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I recently canned tomatoes using the water bath method and realize now that I didn't boil them long enough, only 10 minutes. Can I put them back in the water bath and redo them. I used an old canning book that called for only 10 minutes. I did pack them hot in sterilized jars and and the lids are sealed. Help!
B. from Rutherfordton, NC
I've recently been canning tomatoes too, so I can completely understand your concern. I looked in my Ball Blue Book of canning, and I couldn't find anything about reprocessing the food if it wasn't in long enough. It does say this however; If a lid does not seal within 24 hours, the product can be immediately reprocessed. To reprocess the product, remove the lid and reheat the food and/or liquid as recommended by the recipe. Pack food into clean hot jars. Place a new, heated lid on the jar and adjust band. Reprocess the product using the canning method and full length of processing time recommended by the recipe. I don't know if this helps or not, as I know your lids sealed, but the hardest part may be getting the jars reheated. You could always put the tomatoes in new sterile jars and redo them. I did mine yesterday in a water bath for an hour and a half. Good luck!
Thanks for the feedback. I realized I had goofed after buying a Ball Book and saw the new USDA updates. After Googling this subject I did find out I could take the tomatos out of the jars and boil them for 30 minutes.
My grandmother taught me to 'put foods by' when I was very young and I have been doing it for close to 40 years now. I never use a pressure canner. I used to water bath all kinds of veggies, but now most of my veggies go in the freezer because processing destroys most, if not all of the nutritive value. But I do can sauces, relishes, pickles of all kinds, condiments, etc., and even jellies and jams (instead of using wax) in the water bath. My grandmother never killed anybody or made them sick and neither have I. My advice is to start counting your time once the water has come to a full, hard rolling boil. When in doubt, process for 10 minutes longer. Also, once the jars have been removed from the water bath and start to cool listen for the caps to 'pop' when you take them out of the bath--this is the lid sealing down.
I don't think you can reboil them if they have cooled, since any surviving bacteria can create protective spores that can be more resistant to the next sterilization process.
I did this with jam, with a recipe about 10 years old. Chuck your jars in the freezer if you can, and get friends to do the same so it's not a total loss.
Total bummer, to do all that work and it not come out right, I know.
Let us know what you end up doing?