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My wife was recently canning tomatoes, and her aunt asked if she was on her period because supposedly that will ruin the batch. Her grandmother is the one that taught her aunt, but neither of us had heard anything like that.

A cursory search turned up tons of anecdotal evidence, but it's entirely possible (likely?) that it's just people trolling. For example:

Some outlandish reader-suggested myths:

“Growing up Italian, a yearly chore would be helping with canning tomato sauce.. in September. The only way to get out of it.. was to be on your period. If you were on your period, you would be excused as they believed that you would ‘SPOIL’ the sauce.”

“If you were on your period and you touched a plant, you would cause the leaf to turn brown. So no touching any plants during your period.”

— Angela Fabiano

Period myths: Gynecologist separates science from superstition

In any case, we didn't find any kind of scientific evidence one way or the other.

Does canning (tomatoes) while on your period ruin or in some other way affect the canning process?

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    Can you cite a notable claim? – gerrit Jan 31 '18 at 15:48
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    A 2013 survey of Indian secondary school girls shows this is notable - 56% weren't allowed to cook during menstruation. – Oddthinking Feb 1 '18 at 3:19
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    @AndrewGrimm: No, I don't think so. Silly, perhaps, but consequential! – Oddthinking Feb 1 '18 at 4:58
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    Someone supporting the claim needs to provide a plausible mechanism for this. There are many superstitions around the world (especially India) relating to menstruation, but most of them would be laughable (if they weren't being employed to keep women "in their place"). – Daniel R Hicks Feb 1 '18 at 13:32
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    "Does canning (tomatoes) while on your period ruin or in some other way affect the canning process?" -- Only if you are absolutely terrible about personal hygiene... but then, it wouldn't matter much whether you're menstruating (or even a women) or not. So... my guess would be this myth is a) mysogynistic / religiously motivated, and / or b) some remnant from a time when "sterility" wasn't a thing (?). – DevSolar Feb 1 '18 at 15:53

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