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Exploding canned tomatoes

I saw the food-vacuum sealer thread, and was reminded of something that happened to a neighbour of mine. Maybe someone here can explain it.

They annually can tomatoes and tomato sauce, and last year they bought bushels of organic tomatoes. (Of course I nabbed the skins for myself!) This summer, when I inquired about how much better the organic batch tasted, the matriarch replied: "Oh, don't even go there! Almost every last jar exploded on the shelf! There was tomato dripping everywhere, and a couple of the jars actually broke from the pressure. I swear it was because those tomatoes were organic, this never happened before with regular tomatoes. We're never buying organic tomatoes again."

What would have made the jars explode like that? Because they were organic tomatoes, I'm thinking they only got sprayed with the hose, instead of thoroughly washed before they were processed. It wasn't just one or two jars, after all, but the whole batch.

I'm really curious, because every year I plant tomatoes, I end up with more than I can eat and give away. If I can preserve them in small batches, that'd be great. There's only so much "stoplight salsa" you can eat in the month of August, after all.
 
[hr]I have three seasons: GROW, *SEW*, and SEED CATALOG!
Believe me - organic tomatos do not explode !
I 'can' lots in glass jars every year. The problem is in the canning method. Tomatos should be done down in a pressure canner with lemom juice added to each jar. "Bernardin" the maker of the snap lids has a great book called The Guide To Home Preserving with recipes that are fail proof. Price is $6.00 CAD. Address is 120 The East Mall, Toronto ON M8Z-5V5.
Also be sure to remove the screw rings that hold the lids on, after the jars have cooled for 24 hours. That way if a jar should go bad it will not explode, the lid will lift & contents spill out.
Hope this is of some help !
 

Knighthawk

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I do my tomatoes in a water bath... and have been doing it for twenty years and I use to help my Mother before that... I have never heard of that... I have had a jar break during the process... which must have been because of a weak jar... Where are the jars being stored... could it have frozen( liquids expand when frozen)
 
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I know very little about where the jars were stored, and from what I could observe during the time they filled the air with delicious smells (I can't really stick my nose in there without being more than politely curious, after all), they used the Bernardin jars. I'm pretty sure they didn't remove the screw rings to store -- who thinks of that? I also am pretty sure they stored the jars in the same place they've always stored the jars, as this is a family tradition involving the family house. The Matriarch said it's never happened before, just with the organic tomatoes from last year! Weird.
 
[hr]I have three seasons: GROW, *SEW*, and SEED CATALOG!
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There could be any number of reasons. Proper water bath canning procedures are still safe for tomatoes (except the low acid varieties.)

I would guess at improper prep....
tomatoes not washed well enough before preparing...
defective and or/dusty lids, nicked jar rims.... inattention during processing (ie water dips into a simmer rather than a full boil and not starting the processing time over)...
jars handled too roughly during cool down....
many different factors that compromise seals.

But I agree with you. I would vote for improper sanitation. In my experience, that is usually the first cause of bad batches, especially when a lot of the jars in the batch go bad.

I suspect that because these tomatoes were organic that the skins had a higher percentage of live microorganisms, as well "fresh from the garden" dust and dirt on them. Your neighbor just probably didn't wash them well enough and introduced bacteria and dirt into her jars. She's probably been cutting corners and "getting away" with it all these years because she hadn't been canning organic.

I'd worry about her non-organic canned produce. How careful a home canner is she?

Sy
 
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Greeting to you all from australia. I would like to make a comment on the tomatoes exploding. The Tomotoes were not sterilized well and Tomotoes fermeted which cause them to explode.Yeast was the cause.
 
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My mom does Hot water bath canning for tomatoes. She always says that air bubbles in the canning jar (in the Tomatoes) would cause the jar to break. Makes some sense. Good luck.
 
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I use the water bath method with no problem. You didn't say what kind of tomatoes they were. Alot of organic tomatoes are also herlooms and alot of herlooms people sell are the "Different types" pink, yellow, striped and have lower acidity. I never can my pink tomatoes i enjoy them fresh and can the High acid reds for winter. A good heirloom to can is Almish Paste.
 
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They have always used "Roma" when purchasing chemically grown tomatoes, and they used the "Amish Paste" red ones for the organic batch. I think they're pretty much the same thing, right? They looked the same.

Oh well. I hope they can again this year. I like scoring the skins and sludge for my garden, although they've gotten wise to my ways, and have started burying the stuff in their own garden, darn it. Wink
 
[hr]I have three seasons: GROW, *SEW*, and SEED CATALOG!
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