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Food Alternatives 

Home Canning – Getting a Tight Seal

Food canning is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, as more people are taking an interest in being more connected to their food. Knowing how to can food is a very
resourceful skill, and it can be a lot of fun too. However, food Safety is an important issue. Getting a tight seal on your jars is essential in making sure that your canned food will be safe to eat when you unseal your jars. Below are a few tips to ensure that you get a good seal every time.

Make Sure Your Contents Reach the Proper Temperature

The vacuum seal that occurs during the canning process happens primarily because of steam. When the contents of jar are heated, the steam inside takes up all of the available room in the jar. But when the jar is removed for the heat source, and begins to cool down, the steam reverts back to water which takes up a lot less space and a vacuum is created. But if your contents do not get hot enough, there may not be enough steam to create a good seal.

Fill Contents to the Line on the Inside of the Jar

On the inside of canning jars, there is a fill line. This line isn’t just a suggestion. Filling your jars to the line creates the right about of head space in the jar for the
vacuum sealing process to be successful. You don’t want to go over the line or under the line. You want to be right at the line. Use a spoon or other utensil to push your contents down inside the jar to remove air bubbles. If you don’t, when your contents settle in the jar they could be too far below the fill line.

Make Sure Your Sealing Surfaces are Clean

As you fill up your jars, you might spill some of the contents on the rim. Even if you don’t see anything on the rims of your jars, wipe them off anyway with a moist towel. Using a dry towel could leave behind fibers. You should also make sure that your lids are clean as well. If there is any food or residue on either of the sealing surfaces, your jars may not seal property.

Do Not Reuse Lids

Unless you purchase lids that are specifically made to be reused, you cannot reuse a lid for canning. It may not look like it to your naked eye but the sealing surface is usually compromised after being sealed. Even if a lid didn’t seal properly when you used the first time, you cannot reuse that lid. Although you cannot reuse the lid for canning purposes, they can still be used as jar covers, or in craft projects, so there is no need to toss them out. Unless obviously damaged, the rings can be used again.

Do Not Use Jars with Chips on the Rims

You may have to retire your lids from the canning business after just one use but you can use your glass jars over and over again. However, after some time, it is possible that some of your jars may get nicked along the rim. Inspect your jars carefully and if you spot damage to the rim, those jars will have to be retired too. Even the tiniest nicks can prevent the lid from adhering to the jar tightly.

Even when it seems as if you did everything right, your jars may not seal. To test your seal, push on the top of the lid with your finger. If the lid doesn’t give, you have a good seal. If you can push the middle of the lid in like a button, your seal did not take. It is important to note that not all of your jars may seal at the same time, especially if you are canning jars of different sizes If you have a can that doesn’t seal when the other jars (of the same size) seal, you can immediately reprocess it (with a new lid) or give it up to 24 hours to seal. If you choose to wait for slow-sealing jars to seal, don’t store them away with jars that have sealed. You might forget about them if you do.

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