Sterilize Canning Jars

Edited by Rich, Jonathan, Lynn, Eng and 8 others

Sterilizing jars for canning.jpg

Canning is an excellent way to store and preserve foods. Using contaminated jars promotes the growth of Clostridium botulinum, which is the bacterium that causes botulism. Botulism can cause paralysis, nerve damage, and death.

Was this helpful? Yes | No
Ad

Sterilization Process

Proper sterilization of canning jars and lids is important to preventing botulism.

Tools

  • A Large pot
  • Tongs
  • Canning jars and rings
  • Soap
  • Water

Instructions

  1. 1
    Clean everything
    .
    Dirty hands and tools introduce bacteria and toxins to canned foods. Clean everything to reduce the chance of exposure.
    Advertisement
     
    1. Wash and rinse your hands.
    2. Dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel.
    3. Wash the jars and lid rings.
    4. Wash the pot.
    5. Wash the tongs.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  2. 2
    Prepare the pot
    .
    Advertisement
     
    1. Place the jars in the large pot.
    2. Add water. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the jars. The jars will float, allow water to fill the jars and they will stay submerged, then add more water to increase the volume.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  3. 3
    Bring the water to a boil.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  4. 4
    Boil the jars for 15 minutes
    .
    15 minutes is the least amount of time required to destroy all traces of Clostridium botulinum.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  5. 5
    Turn off the heat after at least 15 minutes
    .
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  6. 6
    Add lid rings to the pot
    .
    Sterilize the lid rings once the heat has been turned off. Place the rings into the pot until they are needed.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  7. 7
    Add tongs
    .
    The tongs should be sterilized as well since they will be used to lift the jars out of the pot. Add the tongs with the lids and leave in the water until needed.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  8. 8
    Important
    !
    Any jars not filled and sealed within an hour should be sterilized again.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  9. 9
    All clean
    !
    The jars are now ready to be filled and sealed by your best preserves.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No

Using The Microwave as an Alternative Method to Sterilization

Modern technology enables us to sterilize canning jars in faster ways than the traditional method of placing these jars in a pot full of water and boiling them. A speedier way to sterilize jars for preserving is by using your microwave oven.

Was this helpful? Yes | No
  1. 1
    The jars should be washed with soap and water and rinsed thoroughly
    .
    Advertisement
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  2. 2
    Pour about two inches of water into the clean canning jar and then place it in the microwave oven
    .
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  3. 3
    Heat the jar for five minutes, or up to the time that the water heats to the boiling point
    .
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  4. 4
    Remove the jar from the microwave oven, using an oven mitt or a heat-safe glove
    .
    Then pour out the water.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No

Questions and Answers

Is Microwave Sterilization a Safe Method

Yes, sterilizing with the use of microwave is safe.

Here's how you should microwave Sterilize

  1. 1
    The jars should be washed with soap and water and rinsed thoroughly
    .
    Advertisement
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  2. 2
    Pour about two inches of water into the clean canning jar and then place it in the microwave oven
    .
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  3. 3
    Heat the jar for five minutes, or up to the time that the water heats to the boiling point
    .
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  4. 4
    Remove the jar from the microwave oven, using an oven mitt or a heat-safe glove
    .
    Then pour out the water.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
    Advertisement

Tips, Tricks & Warnings

  • Before placing the food in a jar, it must be sterilized.
  • Microwave sterilization is safe to use. Do not use old rusty lids for the jar. Buy a new lid or cellophane or wax discs to make a good seal.
  • DO NOT PUT METAL LIDS IN THE MICROWAVE. EVER!
  • Boiling water will sanitize the jars.. The purpose of heating the jars is partly to prevent the jar breaking if hot food is being put into the jars.
  • Sterilization is necessary to prevent growth of microorganisms, reaction with oxygen, activity of food enzymes, and moisture loss.
  • A food becomes spoiled if it has insect-damage, bruises, and diseased food.
  • Allow enough time to properly prepare all tools and vessels for your preserves.
Was this helpful? Yes | No

I was just wondering if the microwave is safe to sterilize the canning jars for water bath use. I just read a USDA sight that said no.

Safe or not safe the USDA sight said it's not safe, I was wondering if this wasn't updated

VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

After I get the jelly in the jars and put the lid on the, I place them back into the boiling water again to seal the jar? First timer here?

When you take the sterile jars out of the pot and fill them then put the lids on, do you place them back in the pot to boil again to seal them? I have tried: beginner.

No, you don't. The jar will likely explode. If you've sterilized the jars, then you're good to go. Seal them properly, and let them cool on their own.

VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

Tips Tricks & Warnings

  • Reuse lids at your own risk. Lids can be easily damaged and microscopic deficiencies can break a seal. Reuse sealing lids at your own risk. If you are going to reuse a lid then add it with the jars in the boiling water.
  • Higher elevations. The boiling time increases at higher elevations. Add one minute to the boiling time for each 1000 feet of elevation.
  • Fill with warm material. Adding cold ingredients to a hot jar can causes defects, or cause the jars to shatter. Only fill the canning jars with warm materials.
Was this helpful? Yes | No

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please post in the comments section below.

Comments

VisiHow welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.

Article Info

Categories : Cooking

Recent edits by: vc, Dougie, nice spice

Share this Article:

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 4,531 times.