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pH PH and Oxidization

Hi All,

Absolute newbie here in terms of food science, so pardon my ignorance.

Currently in the process of trying to tweak a hot sauce idea using fresh pomegranate juice. Towards the end of January I made a batch which appears to be going dark on the top of the bottles. Reading through posts it sounds like oxidization (see attached picture)

- The hot sauce has 13% Lime Juice & 6% White Wine Vinegar for acidity
- I'm using pomegranate, orange and grapefruit juice as the base (and xantham gum)
- Have been doing the hot fill method for bottling and then dipping in hot wax.

Questions I'm hoping someone could answer:

- If I pop the lid and there is no fizz, taste/smell is good - can I do a PH test at the point to confirm it has not spoiled etc? Or is it to late at this point for PH accuracy?
- Does oxidization occur quicker because the colour of the base it lighter (I.e. almost pink to light red)?
Other thoughts....

Given everything you've said, I'd focus on headspace. The bottle in the pic has a little too much headspace for my liking.

What causes headspace? Two things I think of are 1) not filling the bottle up close to the top, and 2) whirring and stirring (blending) the sauce, then immediately bottling it. Whirring and stirring introduces a LOT of oxygen into the sauce. Over time, that oxygen will move to the top of the bottle, increasing headspace and potentially causing oxidation. To minimize this, I create the sauce, whirring and stirring it, etc. Then, I refrigerate the finished sauce for 24 hrs, which lets it settle and the excess oxygen escape. After that, I just bring the sauce back up to temp (with minimal stirring)...