Canning 101: Air Bubbles in Finished Products

air bubbly applesauce

This time of year, people are canning apple and pear sauce. Makes sense, being that it’s fall and all. It’s a particularly satisfying product to preserve because so many families have these sauces in their regular mealtime rotation, so they give you the feeling that you’re truly replacing the grocery store with your own work. It’s a pretty nice sensation.

The only issue with these fruit sauces is that they are far more viscous than the jams of summer. As you pour them into the jars, no matter how diligent you are at removing the air bubbles, it’s inevitable that a few will slip by. This can sometimes lead to a bit of product loss as the jars cool and seal (though I’ve heard that if you keep the applesauce hot the entire time, from cooking to food milling to jarring up, it won’t do it). It can also result in the presence of tiny little air bubbles distributed throughout your finished product.

If you look closely at the picture above, you’ll see that the applesauce I canned recently has a scattering of tiny bubbles. These remaining bubbles are no big deal. The jar was processed for the proper amount of time and has a firm seal. It is just fine.

The only time you need to be concerned about the presence of tiny bubbles in your product is when they are active, start moving or fizzy up to the top of the jar when you open it. If that occurs, your product may be fermenting or contaminated. But if the bubbles are inactive, they are totally benign.


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95 Responses to Canning 101: Air Bubbles in Finished Products

  1. 51
    April says:

    I just canned apple chunks in a light syrup. My pints all turned out fine.
    However my quart jars seemed to turn out questionable. All of the fruit is on the top now and there are some air pockets and tiny bubbles in it. I thought I got all the air bubbles out! Is this safe to keep on the shelf or should I put it in the fridge and use soon?

    • 51.1
      Marisa says:

      As long as you followed the proper processing time and the seals are good, the quart jars are fine.

    • 51.2
      Jennifer says:

      I recently canned pears, and I followed all of the proper processing procedures. However, I noticed tiny bubbles in the jars. I opened one to check it, and they had completely gone bad. They looked fine, but the we’re all fizzy, and mushy. I would definitely test a jar.

  2. 52
    Ashley says:

    I just made three pints of Blueberry Jam using your recipe. I just pulled the jars from the canner and there are large air pockets in all of the jars! This has never happened before. They have all sealed, making those beloved ping noises. Has this ever happened to your before when making jam?

  3. 53
    Shawn Tampauskas says:

    I have bubbleing happening in jars as i am pulling them out of the cooker. It looks like they are cooking

  4. 54
    Gloria says:

    I have air bubbles in most of the jars, however one jar had moving action when I turned it upside down. Next day no action, should I discard just that jar, or what action should I take.

    • 54.1
      Marisa says:

      If you move the jar, then of course the bubbles are going to move. Air bubbles are only a concern if they are moving on their own while the jar sits completely still for many hours.

  5. 55
    Stori says:

    I inevitably get tiny air bubbles in any type of strawberry jam I make! I hate it! It doesn’t look appealing for my customers. I also have strawberry jams that look perfect minus the little bubbles when I put it in the jar but after it processes the fruit floats to the top and leaves only the liquid at the bottom. It sets fine but looks terrible. Any advice?

    • 55.1
      Marisa says:

      The air bubbles are hard to avoid, but the layering effect you’re getting is happening because you’re not cooking the fruit long enough and mashing it enough to work out the air during cooking. A good crushing with a potato masher during cooking will help rid the fruit of those air bubbles.

  6. 56
    Erin says:

    I recently made strawberry lemon marmalade dated 8 – 16 all 6 of my jelly jars sealed about 15 minutes after being pulled out of the canner. I went down to my pantry and noticed there are small bubbles throughout the jelly they are not moving around. Is my jelly ok to give as gifts and eat or should I throw that out I followed all directions to a tee. Any advice on the matter would be great for I am new to canning

    • 56.1
      Marisa says:

      Like I said in this blog post, the only bubbles that matter at the ones that are moving and active. If your product has some air bubbles shot throughout the product that are stationary and static, the product is perfectly safe.

