Canning 101: Siphoning
When Matt and I first started canning last August we really didn’t have a clue…a clue about a lot of things. Through lots of trial and error, reading, and canning we’ve figured out a thing or two. Afterall, practice does make perfect.
But, some things still do occur from time to time and you are left wondering why? SIPHONING. Siphoning is when liquid is drawn out of the jar by a rapid change in temperature and air pressure. It seems to occur more frequently in canning fruits like apple sauce and peaches in syrup but we’ve also experienced siphoning in soups and stewed tomatoes done in the pressure canner.
Remedy: Some of the ways to solve this problem include…
- Make sure that the jar and liquid is as hot as it can be when filling. I think that this is a good habit to get into. The hotter the jars are when they enter the boiling hot water processor the better. It prevents liquid from seaping and jars from breaking.
- When using the boiling water canner be sure to remove the lid and turn off the heat when the time is up. Do NOT remove the jars. Let them rest for 5 minutes so that they can cool down slightly before removing. Often this is enough to prevent siphoning.
- Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace accordingly. This is an important step and can also help to prevent siphoning. If you’ve left pockets of air in your jars it may result in liquid being incorrectly dispersed. Today, while doing the spiced apple pie filling I didn’t pack the jars tight enough…leaving unwanted pockets of air and room for the liquid to boil out of the jar. This prevented them from sealing.
Jars may seal despite unwanted siphoning and when they do they are perfectly safe to label and store. Last year, every can of 30 jars of peaches siphoned. At the time, we weren’t sure why? Now we know. We labelled and stored each jar of peaches and 12 months later we finished the last one. They all tasted just fine. However, liquid loss does spoil the overall appearance of what should be a beautiful jar of fruit. Try your best with the above suggestions and you may eliminate siphoning in most cases but don’t panick if you have a bit of liquid lost. Just be sure to remove your rings and clean the jars before storing them on the shelf.
Jars that are not cleaned before labelling and storing can look like this after a few months on the shelf…YUCK!