Canning Tomatoes - Why do they Separate?

#1California Chick

11 Years
Dec 5, 2008
SF Bay Area
I have been canning tomatoes for the last week.

I have tried heating the fruit before I put in the jars.

I still end up with juice/water on the bottom and fruit at the top of the jars.

What am I doing wrong??

Thanks for your help!!

nothing. you might be able to pack them a little tighter in the jar. I mean cram them in there then remove all air bubbles and if you have room after air bubbles are removed then cram some more. if no more will fit then put your lid and ring on. but to be honest i always have some that seperate it is normal. they do that if you buy them in a can at the store too. it is when the air hits them when you cut the can open that they fall to the bottom of the can. tomato juice is the same, that is why you have to shake it up.
Do you boil your tomatoes before you put them in the jars?

I usually bring mine to a foaming boil and then put in the jars. I dont use a water bath. I place the jars upside down on the counter with a towel underneath so I dont scorch the countertop and in 24 hours, all are sealed up nice and tight. Saves time and hassle and I dont think I have had any seperate this time. Edited to say 'this is not an approved canning method'.

Like chickabator said, theres nothing wrong with them seperating but if you are like want them to look 'right'.
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Really? Our Cooperative Extension shared it with me.

And, I would know if a jar had gone bad...Peee-uuuuu and wouldnt use it.

I've been doing it for years (100's of quarts) and no botulism yet.

But, I edited my 1st post so as not to give anyone bad info...
I just picked up our extension office's new folder on it this summer since what I had was 30+ years old and I was picking up some of the folders for my DIL who just was starting canning this summer......The only two methods they recommend as being safe is either hot water bath or pressure canner.
I agree that there are only 2 safe methods for canning tomatoes. Google "Home Food Preservation" and find the national center for it. It doesn't recommend steam canners, oven canning, or any other method. It's also really specific about times & acid levels.
Some of the new information and methods are due to the lower acidity of tomatoes on the market now than lets say 10-20 years ago. They are compensating for this in the new standards. All of the newer canning books say to add 2 TBS of lemon juice per quart jar now (I haven't started doing that yet). I was a devoted Cold Water Bath Method canner but this year I started using the pressure canner just to save time and I love it.
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