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Canning -- Tomatoes

Why do tomatoes or any other fruit or vegetable float in the jar after processing?

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The reason that tomatoes or any other fruit or vegetable will float is because of the air inside the food tissue. Floating often occurs when foods are raw packed (not heated) before processing. Heating (or hot-packing) the fruit or vegetable causes the cells to break apart so air will escape. Therefore, hot-packed foods are less likely to float. (NOTE: You also can pack more product into the jar.) If the tomatoes are hot-packed and so are still floating, perhaps the pieces were not thoroughly cooked or the pieces were too big to allow for thorough cooking.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, NC State University in July 2004

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