Home canning is something that I've been doing a long time. I always emphasize safe current methods and practices.
Sometimes that gets me in a position to not agree with the "old" ways.
There is a lot of wisdom in SOME of the old ways... but some of the old ways can be improved upon. Please notice I said some. I'm all for old fashioned skills. But with food preservation you may want to be open to new knowledge.
There are safer methods available. You have to make your own decisions.
We all make our own decisions in our own kitchens.
I also want to mention.... don't be afraid! That is the last thing I want. I've been accused of scaring people off from canning. That is not what I'm about. I believe knowledge conquers fear and I also know that some have a true fear of canning. It is so simple and so safe if you just follow simple (mostly common sense) directions.
My goal is to give beginning canners the confidence to get started. It really is simple!
Here is an example of someone who is honestly looking for answers. It may seem like we are on safety overkill. But really we are not!
That is actually a great question... and I've considered it myself. BUT I've had too many questions from people who have waterbath processed their vegetables only to have them go bad.
I shared on facebook an article about a man who took some short cuts canning his meat and got very ill. I've heard stories of people who have died from botulism from improperly processed vegetables. One of these was directly from a friend of mine who knew the family.
The fact is some food spoilage is easy to see. Mold, fermenting and such you know is there and can take care of it. But the main concern is botulism. You can't see, smell or taste botulism.
It is something you have to decide for yourself. Obviously there are no preserving police out there. :) But I personally would NEVER ever ever open kettle can vegetables. I always use a water bath on my fruits and fruit products and pressure can meats and vegetables.
Please read through these articles and consider the risks.
I hope that helps you make your decision.
I would not eat this. You are right to be concerned. Chili MUST be pressure canned. Do it the correct way and you won't have to worry.
Now here is a fact: You may never change their minds. Even so you can
graciously give them the safety information.... then smile and let them make their own decision.