Sterilising glass jars and lids
If you are a seasoned home preserves enthusiast, you will already be aware of the importance of properly sterilising all your glass jars and lids before filling the jars with your delicious jams, pickles and preserves. If you are a beginner to the world of preserving, you may wonder what all the fuss is about or you may be unfamiliar with how to properly sterilise your equipment. In today’s post, we explain why sterilising your jars and lids is so vital and offer some handy hints on how to do it with the minimum of fuss.
Why sterilising jars is so important
To the naked eye, a jam jar might look perfectly clean and the lid might appear spotless. This does not mean that it is sterile, however, as germs and bacteria could be lurking inside the jar or on the lid. If you use jars or lids that have not been sterilised properly, there is a good chance that your preserves will spoil or go off, leaving you with nothing to show for your efforts. There is nothing more disheartening than having to throw away jam or chutney because it has grown mouldy or turned rancid, so take this step seriously whenever you make some homemade preserves.
Top tips for sterilising jars
Sterilising glass jars and lids is simple and quick to do, so there is no excuse for skimping on it and just hoping that your jams or pickles don’t perish. Heat the oven to 140°C. Wash your jars in hot, soapy water, then rinse them thoroughly to remove any soapy residue. Stand each jar on a baking tray and place the tray in the middle of the oven until the jars are completely dry.
Sterilising jar lids cannot generally be done the same way, so you may prefer to use the water bath method for both jars and lids. Set the lids and any rubber seals – if using Kilner jars – to one side and place your jars in a large pan with enough water to cover the jars completely. Bring to the boil and keep at this heat for 10 minutes. In a separate pan of water, add the lids and rubber seals and heat to around 82° for 10 minutes. Higher temperatures could damage the lids or rubber seals, so be careful.
Sterilising jar lids is just as important as sterilising the jars themselves, so don’t be tempted to concentrate only on the jars. If you sterilise your jars but not your lids, your preserves will still be at risk of perishing.