I was making spaghetti sauce, as you may have guessed. I’d roasted a whole bunch of tomatoes over the weekend, and to them I added more fresh chopped tomatoes, some garlic, some onion, some oregano…and I cooked that all down, pureed it to smithereens, ladled it into my prepared jars, and placed them lovingly in my pressure canner.
I tightened the lid, turned the flame up, and waited for the steady stream of steam, which would announce that it was time to put the little weighted pressure regulator thing on the steam vent and wait for the rattling and jiggling to commence.
Well, I got the steam, but unfortunately it was leaking out of too many little areas. One, of course, was the vent itself, which was a good thing. The other two spots were out the sides of the pot, between the lid and the pot, right above each handle. I’m thinking next time instead of smearing a film of olive oil, I might use vaseline, which is thicker and should seal better. I’ll let you know how that goes, unless I blow up the house.
So I watched, in frustration, as steam blew from too many openings and the pressure never got up higher than about 230. Damn damn damn. And it was getting later and later and I was just fed up with everything (this is what happens when you try to do TOO MUCH in one day and aren’t even enthusiastic about it), so I shut off the heat, waited for the pressure to drop back to zero, and sulked.
While I was sulking, I was also thinking to myself, “that’s some good-smelling spaghetti sauce!” without even wondering WHY I could smell it so abundantly.
And then I unscrewed the clamps and carefully lifted the lid off the canner.
I certainly didn’t expect to see tomato guts everywhere.
The thing is, I didn’t even hear anything that would have indicated that there was a problem. Unless it happened while I was outside annoying the spider with all my paparazzi-like flash photography.
What I figure happened was I must have put the band on the jar incorrectly. You know how sometimes when you’re trying to screw a lid on and it just won’t seem to get threaded correctly? I must have done that without realizing it, and then, under all that pressure, the band unscrewed and the lid popped off. And out gushed nearly a quart of tomatoey lava.
So – lesson learned – make sure you have the bands tightened CORRECTLY!
At least it was the lid, though, and not a jar actually shattering. That would have been worse.
And, as you may have noticed, I figured I’d take that yucky picture of tomato flotsam and jetsam and turn it into a banner for the rest of this month.
Because there’s no use crying over exploded tomato sauce.
And here’s this one – If at first your cans don’t seal, can, can again.