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General Canning Information

Causes and Possible Solutions for Problems with Canned Fruit Juices

Problem Cause Prevention
Fermentation or Spoilage 1. Failure to process adequately. 1. Filled jars of juices should be processed in a boiling water canner long enough to destroy spoilage organisms.
  2. Imperfect seal. 2. Use recommended canning methods and processing times. Use new flat lids for each jar and make sure there are no flaws. Pretreat the lids per manufacturer’s directions. Use ring bands in good condition – no rust, no dents, no bends. Wipe sealing surface of jar clean after filling, before applying lid. Filled jars should be processed in a boiling water canner long enough so a vacuum seal will form after cooling the jars.
  3. Air left in jars. 3. Proper application of two-piece canning lids and boiling water processing will exclude air from jars before the lid seals.
Cloudy sediment in bottom of jar 1. Solids in juice settle. 1. Minimize by straining juice before canning. Canned juice may be strained and made into jelly. Shake juices if used as a beverage.
  2. See spoilage, above.  
Problem Cause Prevention
Separation of tomato juice 1. Enzymatic action after cutting of raw tomatoes. 1. Heat tomatoes quickly to simmering temperature immediately after they are cut.

To prevent juice from separating, quickly cut about 1 pound of fruit into quarters and put directly into saucepan. Heat immediately to boiling while crushing. Continue to slowly add and crush freshly cut tomato quarters to the boiling mixture. Make sure the mixture boils constantly and vigorously while you add the remaining tomatoes.
Poor flavor 1. Immature, overripe, or inferior fruit used. 1. Use only good quality, firm, ripe fruit or tomatoes for making juice.
  2. Use of too much water for extracting fruit juice. 2. Use only amount of water called for in directions. No water is added to tomatoes.
  3. Improper storage. 3. Stores jars in cool, dark, and dry storage area.


This document was adapted from "So Easy to Preserve", 5th ed. 2006. Bulletin 989, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, Athens. Revised by Elizabeth L. Andress. Ph.D. and Judy A. Harrison, Ph.D., Extension Foods Specialists.

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