Posted on 10 September 2008 by

Tomato Casual Answers Reader’s Canning Tomatoes Question

By Vanessa Richins

Tomato Casual reader Chris W writes:

“I just started canning and I am having trouble. I canned whole tomatoes by the BALL BOOK. They started to bubble and produce gas. I threw them away. I didn’t want to mess with it.

So I tried making my own sauce. It been about a week and again now the sauce is producing gas. They seal well. And I cook them like i am supposed to. I don’t know what i am doing wrong.

I am sorry you are having trouble with your canning!

With the help of former Tomato Casual Contributor Amy Jeanroy, I will go over the canning steps and the reasons why you may have bubbling and gas.

One note : boiling water is extremely important in the canning process. It sterilizes the jar and contents, killing bacteria. Use boiling water as noted below.

1. Use hot water to wash the jars. You need to be careful to keep the water clean. Amy recommends washing the sink and bleaching it before you begin. Don’t use a sponge or rag to wash your jars. These are often wet and provide a good home for bacteria to grow, which could be one cause of the bubbling. Once you have washed the jars, let them soak in the hot water until you are ready, and also put the lids in a simmering water bath.

2. Make sure your tomatoes are clean. They should be ripe but not overly so. To easily peel off the skin, remove any spoiled or broken spots and place into boiling water for 30 seconds. Then place them in cold water and take off the loose skin.

3. Another reason that bubbling can occur is if the lid does not form a good enough seal on the jar. Amy suggests using a funnel to make sure the rim stays clean and dry as you place the tomatoes into the hot jars.

4. There needs to be room at the top of the jar, so do not put too many tomatoes in. You also need to make sure there is enough juice surrounding the tomatoes by lightly pressing on the tomatoes.

5. Use a wooden spoon to remove any trapped air bubbles by placing the spoon between the tomatoes and the jar, moving in a circle until you have gone around the whole jar.

6. Once you have removed the air bubbles, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the rim of the jars. Next you need to put on a lid and band set right away.

7. For safety, the water in your canner needs to be at least 1″ above the top of the jars. Place the cover on the water canner.

8. Make sure the water is fully boiling. Boil for 45 minutes if you live in an area that has an altitude of less than 1000 feet. If you live above that, it will take longer. Your local extension office will have canning instructions available. Find yours here

Hopefully by following these steps, you can avoid gas the next time. The main key is cleanliness and boiling hot water.

Good luck!

One Response to “Tomato Casual Answers Reader’s Canning Tomatoes Question”

  1. Jen Says:

    I’ve seen some people put the jars alone in the dishwasher with the heated dry cycle. Leave the dishwasher unopened until you are ready to start putting the tomatoes in the jars. Supposedly that creates a fairly sterile environment for the jars and you don’t have to kill your hands washing them in hot water.

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