Is canning with fresh lemon juice a safety risk?

A:

Using fresh lemon or lime juice could be a safety risk. First, I hope you used a recipe that had been developed and tested by a reliable source. 

There is an industry standard for bottled lemon and lime juice. The acidity of freshly squeezed lemons and limes is very unpredictable. As they get more ripe, they get less acidic. Most salsa recipes that have been tested for safety rely on the acidity (pH) in bottled juice. If that is the case, the recipe will say “bottled” lemon juice. 

If the recipe is from a reliable source, such as an extension, USDA or Ball® publication and it does not say “bottled,” you should be ok, however, there aren’t many recipes from testes sources that do not call for bottled juice.

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