While I am not a canning-expert, I do have some experience with (and have had good success!) canning tomatoes. It's so rare that one of my jars doesn't seal, I'd have to guess that about 97% of my jars of tomatoes do seal. (I'm including all tomato products in this generalization.)
So, here are my tips for jars-that-seal! :)
1. Check the jar for cracks or nicks on the top rim. The top of the jar, where the canning lid goes, should feel completely smooth.
2. Fill jars of tomatoes (or pizza sauce, etc.) about 1/2 to 1-inch from the top.
3. After filling a jar, wipe the top rim with a clean dishcloth to remove any spilled tomatoes or smudges of sauce.
4. Use canning lids that are new. They can be a few (even 5) years old, but don't use the ones you found in your grandmother's basement when you were helping her clean. The rubber gets old after a while. :) And don't re-use a canning lid that you used on your food last summer! :)
5. Tighten the ring over the lid snugly, but not as tight as you can make it. The ring should give some resistance when you try to unscrew it, but it shouldn't require a lot of effort to take off again.
6. Follow the directions on your recipe for canning (usually for tomatoes, a boiling water bath). After removing the jars from the canner, place them on a folded towel or on a wooden cutting board. Don't touch or disturb the jars until they are cool! :)
Does anyone else have tips for successful jar-sealing rates when canning? I'd love to hear them! :)
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