooler surrounding air. Any that are not sealed within 12 hours probably need to go into the fridge for immediate use, or reprocessed. Canning is ‘easy’, if you have a mentor. It can be really scary if you’re continually unsure of the safety of the food you put up. But don’t let that deter you. Find resources, seek advice, and learn this old time method that allows you to feed your family for a season, or for years. Really enjoyed your post, thank you!


61 Ted June 15, 2015 at 9:01 am

This was very helpful. I may not be as careful as I need to be with cleaning the glass rim. The suggestion of using vinegar is great!

This weekend I canned 40 quarts of tomatoes, and six of them failed to seal, and am now reprocessing with new lids.

I am a neophyte, but love canning, but it is a lot of work!


62 F. D. July 14, 2015 at 4:51 pm

I canned cabbage in qt jars with salt, vinegar & sugar, 1tsp of each. I used hot jars & lids, did not process in boiling bath but jars sealed. Three dys later 5 out of 6 lost their seal. What can I do? This is supposed to be sauerkraut…my 1st try!
Please email with answer. Thank you!


63 Merissa July 14, 2015 at 7:23 pm

It’s hard to say what happened. The jars could have not had a strong seal to begin with or gotten bumped while they were sealing. In any case, unless you’ve kept them in the fridge they would no longer be safe to eat. Hopefully you have better luck next time!


64 Janet abbott July 26, 2015 at 5:00 pm

By reprocessing do you mean cook jelly again or just change jars and boil in covered water.


65 Merissa July 26, 2015 at 7:49 pm

Change jars and get new lids and boil in a hot water bath again.


66 Sandy August 5, 2015 at 6:48 am

I cooked some tomatoes and put them in a half gallon canning jar just to hold them. When I put a canning top on the jar it sealed by itself. Is it safe to keep out of refridgeration?


67 Merissa August 5, 2015 at 7:04 am

No it’s not, tomatoes need to be water bath processed (with added acidity). Best to enjoy this jar now.


68 Diane August 11, 2015 at 5:55 am

Yesterday, I canned/pickled banana peppers – following all of the instructions. One of my jars didn’t “pop”. Instead of putting this jar in the pantry for later use, can the pepper jar be put into the fridge for “now” use? If they can be eaten now, how long can they be in the fridge before we toss them?


69 Merissa August 11, 2015 at 6:36 am

Yes they can be kept in the fridge and eaten. As long as you keep a lid on them they will easily last a week or two.


70 Diane August 11, 2015 at 7:02 am

Thanks. My son was messing with the lid when I told him the top didn’t pop. Does that make any difference with the safety issue?


71 Diane August 11, 2015 at 7:03 am

Also, I did the canning yesterday afternoon and the jars have sat on the counter since then. I will be putting the jar into the fridge when I get home from work. Again, any safety issue?


72 Merissa August 12, 2015 at 9:40 pm

I guess that would be a judgement call. Personally I don’t keep anything that was left on the counter longer than overnight.

73 Nikki September 6, 2015 at 9:26 am

I just canned tomato sauce for the first time yesterday. When I do the spoon test a couple cans have dull sounds, however they appear properly sealed and the lids are concave. If I didn’t leave quite enough headspace are they ok or should I re-can? Thanks!!


74 Merissa September 7, 2015 at 7:57 am

How long has it been since you canned them? If it’s been within a few hours or if you placed the jars in the fridge you could re-process them.


75 Pam C September 22, 2015 at 9:46 am

I am having problems getting my jars to seal. By the tests, the seals were adequate, but when I pulled on them, they came off the jars. I did pull pretty hard. When I have a correct seal I have to use a can opener to get them to release.
I used old, unused seals. I had them in simmering water until I put them on the jars. (I processed twice in water bath and once in pressure canner with different lids each time. )I am so disappointed because I bought them thinking I was getting a great deal. 🙁 How long do the lids last?


76 Merissa September 22, 2015 at 8:15 pm

I’m not sure exactly how long they last but the seals do get old and hard over time and won’t seal properly.


77 Cindy October 15, 2015 at 2:15 pm

I made Apple Pie Filling on Tuesday they all seemed to seal fine. Now today which is Thrusday I heard 2 of them unseal. What I am wondering is if I should throw out or freeze the filling? Thanks


78 Merissa October 15, 2015 at 2:56 pm

If they were stored at room temperature I would toss them and try again.


79 Kelly January 6, 2016 at 11:43 am

I’m canning for the very first time. Apple butter, which I finished late last night and stored over night in a sealed container in the refrigerator. This morning, I tossed the apple butter in a crockpot on high while I sanitized everything and got water to boiling. When I put it in the jars, it was “uncomfortable hot” when it dropped on my fingers (as opposed to last night’s “potential burn center visit hot”), other than just wiping the rims (totally trying the vinegar wipe on my next attempt), I cannot figure out why none of my jars sealed. How hot does the apple butter need to be to reprocess? Any ideas other than sticky residue about what I did to epic fail here? Thanks for all the great info!


