How to Sterilize Canning Jars: Useful Tips You Didn’t Know About

Summer is the season of vegetables, during which Ukrainians actively make preserves for the winter. To ensure that your efforts are not in vain, it is important to sterilize jars properly, otherwise, they will explode and canned food will spoil.

How to sterilize jars and lids – the preparatory stage

First, let’s tell you why in general, cans “explode”. It happens because the jars initially have various microorganisms. If not sterilized, the contents of the jar will ferment and the lid will fly off.

Before you begin the sterilization process, check the jars for chips. Note that only whole jars without damage are suitable for canning. Do not use a lid that is not straight, rusted, or scratched.

Take a clean sponge and gently rinse the jars and lids. The best options are natural detergent, mustard powder, baking soda, or laundry soap. Ordinary cleaners, of which there are many in any store, are not suitable – they have too much “chemistry”, and it is not easy to wash them.

How to sterilize jars in the pot – use steam over the container

Fill the pot with water about halfway and wait until it boils. We put the lids in the pot, and put a colander, sieve, or grate on top. On them, we lay out the dry jars with the neck down.

Alternatively, you can use a special sterilizer. This device looks like a flat lid with one or more holes. In them and inserted into the jars.

The sterilization time depends on the size of the jar:

  • up to 1 l – 6-8 minutes;
  • 1 to 2 liters – 10-15 minutes;
  • 3 l and more – 20-25 minutes.

The signal that the jars are sterilized is the presence of large drops inside the vessel.

Remove jars and put them on a dry towel with their necks down. Take the lids out of the boiling water and also put them on the towel with the inside down. Remember that jars and lids have to be completely dry before you start canning.

There is a second option: we put the jar’s neck down in a large saucepan and put the lids next to it. If the jars do not fit, you can put them horizontally. Pour water into the pot so that it covers the neck of the jars. We wait for the water to boil, and sterilize the jars for 15-20 minutes. At the end put them on a dry towel.

How to sterilize jars in the oven – a quick and easy option

We put the jars on a tray or rack in a cold oven. You can have the neck down or up – it doesn’t matter. Wait for them to dry, too, no need – immediately after washing, send them to the oven.

Close the oven and set the temperature to 100-110 ° C, sterilize jars for 20 minutes. The sterilization time does not depend on the volume of the containers.

Turn off the oven and wait for the jars to cool. Take them out of there, wrapping them with a dry towel. If you take a wet one, the jars will burst from the temperature difference.

IMPORTANT: you can put screw caps in the oven, but those with rubber bands – can not, because they can melt. It is better to boil them in water for 10-15 minutes.

How to sterilize jars over the kettle – a method that suits everyone

Pour water into the kettle and wait until it boils. If the design of the kettle allows, we put the lids inside. Those hostesses, who don’t have a way to do it, can sterilize the lids separately.

We wash the jar, wait until it dries, and put it with the neck down into the kettle hole. If the jar is small, you can hang it on the spout.

Recommendations for sterilization time are the same as in the way with the pot. In the end, dry the jars and lids on a dry towel.

How to sterilize jars in a multicooker or steam cooker

Fill the bowl of the multicooker or steam cooker with water, and put the lids there. Set the steam nozzle and put the jars vertically with the neck down.

Turn on the technique and set the “Steam” mode. After the water boils, the sterilization time should be the same as in the methods with the pot and kettle. In the end, dry the jars and lids on a dry towel.

How to sterilize jars in the microwave – the subtleties of the original version

Pour 1-2 cm of water into the jars and put them in the microwave. Set the maximum power and time for 3-5 minutes. Wait until the water boils and large drops form inside the jar. Drain the water, and dry the jars with the neck down on a dry towel.

Remember that you can’t sterilize the lids in the microwave.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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