OMG, what a shame!!! While sorting items in the pantry last night, I noticed something off with a jar of my freshly canned soup. Hoping it would be just one jar with a poor seal, I started to inspect the 16 jars I had spent preparing ALL day last Sunday. Every jar of the Tex-Mex Chicken and Black Bean soup had to be discarded… Thankfully, the seal on the other 3 types of soups were found intact. Small victory! So the lesson I learned from this canning fiasco is the following: it doesn’t matter how hot your preparation is when you pour it in the jars, make sure to return the sealed jar in a bath of boiling water for a fair chunk of time, at least 15 minutes. The chicken soup is the only batch for which I omitted this step; it was still bubbling away when I was filling my jars and I simply assumed this would be enough. I can my broths on a regular basis and it is the first time this has ever happened to me and also, the first time I skipped the hot bath step… Lesson learned!!!
Note: Since this post, I have learned much about preserving and canning. Not only did skipping the hot water process was a bad idea, for foods with low acidic content, simply boiling the jars in water is not enough. A pressure canner is absolutely necessary to destroy any anaerobic bacteria that could remain in the preparation. I am very relieved that all my jar lids started to pop, forcing me to discard of everything. An expensive lesson but nevertheless, an invaluable lesson learned!