Canning is not a complicated process, but there are times when problems can arise if there is a step is overlooked, chemistry of ingredients is upset or for any other reason. Fixing common canning problems is not difficult.
Jelly Not Gelling Up
There are times that the jelly simply will not gel. These can be contributed to not having the correct ratio of sugar to pectin. This will result in the jelly being runny. A number of factors contribute to canning problems such as not using lemon juice if called for in the recipe, less than the required amount of sugar was used or the fruit was to right. The fruit should be picked at just the right time to make sure the level of pectin has not dropped to low. A small batch that did not gel correctly can be used in place of traditional syrup. When it is a large batch you may decide to redo the entire process to get it to gel the way that is desired. The length of time required to set will vary for jams and jellies, wait until it has completely cooled to ensure that it is not going to set before attempting to redo the process. There is the possibility of over gelling which occurs when factors contribute to canning problems such as the jam or jelly has been overcooked or there is too much pectin. The ratio of acid and sugar to pectin has to be perfect, adding commercial pectin to fruit that had not completely ripened can upset the balance. Fruit should be ideally ripe or mixed with ripe and immature fruit to ensure the perfect balance. Cooking times have to be precise. There is not actually a fix when the mixture is too thick unless you water it down to melt into a sauce like topping. Fixing common canning problems requires examining the problem closely.
Why Did It Not Seal
Another common problem is that lids lose their seal or will not seal at all. The causes of this problem can be something as simple as the rim of the jar being nicked or if there is food left on the rim. There may be too much headspace which is the space left between the top of the jar and the food in the jar. The vacuum seal will not be created if the air does not reach a certain temperature and escape the inside of the jar. The lids should be kept hot until they are needed but not boiled since this will result in lid failure.
Power Outage in the Middle of Processing
A loss of power interrupting the process can be corrected by restarting the process in as few as twenty-four hours. The food and the processing time will determine the texture. The fruit can also lose color or texture. There could have been natural changes taking place while the fruit was processing. If there is no sugar syrup used but fruit juice or water it will not keep the color but flavors will be pleasing. Fruit that is processed at just the right time will hold up better than fruit that is overripe when it comes to the preserving and storing process.
Color Not Right
The loss of color cannot be fixed after the fact but it can be prevented by using sugar syrups, using ascorbic acid for fruits that are prone to browning. There may be a problem getting pickles to crisp which can be the result of using salad cucumbers instead of pickling varieties. The cucumbers might not be fresh enough. To prevent this problem use pickling instead of salad cucumbers making sure that they are fresh. Fixing common canning problems like these is rather simple.