When Canning Goes Bad (literally)

Last week, Nik went downstairs for another jar of strawberry jam and came up with this:

003 (800x533) (3)

That’s right, that’s a jar of strawberry jam, being consumed by mold.  Evidently, I didn’t notice that one of the jars hadn’t sealed when I put them into storage last summer.  So, for the past 15 months, it’s been living open to the environment.

002 (800x533) (2)As you can see, a good bit of the of the moisture of the jam evaporated, leaving far more than the required one-quarter inch head space for jam. 

I was going to title this post, “When Canning Goes Horribly Wrong” but decided “horribly wrong” should be reserved for something truly horrible – like someone getting hurt or dying.  And no one did.  We didn’t eat it, of course (despite my teasing Nik that I would just scrape the mold off and the bottom would be fine).

004 (800x533)impressive colors, aren’t they?

Let this be a lesson to you – make sure all your jars are sealed before storing them!  I’m not sure why I didn’t catch this one because I usually fanatically check mine multiple times.  Oh well.  It made for an interesting science experiment. 🙂

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4 Responses to When Canning Goes Bad (literally)

  1. Lisa S says:

    Freaky! I just made a batch of crabapple jelly. My mom, who has canned far more and far longer than I have, has promised that jelly doesn’t need a hot water bath, so I didn’t give it one this time around. But when I was checking if the lids had “plinked” (I love that sound) my finger pushed one down, instead of it plinking on its own. That one went in my mom’s fridge. I hope the rest are all good.

    • Laura says:

      Your mom must know my mom! 🙂 She says the same thing. The USDA says something entirely different (i.e. nothing should be stored in jars at room temperature if it hasn’t been hot water bath canned.) Technically, just sealing is not an indication that it’s safe to store on the shelf. Besides facilitating the sealing process, the hot water bath canning process also kills any bacteria that might have gotten in during the canning process (other than botulism, which can’t live in jam or pickles, etc). That being said, my mom canned jam all our growing up years and not only did she not hot water bath can, she also reused random jars with random lids and broke all kinds of other rules. And we survived and no one ever got sick! I follow most of the rules pretty strictly but clearly there’s some leeway there.

      As for the one jar seal that you pushed down, it was probably OK. That happens to me all the time. It can take up to 24 hours for a jar to seal on its own (although it usually happens right away). So sometimes, when you are checking, you just help it along by pushing it down. If it stayed down, then it was probably sealed up tightly.

  2. Pingback: Picking In The Rain! Just Picking in The Rain! | Salmon and Souvlaki

  3. Pingback: Look! I just made all our [canning] lives easier! | Salmon and Souvlaki

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