for answers to commonly asked questions.
Reasons for Liquid Loss From Jars
Date: May 1988 (Reviewed June 1996)
Source: University of Wisconsin
As strange as it may seem, there are many reasons for liquid loss from jars during
processing. The following are possible reasons:
- The jar is packed too full, that is, you did not leave recommended headspace.
- The food is packed so tightly that liquid did not fill the spaces between food pieces.
- Starchy foods may absorb some of the liquid.
- The liquid you added to cover cold, raw food was not hot enough when you put it in the
- You did not remove air bubbles when you packed the food. (You can do this by running a
rubber spatula between the food and the jar.)
- You did not cover jars of acid foods with one or two inches of water in the boiling
water bath canner.
- The pressure canner was not sufficiently exhausted.
- Pressure fluctuated, or the temperature lowered suddenly during processing, due to
uncontrolled heat source.
- The temperatures changed suddenly when processing was over. If the pressure canner cools
too quickly while the contents of the jar remain at a much higher temperature, the liquid
will boil over. The "coming down" period has to be gradual and even.
- The petcock was opened before the pressure had returned to zero. When the pressure gets
to zero, open the petcock cautiously; if steam escapes, close and wait a few minutes.
- The canner stood too long after pressure returned to zero. Open the canner within
several minutes after it returns to zero pressure.
- You removed the jars too quickly after removing the cover. Let the jars stay in the
canner for a few minutes after removing the cover, or until the boiling in the jars goes
- The gauge's pointer does not rest at zero when not under pressure.
Liquid loss may cause the food to darken, but does not interfere with the keeping
qualities. Do not open jars at the end of the processing to replace liquid before you will
spoil the food, unless you use the contents immediately.
If you have further questions, contact your county office of the NDSU Extension Service
for additional information on canning.
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