How to Sterilize Canning Jars

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We’ve formally reached the purpose in summer time when my backyard is producing far more greens than we might presumably eat. I’m speaking 3 or 4 kilos of cucumbers per day! As a result of I hate to see anything go to waste, I began studying how you can protect produce a couple of years in the past, and now, canning is one in every of my favorite summertime activities. On any given weekend, you could find me pickling cucumbers, zucchini, and beets or making jam from homegrown rhubarb and peaches.

I’ll be the primary to confess that canning could be a bit intimidating, as it’s a must to observe recipes exactly and correctly sterilize your gear to make sure the meals is suitable for eating down the street. There’s lots of completely different data on-line about how you can sterilize canning jars, so we turned to the consultants at Ball for definitive solutions on the way it needs to be achieved and when it’s vital. Right here’s what they instructed us.

Do All Canning Jars Have to Be Sterilized?

If you happen to’re questioning whether or not it’s worthwhile to sterilize jars earlier than filling them up with scrumptious preserves, the reply lies within the recipe’s processing time. “Jar sterilization just isn’t required previous to canning except the recipe getting used has a processing time lower than 10 minutes,” explains Stephen Galucki, Supervisor of R&D Recent Preserving at Newell Manufacturers. “In recipes the place the processing time is 10 minutes or longer, sterilization is achieved through the meals processing step.” Moreover, you don’t ever must pre-sterilize jars for those who’re stress canning.

Nonetheless, for those who’re water-bath canning and the recipe shall be processed for lower than 10 minutes, you’ll must sterilize your jars earlier than filling. Even when your recipe processes for greater than 10 minutes, you’ll be able to nonetheless sterilize the jars if you would like—it may’t damage! I are inclined to sterilize mine simply to be protected.

How one can Sterilize Canning Jars

Whilst you might discover “hacks” on-line that let you know to sterilize jars within the dishwasher or microwave, there’s just one USDA-approved technique for sterilizing jars. “The one solution to sterilize jars is by boiling them in water for at least 10 minutes at an altitude of 0 to 1,000 ft, with extra time added at larger elevations,” says Galucki.

1. Collect Your Tools

To sterilize glass canning jars, you’ll want a boiling water canner or a stockpot with a rack—the pot must be a minimum of 2 inches taller than the jars you’re processing. A jar lifter may even come in useful, however a pair of kitchen tongs will work, too.

2. Set Up Your Pot

Place the rack contained in the canning pot and organize your jars on prime of it, going through proper facet up. It’s vital to make use of a rack, in any other case the bubbles that type when the water boils will trigger the jars to bounce round and bang into one another, which might result in cracks.

3. Cowl the Jars With Water

Subsequent, fill the pot with sizzling water. It’s usually best to pour water into the jars first, then the encompassing space—in any other case, they’ll float up. You’ll need to fill the pot till the water is a minimum of 1 inch excessive of the jars.

4. Course of for 10 Minutes

Place your pot on the range and switch the burner on excessive. Convey the water to a roiling boil and course of the jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them at altitudes as much as 1,000 ft. If you happen to dwell at the next altitude, you’ll want so as to add one extra minute for every extra 1,000 ft of elevation.

5. Fill Your Jars

After 10 minutes is up, your jars are sterilized—straightforward, proper? From right here, you’ll be able to take away them from the water utilizing the jar lifter, fastidiously dump out any water, and fill them together with your processed meals. Watch out dealing with the jars, as they’ll be fairly sizzling!

If you happen to’re not fairly able to fill the jars but, you’ll be able to merely flip off the warmth and depart them within the water till it’s time to fill.

Wait, What In regards to the Lids?

Canning lids, however, shouldn’t be sterilized in boiling water. The excessive warmth can truly hurt the sealing ring on the underside of the lid, inflicting it to not seal correctly throughout processing.

“Ball lids don’t should be sterilized outdoors of the processing time or pre-warmed prior to make use of,” explains Galucki. As an alternative, you’ll be able to merely wash the lids with heat, soapy water earlier than placing them onto the jars.



What are you canning this season? Tell us beneath!


This submit incorporates merchandise independently chosen (and cherished) by our editors and writers. Food52 earns an affiliate fee on qualifying purchases of the merchandise we hyperlink to.

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