80 Linda March 5, 2016 at 4:05 am

I’ve just canned my first ever thing!! Green tomato salsa 🙂 all my jars sealed I think, but I have some small bubbles in the mix. Should mixes be free from any bubbles? I thought I removed them all!


81 Merissa March 6, 2016 at 7:30 am

It good to try and remove the larger bubbles before canning (I use a thin spatula) but you won’t be able to remove all of them so some are ok as long as the jar is properly sealed.


82 Tina Potter May 14, 2016 at 3:05 pm

I have been canning for many years and I noticed an unsealed jar of apples while making an apple pie. I started looking at the other jars of canned apples and 19 of them had unsealed. I canned these a year ago. What happened?


83 Sarah May 24, 2016 at 9:20 pm

it looks as though some jam in my jars bubbled up during processing and is touching the lid. Is this a problem if all other checks are okay? Also there are little bubbles in the strawberries.


84 Kathy Johnson May 30, 2016 at 11:01 pm

Another question about my canned cabbage kraut, if I may? When I reprocessed because of the slightly buckled lids, I lost a good bit of liquid. It may have boiled in the jar, during the 20 minutes. Do you think it would be safe to store? I’m thinking of putting all five jars in the refrigerator, but I don’t know how long that would keep it useable either? Thanks for your kind help.


85 Christina July 15, 2016 at 9:20 pm

I canned green beans tonight. My pressure cooker only got up to about 4 lb.s of pressure on hight heat and after 20 minutes. I finally just removed it from the heat, took the weight off and took the jars out. They all sealed, but the fact they didn’t get up to the correct pressure scares me. Do I need to open them all and use another seal and lid and try to recant them again? And will the taste of the beans be different and mushy due to over cooking?


86 Merissa July 17, 2016 at 8:16 am

Yes, the beans may get mushy with re-canning them. I would stick this batch in the fridge to enjoy now. You may want to have your pressure gauge checked on your canner. You should be able to find someone that could do that by calling your local extension office.


87 Eva August 17, 2016 at 7:59 am

I made homemade dill pickles last night for the first time ever. I used my nana’s tried and true recipe… 4 cups vinegar, 2 cups water, pickling salt, fresh dill, and alum. Per her instructions, I boiled the jars and lods, set them on a clean towel to dry, prepared the brine, put dill, alum and cucumbers in each jar and covered with hot brine to about 1/2 in from the rim of the jars. I placed the lids on, she said to hand tighten but not too tigh, set out overnight and fully tighten in the morning. Set out for two weeks before eating. I’ve read all these comments about listeria and botchulism and now I’m paranoid…. should I put these in the fridge right away? Or leave them out as she instructed? Or should I give them a water bath even though it’s been about 11 hours since they were closed up? How long will it take for the lids to properly seal? Thanks for your help.


88 Janel August 17, 2016 at 7:26 pm

I have a couple questions..
1- When canning tomato juice, do you pressure cook them or hot water bath?
2- If the jars seal before you pressure cook or hot water bath, are they good to go or do you still have to go through the process?
Thanks for all the great information for beginners like me!!


89 Ann August 21, 2016 at 2:34 pm

I canned peaches and they all sealed. However, in a couple of the quarts the fruit is not suctioned up to the top of the quart. Does this mean that they are not sealed properly? Thank you.


90 Melanie August 28, 2016 at 6:49 am

I made homemade tomato/spaghetti sauce yesterday (3 hour simmer). The cans sealed on their own without processing. Does this mean I can store them as I would other canned goods (not in frig or freezer, but in a dark, cool room)? I didn’t intend on having them seal, but now that they have, I’m just wondering. Thanks in advance!


91 Anj September 1, 2016 at 1:41 am

I am a rookie canner…and it showed tonight! When I began earlier tonight, I thought I would just make fresh salsa but somehow along the way, I decided to try to switch to make it a preserved batch by adding more acid and giving each jar a water bath for 15 mins. I did not read until after I was done that the acidic to non-acidic ratio in canned salsa recipes needs to be very precise. Also, my well-meaning hubby did premature finger tests (as soon as they were put on the towel to start cooling) on a number of different jar lids. Basically, it was a bit of a train wreck…but wow, did the salsa ever taste amazing!
Based on what I’ve read – due to the fact that I did not follow a canning salsa recipe – I should refrigerate it as soon as it is cooled…correct?? If so, how long will the refrigerated salsa be safe to consume?
Thanks kindly for your time and help!


92 Curt September 4, 2016 at 7:51 pm

Hi, I’m a rookie at this but I,ve been around it most my life. Just in the last couple weeks I’ve decided to try pickling okra. My first batch seems to have turned out great, [water bathing] but this second batch maybe not so. I don’t believe I got a good seal. Can I add this batch to my next batch, probably in a few days and try again with new lids?


