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My husband made and canned pickles 1 week ago. Tonight he noticed the seals were popped on all but one jar. One other time the same thing happened when he canned green beans. What would be the cause of this?

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It's unclear if we're talking about boiling water or pressure canning here - I'd expect boiling for the pickles and pressure for the green beans (since they're not acidic enough)? I think the answers are mostly the same either way though. –  Jefromi Aug 28 '13 at 2:47

2 Answers 2

Aside from the notes in SAJ14SAJ's answer, if he didn't run the canning process long enough, there may have been residual bacteria (or spores) that remained active.

The failed cannings I've seen due to insufficient heat took exactly one week to pop their lids.

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You should not re-use lids, so they should come in good condition, although you can give them a visual inspection for dents, dings, and missing sealant before using them.

However, it sounds like perhaps your jars are not being properly processed to develop their seals if so many are failing. The University of Missouri Extension provides this list of things that might have gone wrong:

  1. Failure to read and follow instructions on package for using bands and lids.
  2. Leaving wrong amount of head space when filling jars.
  3. Not removing particles of food, seeds, seasonings, or pulp of fruit from the top of jar before putting the lid on. Also, watch for threads from the cloth that is used to clean the rim of the jar.
  4. Screwing band too tight can cause lid to buckle.
  5. Not screwing band tight enough.
  6. Insufficient heat to seal the lid.
  7. Failure to exhaust (vent) steam - pressure canner for a full 10 minutes.
  8. Letting pressure in canner fluctuate.
  9. Reusing jars in which commercial food is sold.
  10. Using warped, rusty, worn bands, or old commercial caps instead of home canning brands that are in good condition.
  11. Reusing lids. The lid of a two - piece metal cap should not be used more than once.
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The NCHFP's page is of course also good. It manages to mention a few different things despite missing a lot of them: defects in the jar itself (chips in the glass), tipping/inverting jars when removing them from the canner, and (when canning meat) getting fat on the rim. –  Jefromi Aug 28 '13 at 2:55

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