Canning Lids Not Sealing

Looked but did not see this answered. My apologies if it is a repeat.

I am just learning to can. I tried jelly, jam, and preserved cherries.

The flavor, consistency, jelling are all great. However, about a third of the time the lids don’t seal.

The jars are new. No chips on rims.
I wash the lids before using but I dont boil them, per Ball instruction (I think)
I wipe the jar rims with with moist washcloth before putting on lid.
I measure the head space as exactly as I can.
I am using the hot pack method.
I follow the canning and cool down times exactly.
I fill water a bit more than 1 inch above lids.
I thought maybe they were too tight so I loosened slightly. Then none sealed and several lost volume.
Im not good at estimating “fingertip tight” so maybe that is it. I tried slightly tighter - last night made strawberry rhubarb jam, they all sealed. But same way this am, strawberry jam, none sealed.

Any thoughts?

Thanks wise and experienced people :grinning:

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Are you using Ball brand canning lids ?

I have not had one to fail yet and last fall I re-used some and they all sealed.

I am not sure what would make (lots) not seal. I have heard that some off brand lids do not work so well.

Good Luck


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Try to tighten the ring after you take it out of hot water, it usually get loose in water bath. Use silicone gloves to hold both jar and ring. Do not take the ring off until next morning.The idea of sealing is simple. Make sure it is tight first. If it is not tight the lid will be pushed up by the pressure of hot air inside the jar and will make it not airtight. When your content is hot and ring is tight the air can’t escape or come into the jar, so when it cools the pressure inside the jar goes down below your room pressure and now you can take off the ring, the negative pressure will hold the lid in place.


Hmmm. Agree on keeping the lids tight and not taking them off too soon. I usually use the namebrand lids but have used the others too and have only ever had maybe two not seal over the years. I do keep the lids in hot water until I apply them. Not sure if that is recommended anymore but that’s how I learned to do it. Good luck. Sounds yummy.


Thanks for the quick responses! That’s awesome!

A lot of the lids at did not seal were Ball, and there are other brands.

I will try tightening the band while the jar is still under water. I will let you know what happens.

Today I made a small batch of canned potted sweet cherries in light syrup - 1 pint jars and a half pint jar. They all sealed. That was before writing this message.

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Tighten the band after you remove it from the water bath but while it’s still very hot. If the lids are too tight in the bath they can over pressurize and break.


You don’t say whether you’re using water bath or steam. Here are directions on both:

I’ve had a lot of lids fail to seal from the pressure cooker. I think it’s because I let them get too hot too quickly. USDA directions are to remain at boiling at sea level for 10 minutes before applying pressure. This gradually heats the cans through, and the contents come to positive internal pressure before external pressure is applied. Paradoxically, if external pressure is applied too early, the contents boil over, wrecking the seal. I’m guessing the seal is achieved during cool down without the contents coming to a full boil.


Sorry. I am using water bath for fruit. I have not tried pressure canning yet. I stick to the recipe very close.


I do too. Water bath works very well.

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Thank you all for your advice. Today I canned 4 1/2 pints of sweet cherries. It went very well. I don’t have silicone gloves but I found I could hold the jar in place with the jar picker upper tool, and tighten the lid band using metal hot dog tongs, and that worked fine. They all sealed.

Fruit season came on fast. At the local market, sweet cherries were $5 / pound. I have put up about 30 pounds total. I never had canned sweet cherries before. They are really tasty. My sweet cherry trees had a very “on” year this year, and even with lots of splits there were many perfect fruits.

Next: Pie cherries. I’m using the recipes from " The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving" and will make North Star tart cherry pie filling.

I am using a Presto Digital Pressure Canner. It’s a little complicated but Im learning, Im using it in the boiling water canning mode.


Thank you all again for your advice. Today I made one batch (7 half pint and one quarter pint) jars of raspberry jam. This was with the reduced sugar pectin. It jelled very nice and tastes great, and all of the lids popped with your tightening technique.

I decided not to go with canned cherry pie filling. I made one batch, and the cherries all lost their shape with the pre cooking. So I froze those.

This was my first decent red raspberry crop. Raspberry jam is a big favorite. It turned out exactly right :grinning:


Looks great. Raspberries do not need pectin. :blush:


As Mrs. G says. I do, however, grate one apple into two pounds of raspberries, along with three cups of sugar and a splash of lemon juice.


Agree with Mrs. G. Raspberries really don’t need pectin. Commercial pectin is there to make things as consistent as possible. If you learn to spot the jellying point, you don’t need it for most fruit. Especially not high acid high pectin fruit. I made a patch of honeyberry jam with just fruit and sugar and one of saskatoon jam with just fruit, sugar, and a bit of lemon juice last weekend. Interestingly, I also made a batch of strawberry WITH pectin (I only had one package, so I used it on the fruit I thought was going to be lowest in pectin), and it was the only one that didn’t jell all the way. In fairness, I was a little lazy and didn’t really cook it out quite enough. My bad. But pectin has been so difficult to come by lately, I’ve been making an effort to not use it if I don’t need it.

Get good seals can also be easier if you keep the lids in a little pot of hot (not boiling!) water. It keeps the sealing compound soft.

I find that all stone fruit takes on a weird, off-flavor when frozen. It goes away when you cook them, but it’s something to watch out for. I no longer try to, for instance, use frozen peaches in a fruit salad. Great for pies, though.