How to Sterilize Preserving Jars in the oven

Knowing how to sterilize preserving jars in the oven is an essential part of preserving. Basically, it’s just the process of making sure you have a super clean jar to start the canning process with, whether you are making jams or jellies, bottling fruits and vegetables, chutney, marmalade, or just about everything in between.

Six Kilner preserving jars. Two are filled with pears in a vanilla sugar syrup. One is filled with preserved cherries. TThe remaining jars are empty. Image by Emma Lee - The Irishman's Wife

There are a couple of ways to sterilize preserving jars. As long as you have good quality, preserving jars (I use Kilner jars) You can simply pop the jars, minus lids and any rubber seals, in the dishwasher, set the highest temperature setting, and let it run through a full cycle. Personally, I’ve always preferred sterilizing jars in the oven as opposed to the dishwasher method, because I can keep them warm before filling!

How to sterilize preserving jars in the oven

  1. Handwash the empty jars in hot soapy water and rinse them of soap suds with hot water.

  2. Pop the clean jars on a baking tray with sides to stop them from moving around when being moved.

  3. Put the baking sheet of jars into a preheated 120 C oven for at least 20 minutes.

  4. To sterilize the jar lids, Pop the lids in a saucepan and cover them with boiling water. Continue to boil the lids for 10 minutes.

Cook’s Notes

Always bottle your preserves into hot jars, to ensure they don’t break when filled. Filling cold jars increase the risk of thermal shock – plus you get a good seal on the jar by filling a hot jar with hot food! I sterilize my glass jars while I’m preserving and keep them in the oven until needed.

After you’ve filled your warm jars with hot jam (or whatever else you’re preserving), an effective method to a good preserving seal is to tightly secure the lid and turn the jar upside down and leave it to cool at room temperature.

So there you have it. Go nuts preserving all the produce you can lay your hands on!

Love preserving? Here are a few recipes you might like…


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