Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Reasons for Loss of Liquid in Pressure Canning

Reasons for Loss of Liquid in Pressure Canning or Siphoning

First, if you've lost liquid during the pressure canning process, you're certainly not alone, b
ut it's important to learn the reasons for liquid loss so it doesn't happen more often than you'd like.

The question you may ask is, is the food still safe? Probably, yes. If there are no signs of spoilage, the food will be safe to eat.  

Further Reading: Signs of Food Spoilage in Home Canned Food

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Common Reasons for Loss of Liquid
Also called Siphoning

1. Inappropriate Cool-Down.

Lowering the pressure in the canner suddenly, especially after the processing period, can cause loss of liquid.

You want the pressure in the canner and the jars to decrease slowly and equally. If you don't allow the canner to drop pressure to zero naturally, the pressure in the jars will cool slower and result in more pressure inside the jar than around the jar. The contents in the jar will swell and liquid is pushed out.

Solution: Allow the canner to drop pressure to zero naturally. Then remove the gauge and wait ten minutes before removing the canner lid. These steps assure that the pressure is dropped slowly and equally.

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2. Fluctuating pressure during processing.

For the same reason, it's necessary to maintain a constant temperature throughout the processing time. Changes to the heat should be done slowly to get to the desired pounds of pressure.
My favorite Canner!
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3 Air bubbles were not removed from the jars before processing.

An important step: Run a plastic knife, spatula or debubbler between the food and the jars to let all air bubbles escape before apply the lids.

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4. An imperfect seal of the lids.

Imperfect seals can let liquid escape from the jars during processing. There are several reasons why a seal may be "imperfect." Here are the top five:

Reusing Lids.

Most lids are one-time use. Reusing them is a recipe for disaster. Use new lids and pretreat the lids per the manufacturer's instructions.

Using Damaged Rings.

Over time rings can be dented, bent or rust. Inspect the rings and discard damaged or rusty ones.

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Not Wiping the Sealing Surface of the Jar.

If the sealing surface of the jar is not wiped clean before the lid is added, food or liquid particles that remain there can cause an imperfect seal. Some canners use water to wipe the rims with fine results; I use vinegar to clean the jar tops well.

Ring Bands Were Not Tight Enough

The recommended tightening is called "fingertip tight." This means that once the ring stops turning freely, it is tight enough. Do not overtighten.

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Starchy Food in the Jar Absorbed the Liquid.

Hot packing is recommended for starchy foods as they can absorb liquid. Raw packing food makes liquid loss more likely. For this reason, dried beans should be hydrated before canning.

Food packed into a jar raw is more likely to lose liquid as the raw food contains air that is driven from the jar during the heating/canning process. 

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Food was Packed Too Tightly in Jars

This can cause the liquid in the jar to boil over during processing. Appropriate headspace should be followed to avoid this.


So there are the most common reasons for loss of liquid or siphoning.

Canning and preserving food is one of the best ways to become more self sustaining.  It's fun and rewarding!


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