Hot Pack Vs Raw Pack: Pressure Canning & Water Bath

hot pack vs raw pack canning pressure canner simmer cook fresh green beans

As a new canner, there are so many questions that arise and so many resources to search to find answers.

One big question I had was what was better, and what was the difference in hot pack vs raw pack, especially vegetables like carrots, potatoes and beans.

Many pressure canning recipes and directions specify the processing times for “raw pack”, “hot pack” or both!


hot pack vs raw packing pressure canning
On the left is showing raw packing and on the right is showing the hot packing method

The Difference in Hot Pack Vs Raw Pack

Raw Packing – also called “cold packing”

Raw-packing is the process of filling jars tightly with fresh and uncooked (aka raw) food.

Some foods, especially fruit, will often float in the jars due to air inside they retain in their cells. The entrapped air in and around the food may also cause discoloration within 2 to 3 months of storage.

Raw-packing is great for canning pickles since pickles require minimal processing due to the very high acid content, and they need to retain the crispness of the raw vegetable.  It is generally also used for vegetables processed in a pressure canner, since the additional time heated from the pressure ensures plenty of cooking time.

Benefits of raw pack:

  • quicker
  • retains crispiness better
  • no need to heat up
  • stays the relatively the same size in jar

Hot Packing

Hot-packing is the practice of heating freshly prepared food to boiling, simmering it 2 to 5 minutes, and promptly filling jars loosely with the boiled food and followed by adding hot boiling water.

The hot pack process provides more benefits that I’ve found then raw packing in that it:

  • helps to remove air from food tissues
  • shrinks food (allowing more food in jars)
  • helps keep the food from floating in the jars
  • increases vacuum in sealed jars
  • improves shelf life

Examples of raw pack vs hot pack method results

Take a look and a few images below to see the difference of when using the hot packing method versus the raw pack method for the same food items.

The first shows the difference in method results for beef.

hot pack vs raw pack beef roast meat packing pressure canning

Next shows corn – which doesn’t appear to be too different in results.

hot pack vs raw pack corn vegetables packing pressure canning

And here are carrots – as you can see the carrots that are raw packed tend to float.

raw cold pack vs hot packing canning method results carrots

And finally chicken.

hot pack vs raw pack chicken pressure canning


When to choose raw pack or hot pack

  • Use the hot-pack method with pre-cooked foods or acid foods to be processed in boiling water rather than the pressure canning method, or vegetables that are more dense like carrots and potatoes. Also to use this if you want to prevent your food from possibly floating (however can still happen).
  • Use the raw pack method for pickles and vegetables to be processed in a pressure canner, to retain a bit of crispness, and if you don’t mind if they may float or discolor further in a few months after canning.



~~ And as always friends, take care, be kind to yourself and others, and always keep learning to be better and do better.


get some canned bread in a can


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