As I gain more experience in canning fruits (IE peaches) and tomatoes, I notice I'm leaning more towards a condensed version of packing the jars.
I've noticed that no matter how hard I try, if I just barely cook the peaches/tomatoes and pack them in (and I do shove them in), I still get ton's of extra space after processing. I poke. I stir. I shove. I fill up to the 1/2 line before I put the lids on. And this is what I get.
(*Side by side comparison of normal canning verses the more cooked down condensed version.)
I'm not sure why this bothers me. Is it simply aesthetics? Or is my frugal nature peeking through? I mean, if I can spend some extra time cooking the peaches/tomatoes down more, prior to packing, than I seem to get a quart jar that is full top to bottom.
Take yesterday for example. SM wanted more peach "slices" canned up. (I like to cut up smaller chunks and cook them down a bit, almost like a chunky applesauce.) SM had bought me another basket of peaches on Wednesday. I blanched the entire basket yesterday morning. Peaches where the skins slid off easily, I sliced up nicely and "hot packed" them up. The greener peaches that I had to fuss with more to remove the skins, I cut up smaller and cooked them down a bit before I canned them up.
Even after stuffing and stirring the sliced peaches in the jars, I still have jars that have lots of wasted space in them.
And look at how the liquid came down in the jars?
How does this happen? Is it still safe or should I refrigerate those jars and eat them quick?
Signed: Paranoid in NC
*BTW...I made up some fresh salsa yesterday using Linda's recommendation of Pioneer Woman Cooks Restaurant Style Salsa It was very good. SM gave it 2 thumbs up. (He likes it HOT so I added extra jalapeno.) This is for "fresh eating". Not sure if you can "can" this recipe up or not.