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Canning Bath Not Long Enough

Category Canning Tips
Following the proper steps for home canning helps ensure the safety and quality of your canned goods. This is a guide about canning bath not long enough.


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By 0 found this helpful
July 31, 2007

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


August 1, 20071 found this helpful
Best Answer

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!

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August 1, 20070 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.


I ended up doing that with 5 quarts and boiled them down to almost puree for 40 minutes. I made a goulash with them and they were fine. We're still alive, LOL. Thanks

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October 9, 20070 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.


Also, press the lid as soon as they are cool enough to touch. If it didn't seal, you're going to get a kind of hollow-sounding popping sound-if it sealed, there won't be any sound and the lid will feel solid, then screw the rings down as tight as you can. Anything that didn't seal can be put in the fridge to use ASAP. Foods can be reprocessed. Just reheat, put into clean, sterile jars, make sure the top of the jar mouth is absolutely clean before you add brand new caps, put on the rings, and reprocess in the water bath. Always check your jar before opening and using. If it pops when you press it down--for heavens sake don't use it! No amount of boiling is going to make that jar of food safe for eating!

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By 0 found this helpful
June 28, 2018

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.


Will they be alright to eat or what do you recommend I do now?


June 28, 20180 found this helpful

Sadly your question reminded me why I stopped canning.

Canning was to be best if you aren't planning to if you would have realized it the same day, the jars could have been refrigerated and probably would have been fine.

That said, if it has been shelved for more than a day, I personally wouldn't keep it, but this is because I got sick from a bad batch of canned salsa I made.

I miss homemade and I've been reading about freezer jams. They seem much safer. Or it may work just to make smaller batches of jams that go right to the fridge. Canning scares me and that makes me sad, but sadly safety first!

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June 29, 20181 found this helpful

If it was refrigerated I would use it as an ice cream topping or similar. I would not can it again.

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July 1, 20180 found this helpful

Undoubtedly you did not put these jars in the refrigerator because you thought they were "canned".


  • I read where it would be safe to use if jars had not been opened but I would be afraid to test this theory.
  • Sad, but I believe you should toss out the contents, clean the jars, and try again another time. Hope it was not a very large batch.
  • We have all made similar mistakes so just be glad you did find out that you had made a mistake before any of your "jam" was used.
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July 2, 20180 found this helpful

so this is the reason why I am afraid to start canning or fermentation like I've been wanting to for ages. Too many ways to stuff it up and harm yourself and your family.

Depending on how many days they were sitting out, IE if only one or 2, I might at least eat them but not, definitely not, keep them. The price is too high in terms of sickness.


On the other hand i would tend to worry about things like disease and organism less with jam because it was my impression that the sugar content made the environemnt inhospitable for the worst sorts of illnesses. From this site: "Jams usually contain about 60% sugar, which is enough to stop most microorganisms growing. The high acidity also makes it an unpleasant place to breed. However, some moulds can grow even in these harsh conditions and so it is important to take care when preparing and sterilising your jars."

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