Recently my MIL came over to show my husband and I how to do some canning. We made diced tomatoes, salsa and pasta sauce. We cooked the diced tomatoes, placed in jars and put in water bath. We did the same with the salsa. We realized though, that the water in the water bath was only going to 190 degrees Fahrenheit and not boiling, so we left the jars in for 45 minutes. We did have to press down on some lids, but they all stayed down. Is this safe?

My MIL had us wet the jars, place in oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit and place boiling pasta sauce in jars. Same thing, we had to push down the lids eventually but all stayed down. Is this safe?

Lastly, we weren’t aware that you should take the rings off the jar for storage, and we didn’t for a couple weeks. Is this a problem?

I’m new to canning, and also very weird about food not being stored correctly.

Thanks so much.

  • Did you bake the sauce in the jars at 250? If so for how long?
    – GdD
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 14:01
  • No, we just boiled the pasta sauce on the stove before placing it in the hot jars
    – Linny
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 14:39
  • 3
    The answer to each depends on the recipe you used, as the amount of salt and acidity will determine whether it's safe or not, however my initial answer is that you didn't do this safely as boiling isn't hot enough, tomatoes, salsa and pasta sauces need to be pressure canned.
    – GdD
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 14:43
  • 1
    It really doesn't matter what temperature the oven is: water will not go above normal boiling temperature (roughly 218F) at atmospheric pressure. The only way you can get water hot enough to kill botulin spores is to use a pressurized vessel which raises the boiling point of the water inside of it.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 20:19

1 Answer 1


No, it is not.

Diced tomatoes and tomato sauce can be low-acidity foods, Nearly all recipes call for adding an acid. Without adding an acid and proper processing of jars, you risk botulism and a few other toxins. They can be canned in a water bath (if acidified below pH 4.6) or pressure canner (if not). Follow the recipe!

The odds of getting botulism for any particular jar are very low -- folks are able to can unsafely for years. But the consequences of doing so are severe. Most of the botulism deaths in the USA have been related to home-canned tomatoes.

Removing the rings prevents rust.

  • So I should just toss the jars to be safe? I'm okay with this as I don't really want to risk getting family sick. Thank you for your quick reply.
    – Linny
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 15:30
  • 2
    Removing the rings is needed to clean anything that came out when exhausting the jars, helps prevent rusting the rings into immobility in storage, and makes it very clear when a seal has failed in storage. And even your link correctly identifies all vegetables (except for most tomatoes). when specifying what are low-acid foods. Way off track here.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 15:34
  • Added link specifically addressing tomatoes.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 15:50
  • 2
    The main "salvaging" opportunity would be to open one each of the jars and ph-test the contents. If it's below 4.6, then the rest of the jars are OK.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 0:03
  • 1
    Boiling the food before consumption destroys bacteria and toxins. Heating up your tomato sauce to >85°C for >5 min makes it safe. Botulism concerns mostly food consumed cold. (IIRC, most botulism cases concern traditional indigenous seafood preserves.) From who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/botulism. Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 8:49

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