How Does Water Bath Canning Work


Water bath canning is a simple process. It works like this: the high heat of the water drives out the air that is within the tissue of the foods as well as the air that was trapped during the packing process. This creates a vacuum within the jar, which makes the rubberized flange on the lid suck down onto the jar rim and creates a seal. The rim of the jar must be clean before placing the lid on. If you are making a recipe with oil in it you need to clean the rim with a paper towel  that has some vinegar on it to cut the oil. If you are making a recipe without oil you can clean the rim with paper towel that has hot water on it. Once the processing time is complete and the jars are ready to be removed from the canner, using a jar lifter, stand jars upright on a dry towel or cutting board. Space the jars 1 to 2 inches apart so they will cool at an even rate. Allow them to cool 12 to 24 hours. Prevent exposure to extreme drafts or temperature changes that could cause jar breakage.  After you remove jars from the water bath and allow them to cool, you will hear popping noises (this is like music to a canner’s ears)! That’s the sound of the suck and seal. The cooling part of the water bath process is important: the rubber seal will be soft coming out of the water bath and needs to stiffen up to complete the process. The seal process can take up to twenty four hours. If for some reason the jar does not seal, put it in the refrigerator and eat that jar’s contents first. If many jars have not sealed, you can open all of the jars and start over by washing and sterilizing the jars, re-heating the food and following the recipe process time in the water bath again.

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5 thoughts on “How Does Water Bath Canning Work

  1. Pingback: A Fun & Frugal Christmas DIY…or, an Introduction to Canning…or, Get Your Christmas Jam On!

  2. Pingback: Pickle this! A guide to home canning - Emeraldology

    • Hello Harold, The only way to water bath can green beans is if you are pickling them. Green beans are a low acid food.If you are wanting to can them in water you will need a pressure canner. ” Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving ” is a great book it will show you how step by step. The Ball Book will show you how to freeze them too. Best of luck.

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