Canning Peaches - Spewing Juices

For the first time, I canned a large amount of very ripe peaches. I pealed and sliced the peaches; dry packed them into glass quart jars; covered with white grape juice; tried to get all the bubbles out; and left about 1/3 to 1/2 inch of headroom in the jars. I processed the jars in a boiling water bath for about 45 minutes. When I took them out of the water bath, juices spewed out from under the lid, no matter how gently I handled them. It made a huge mess and now I don't trust the seal given it's covered in a sugary mess. And there are peaches floating in the jars not covered with juice! What happened???



Eugenia B. August 11, 2011
Usually spewing of the sort you describe is due to too little headroom. 1/2 inch is the usual recommendation, so I guess 1/3 an inch was too little. Also, were your peaches still boiling inside the jar when you removed them from the water? Often if you remove a canned food while it is still bubbling furiously inside, there will be some spewing. (It's a good idea to let the jars rest in the water bath for about 5 minutes after the processing time is up to let the food settle down.) But that doesn't mean your jars won't seal, although it does increase the odds the lids won't be able to adhere to the jar. Even if there is some spewing, the canning process is not complete until the jars if your seals are good, then your peaches are okay. To check, remove the bands and see if you can lift the jar by the seal. The peaches are floating because they are lighter than the grape juice. I know it seems odd that fruit may be lighter than liquid, but it is a common problem. Peaches often float because they are loaded with air. If you hot pack them (cook them a bit first in the juice or syrup) then some of that air is pushed out and you are less likely to get floaters. While unsightly, floating fruit is okay as long as you have a good seal. But let's say the seals suck. Then I recommend you remove the peaches and pop them in a freezer baggie. The texture will be compromised, but they'll still be useful in a baking application. I'm curious: how come you processed for 45 minutes? Are you in a high altitude location? Raw pack pints of peaches take 25 minutes to process at sea level.
thespicegirl August 11, 2011
Hi there,
Unfortunately your peaches are spoiled. If there is spurting liquid or leakage they cannot be used. For whatever reason it sounds like the gases inside the jars caused the lids to swell and break the seals.

It sounds to me like you followed protocol but just in case I will list here cause and prevention suggestions:

1. Food Packed too Tightly - try a hot pack method
2. Screw bands applied too loosely
3. Pressure canner not operated correctly

Peaches naturally trap a lot of air in their structure. Hot packing heats the fruit to exhaust some of this air prior to packing. This could may have been a problem.

Also, if you want to preserve Peaches, Nectarines or Apricots in water or juice rather than syrup you need to use the hot pack method. Here is how you do it:
In a saucepan combine fruit with just enough water to stop it from sticking. Bring peaches to a boil and then reduce heat and boil gently until hot through the fruit.
In a separate saucepan heat the fruit juice or water until it boils. Pack hot fruit into hot jars and leave at least 1/2 inch on the top of the jar. Ladle the hot juice over the fruit and heat process as normal.

I hope this helped.

The Spice Girl.
Emily H. August 11, 2011
Also, the uncovered peaches should be ok, but they may discolor a bit. If you have any jars that lost an especially large amount of liquid, I would eat them first. Ideally, you don't want too much headspace/air in your jars.
Emily H. August 11, 2011
This is called siphoning, and it happens for a few different reasons. You may still have too many air bubbles. Otherwise, it's probably because of the temperature change. If the juice and/or peaches weren't warm to hot before they went into the jars, the shock of the boiling water may have caused it.

It's fairly normal when canning fruit. If the jar is still sealed, you're ok. Test of seal: take off the ring and pick up the jar by just the lid. If you can lift the jar, you're safe.

Marisa at FoodInJars has a few good posts on the subject. Siphoning is mentioned in her glossary of terms:
And in her post on whole fruit canning:
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