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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 made strawberry jam and did a water bath canning method. I only processed them for 5 minutes and now days later I see it was suppose to be 10 minutes.
Undoubtedly you did not put these jars in the refrigerator because you thought they were "canned".
About 4 months ago I canned quarts of halved peaches, but did not add water bath time for our high altitude. Since I didn't realize this until about a week afterwards I was advised to throw it all out, but have been avoiding throwing this work down the drain.
You need to throw them out. The time to cook them longer would have been immediately. Bacteria could have time to grow. Better to be safe than sorry.
Having gotten sick from a failed canning project, I strongly suggest you toss it.
Safely first! I hate waste too and feel guilty, but food poisoning is very scary!
I highly recommend you toss all the jars, sad as it is. Here is a link from the government about the dangers of home canning. Botulism is a very real concern.
Good luck and be safe.
The only thing I would suggest is to dig a deep hole (deep enough where an animal will not dig it up) and dump your peaches; bleach/scald your jars; buy new lids and try again next year.
I do not like to waste food either; especially something that I have worked hard to prepare, but this could be a very real safety thing so please, close your eyes and dump the peaches.
I have read that canned peaches is one of the kinds of food that is sometimes difficult to tell if it the food has spoiled so do not take a chance - even with a "taste".
Thank you all for the advice. I successfully threw them out yesterday. I'll not forget the altitude adjustment in the future!
Sorry. Safety first is hard, but so necessary with food. Take care!!