filling jars when canning

by Brenda

I have been canning for 35 years, i enjoy it, but it is frustrating when i look at the jars and they aren't nicely filled....what am I doing wrong??

I follow the instructions as far as the right amount of headspace, (i think) I go around the jar to relieve the air bubbles, but when I take the jars out of the canner (i use pressure for all veggies) I have a 2 inch headspace instead of the 1-inch.

The liquid is to the top of the contents so it isn't like liquid was lost, would adding the liquid as I fill help the problem?

Do you put the contents a bit under the 1 inch and the liquid right at 1 inch? It doesn't seem to matter if I hot pack or cold when I can sauerkraut I do have the problem with lost liquid, it is like the juice absorbs, because it is on all my jars :( and that I do hot water bath. I did 55 pt of that this year...but not any ribbon winners here :(

This year is the first year i did sweet potatoes...i read where you are not to mash them, which i didn't but when I took the jars out of the canner some do look mushy, will they be good to use for baking?

Thank-you for your help!! your site looks very helpful, I haven't gotten through it all yet.


Hi Brenda, Well if you've been at this for 35 years you've done more than me!

The only tips I can give are regarding things it sounds as

if you are already doing. So these are just suggestions.

Use correct head space. The foods are at the same level as the liquid in my jars.

Are you packing the foods tightly enough? Many foods can be pretty tightly packed. Green beans is one I am thinking of. If the recipe says to pack loosely, don't pack too tight. Maybe you are being to liberal on the loosely side.

Be sure and remove any air bubbles.

A hot pack will usually give better results. In heating your foods you are removing some of the oxygen in the food itself which will leave less oxygen in the jar to be pushed out.

Don't rush the cooling of the pressure canner. It needs to cool down all on it's own.

The only thing you didn't mention is leaving the jars in your canner for just a few minutes after opening the lid. (I'm talking about pressure canning here) It seems when I wait a minute or two before taking them out of the water I get less liquid loss.

If it is any consolation I also have varying results with liquid levels. Take a look at my canning meat page. There is a picture of two jars of meat. One has lost liquid and one has not. They were packed the same and processed in the same load.

Maybe someone else will chime in and suggest some other tips.

As far as the sweet potatoes. I have not canned sweet potatoes myself. Just remember that the potatoes are already fully cooked. So for your recipe cooking times may be less.

I hope that helps.

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