A canning question from a newbie

northerner_onSeptember 6, 2012

I have canned a bit over the years but I am certainly not an expert. This year I have a bumper crop of Hungarian Wax peppers and I would like to pickle them. In prior years I have pickled half quarts or less and used my large (5 quart I believe) pot for the hot water bath. But it is not deep enough to completely submerge a one quart jar standing upright. Is is OK to submerge it on it's side? It will fit, and aferall, aren't the lids waterproof? I just don't want to have to keep them in the refrigerator (don't have room) and don't want to have to buy another large pot. I guess I could divvy them up and use two smaller jars, but I prefer to use the one quart. Your advice please?

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I would not place the jar on its side. There will probably be some seepage of the liquid from inside which will prevent the lid from sealing. You could post this on the Harvest forum where there are several knowledgeable people.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 10:30PM
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No, I would not place the jar on its side either. The space at the top of the jar is known as "head space" and it's there to help create the vacumn that seals the jar. If you do not have sufficient head space the food could bubble up and seep out of the jar, compromising the seal. A jar lying on its side has no head space at all so there's no way to drive the air out of the jar and create the proper seal. Also, as Cheryl mentioned, the liquid inside could seep out. The food could discolor or dry out because of the loss of liquid, or it could not seal or could seal improperly, allowing the food to spoil.

I'd either get a bigger pot or smaller jars.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 11:04PM
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What Annie said. I find it so frustrating when trying to can a small batch of quart jars, since I don't want to get out "the beast" (my nickname for my big black BWB pot) for just a couple of quarts. I have found some smaller stockpot/taller type canners but they are too expensive for me to afford just now. So I use pints.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 9:03AM
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Jadeite, Annie, and Lpink, thank you so much for your advice. I was glad to get the 'science' of the seal. I was able to pack it all into a 1.5 cup jar, which I could fit into my pot, and at the same time I did my jalapenos so I think that's it for my canning this year. Happy harvests to all.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 12:38AM
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