I filled all my canning jars with food and sealed them, but I had to run an errand before I processed them. I followed all University Extension directions for heat processing, but now some of my jars are beginning to show signs of spoilage. What did I do wrong?
We use the term "latent spoilage" to describe what happens when canning jars are filled with food, sealed, but allowed to sit at room temperature for several hours before heat processing. The bacterial load inside these jars can increase so much that even the scientifically researched processing times in University Extension canning publications are not sufficient to kill all spoilage bacteria. This is sometimes the situation when home canners insist that they have followed all our guidelines but still have spoilage occurring. It's extremely important that you fill jars and get them into your canner with no delays.
Barbara Willenberg, Nutritional
Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia
Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009