93 Chris Baete September 4, 2016 at 8:51 pm

Canned salsa started popping seals after 2 weeks and when I opened them they fizzed like a shook up pop, one actually blew up in my face. I resealed all of them again but are they still safe?


94 Sher September 18, 2016 at 9:15 am

New to pressure canning. Did meatless spaghetti sauce per usda recipe. Made only 4 pints! When I opened canner, some sauce had dis colored rack and water, and was on outside of jars and around/ under lids. But all appear sealed, and no jar looks to have lost a lot of sauce.

This was 8 hrs ago.
Should I reprocess?
If so, do I have to reheat sauce and start from scratch to have jars hot to put in pressure canner?

Never hat this issue on years of water bath canning.



95 carol September 24, 2016 at 7:00 pm

I just finished canning tomatoes, all the seals popped. My concern is that initially,the water bath was boiling over onto my stove, so I lowered the flame, after 45 minutes when I took the lid off, the water was no longer boiling, but there was steam. Do you think the tomatoes are safe to consume? Thank you for any input.


96 Merissa September 26, 2016 at 7:32 am

If it hasn’t been long since you processed them or you put them in the fridge you should be able to re-process. They do need to be at a boil through the processing.


97 Jackie September 27, 2016 at 2:52 pm

I have a question, I made jelly last night and just used elderberry juice, sugar, pectin, and lemon juice according to the instructions. We just followed the directions and then poured the hot jelly into the jars, and then put on the caps. They all sealed because of the heat, but I didn’t do any kind of water bath or anything like that. Are they still okay to keep out, or should we freeze them? What happens if you don’t do the water bath thing?


98 Merissa September 28, 2016 at 7:22 am

They still need to go through the water bath process. I would go ahead and freeze them at this point.


99 Dian October 6, 2016 at 11:22 am

I canned vegetable soup 2days ago. I opened some last night and the potatoes and pinto beans not totally cooked. Will it still be safe to eat if T boil it for 15 min. before I serve it, or did I ruin 17 quarts of soup? I double stacked them in my pressure canner. I had taken my lid with dial to the extension office to have it checked. It was ok at 11psi.


100 Merissa October 9, 2016 at 8:04 pm

Hmmm, that does seem odd. If they were canned for the correct amount of time at the correct pressure I’m not sure why they wouldn’t be cooked. What size were your jars and how long were they canned at the correct pressure?


101 Dian October 6, 2016 at 11:29 am

All of my vegetables were not done (potatoes and pinto beans). Is it safe to eat, all of the lids had a tight seal. Can I reprocess them or have I ruined it?


102 Dian October 6, 2016 at 11:52 am

HELP! I can’t even remember my email addresses!!! I don’t know why I am trying to can.


103 Molly October 29, 2016 at 3:48 am

I just canned some tomato soup this week. One jar did not seal and I just put it in the fridge to eat right away. I used pint jars, some with the smaller lids and some with the larger ones. The smaller lids seem easy to tell if they are sealed because the top in caved in, but the larger ones don’t seem to have that indent. When I press on them they don’t pop up and down so it seems like they are sealed. Are the larger lids just different. Any help is appreciated. Thank you


104 Abby January 3, 2017 at 6:49 pm

Merissa, I am not a canner, so I am turning to you for your expertise. For many years my now 81 year-old sister has canned peaches and given them to family at Christmas time. They became her signature and she was proud of them. No longer able to travel, for the last few years she has sent them to me to distribute, and I have my doubts about the safety of eating her peaches. A few years ago she said she had forgotten how to prepare them and asked me to find recipes, which I did online. Some years the peaches have been as black as tar, usually they are very watery, but there was always a seal. Last year my husband found mold in a jar which we had half eaten. This year she sent three jars and only one is sealed. I saw that you have given advice to people who discover soon after canning that a seal was broken that they should refrigerate the can and eat it soon or freeze it. So my question is, is it safe to eat my sister’s peach jam? She probably made it around December 20ish, she tried to ship it on December 23 and was told it would go out on Wednesday, December 28. I just received it on Tuesday, January 3, so it was in shipping for 11 days. Thanks for your advice and apologies for the long question.


105 Merissa January 5, 2017 at 6:44 am

If it’s discolored or smells offensive in any way, I definitely wouldn’t eat it. Honestly, I wouldn’t eat it if you have any questions about it at all. Generally high acid foods will carry some kind of sign that they are not safe (smell) but sometimes it can be hard to tell.


106 Abby January 5, 2017 at 8:28 pm

Thanks, I guess it’s obvious I won’t eat the peaches, alas.


107 Ewa March 19, 2017 at 5:45 am

I have done red onion chutney in January. I just opened one of the jars now. It doesn’t taste well. I didn’t cook the onion enough and chutney is very dry. Is there any way to fix it? Can I open the jars, cook the onions again and put to the jars second time?


108 Merissa March 19, 2017 at 7:25 am

Any re-doing of home canned products should be done in the first 24 hours after canning.


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