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Food Safety Issues/Preserving lemons - air bubble ok?



I've preserved lemons before, although not to send as holiday gifts.  This year, in addition to packing lemons with rock salt, I also water bath canned for 10 minutes after filling.  However, due to the large size of my lemons (for some reason Meyer lemons in Hawaii are gigantic) and the fact that I squeezed the lemons whole into my jars (as opposed to chopping up), as a result there are air bubbles trapped in my jars.  Is this a problem?  There are also spices in my jars, including cloves, black pepper, red chili flakes and bay leaves.  

Thank you for your help.

Jenny E.

Hi Jennifer,

If there's too much air in the jar, it can interfere with the jar's ability to drive out the extra air in the top and develop a good seal. While your jars may initially be sealed, it is possible that the air bubbles may cause the seal to weaken over time.  

I'd examine your jar every 2 weeks or so to see if they are holding their seal. If you notice the seals not holding I would refrigerate the jars for long-term storage.

Happy Holidays!


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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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