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Ford County

Problems and Solutions

Problem: What is the Yellow Liquid on Top of My Tomato Juice?

Solution: Making tomato juice using a blender to blend the tomatoes before heating will hasten the enzymatic breakdown of pectin and causes separation. heating tomatoes quickly helps prevent separation. The yellow liquid contains pectin from the tomatoes plus some red color pigments which when combined with light gives a yellow color. The enzymatic breakdown of pectin will occur when the tomatoes are crushed before they have been thoroughly heated and when the products sets too long before being put into jars. that is why heating quickly will inactivate the enzymes and the pectin remains intact in the tomatoes. The separation is harmless but looks bad. Also, one should prepare one canner load at a time and process quickly.


Problem: When Pressure Canning Tomatoes, Does Lemon Juice Need to be Added?

Solution: Yes, when either water bath canning or pressure canning, lemon juice must be added. To ensure a safe acid level in whole, crushed, or juiced tomatoes, add 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or ½ teaspoon of citric acid per quart of tomatoes. for pints, use 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice or ¼ teaspoon citric acid. Acid can be added directly to the jars before tilling the jars with product. Add sugar to offset the acid taste, if desired. Four tablespoons of a 5-percent-acidity vinegar per quart may be used instead of lemon juice or citric acid. However, vinegar may cause undesirable flavor changes. Tomatoes must be acidified for both boiling water and pressure canning.


Problem: My Tomatoes Froze on the Vines, Are They Safe to Use?

Solution: Do not can tomatoes from dead or frost-killed vines. The acid level has changed in the tomato and should not be used for canning. They can be frozen or eaten as fresh.


Problem: Can Yellow "Acid Free" Tomatoes be Used in Canning?

Solution: Yes. They have the same acid content as red tomatoes but taste less acidic. They should be used as if they were red tomatoes.


Problem: Can I Can My Own Salsa Recipe?

Solution: Salsas are usually mixtures of acid and low-acid ingredients; they are an example of an acidified food. The specific recipe, and sometimes preparation method, will determine if a salsa can be processed in a boiling water canner or a pressure canner. A process must be scientifically determined for each recipe.