  7. 57
    Blythe says:

    Thank you for this post. I am new to canning. I spent many hours yesterday slow cooking peaches using your vanilla peach butter recipe and then MANY of the small hours of this morning worrying about the air bubbles that appeared during processing… Cheers, Blythe

  8. 58
    Nancy says says:

    I am making apple sauce. When I boil Jonathan apples a white foam appears on top. After boiling, I washed the apples to remove the foam. Then I put the cooked apples through my Foley mill and the apple sauce had white foam mixed with it. I cannot remove the white foam for it is mixed with the apple sauce. Is this white foam bad for the sauce? I have never encountered this white foam before with Granny Smith or Red Delicious apples. Is this foam a spray they put on the apples trees? What can I do about this white foam, or should I just can it with the foam? Please help.

    • 58.1
      Marisa says:

      I have never experienced white foam in applesauce before, so I have no idea what to do about it. So sorry.

    • 58.2
      sandra says:

      I just canned apples in a light syrup and all had white foam almost like soap bubbles. I never seen this before. I don’t know if they are ok either. Have you found a reason yet?

  9. 59
    Patty says:

    I’m new at canning and have tried apple pie filling and peaches – in both cases my fruit sits on top of at least an inch from the bottom of the jar after processing. All the fruit is at the top of the jar – what am I doing wrong? The jars seal correctly just not very pretty.

    • 59.1
      Marisa says:

      It’s just a normal part of canning fruit. Sometimes, cooking the fruit a little longer will help avoid that float, but it’s just something that happens sometimes!

  10. 60
    Ashley says:

    We recently canned applesauce and 3 weeks later Im noticing the caps are under pressure and when i opened one the applesauce boiled out of it. Do you know the cause of this and is our applesauce no good(its only 3 weeks old)?

    • 60.1
      Jess says:

      Your applesauce is fermenting. It’s not good any more and should be tossed. It’s hard to say what the problem was but either the contents were not sterile or the jars never sealed correctly in the first place. To get a good seal and good preservation you need boiling hot product, clean jars, brand new dome lids that have been heated in a bowl of hot water, rings that are only fingertip tight (not clamped down as tight as possible) and finally the filled, lidded jars need the correct amount of time in a boiling water bath for the jar size you are using.

  11. 61
    Terry says:

    I canned pickle beets today. It’s my first time. I did everything it said to .I put a knife in it to get air bbbles out. Cooked it . And when I got the jars out it show little foamy air bubbles in it . Is it still good or do I need to redo it.

  12. 62
    Cindy Escoto says:

    ok, same thing here bubbles. So I understand from the other answers you gave there is not a reason to worry. But here is my question. Since all my apple slices are floating on top and the syrup is on the bottom is it ok to lightly shake the jars and mix the apples and syrup up a bit? I am afraid that my apple slices will get dry since all the liquid is at the bottom of my jars.

    • 62.1
      Marisa says:

      You can do that. However, there’s no way to prevent the apples from discoloring and drying since they’re floating.

  13. 63
    Maira says:

    Is the air bubble problem the same when u can homemade cooked salsa? I have air bubbles in some of them but not all and also the salsa is separeting, I think I putted to much liquid in it .

    • 63.1
      Marisa says:

      The same air bubble troubleshooting applies to salsa. If your salsa is separating, it’s because the tomatoes were heated, cooled, and heated again.

  14. 64
    Sandy Dawson says:

    Thank you for your information. I was worried about bubbles in my pear sauce so i of course Googled it and your site popped up. Worried no more. Thanks for being there!!

  15. 65
    Nancy Alexander says:

    Ditto to Sandy D. i have not canned in 30 yrs and am now happily back in the country w/ my own trees. Adjusted head space , re-bathed and still have some bubbles so happy to be reassured and also what to look for .

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