Today's home canning question is regarding jar size and canning processing times, if you can adapt the time according to the size of jar that you have. Let's learn about this important step of the canning process.
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So today's Canning Chat has to do with processing times: Can you change the time according to the size of jar that you're actually using? So when USDA does the testing on processing times for foods in a water bath and pressure canner, there are a lot of different things that they're checking. They're checking the thickness of your product, and whether it's high-acid or low-acid levels of food, along with what kind of pressure would be needed for that particular food type.
They're checking the jar size, what kind of heat is needed to make sure that the heat penetrates fully through to the center of the jar so that all of the food gets to the right temperature. There are all kinds of things that they check. So it's not just as simple as, "I have a bigger jar. I'll just double the time." It's not that simple. So I don't recommend you doing that.
Here's one example: Pickled peppers.
I have two jars of pickled peppers here. There are tested recipes for either this smaller quarter-pint jar or this pint-sized jar. As far as I know, there are no tested recipes for quart-sized jars. Maybe you use a lot of pickled peppers, and you think, "Oh, I'm just going to put it in a quart jar. It'll save space, and I'll just have less work to do it that way." But it's not as simple as just doubling the time to go up a size, so don't do that. You're better off just doing two pint-sized jars. You're safe. You know that your product is going to be good. That's the way to go.
If you want to go with a smaller sized jar than a tested recipe calls for, then that's okay, because you'll actually be processing it maybe more than it needs, but you'll be processing it for long enough.
My example for that one is applesauce.
Now this is a pint-sized jar of applesauce. There are also tested recipes for quart-sized jars of applesauce. I just don't happen to have any right now. But as far as I know, there are no tested recipes for this smaller size. If you wanted to make a smaller sized jar of applesauce, you would just use the pint-sized jar processing time for a smaller jar, and that's going to be fine.
Now for applesauce, that would work great. Maybe you want to make some little individual sizes. That would actually be really handy, individually size applesauce. Applesauce will hold up to that. There are some foods that if you overprocess them, they're going to be really mushy, and it might not be as appealing. For example, I can think of some vegetables like green beans. When you process green beans, they're pretty well cooked. So there's pint size processing directions for green beans, but there are no smaller, as far as I know.
But don't just cut the time in half for processing your smaller jar. You need to process it for the full time. I don't recommend it, because your green beans are going to be a little overcooked. So it depends on the product that you're canning, whether it's going to hold up to that overprocessing time or not. But don't cut the time in half.
In conclusion, when it comes to the canning process, if you have a jar that is larger than your tested recipe, you cannot just double your time. Use the proper sized jar for the tested recipe. If you have a jar that is smaller than your tested recipe, use the tested recipe time. And then, just keep in mind your food type, whether it's going to hold up for that extra processing or not.
I hope that was helpful. Let me know if you have any questions. Come see me at SimplyCanning.com. You guys have a great day, and happy canning!
Page last updated: 9/16/2020