Reusing the glass jam jars housing shop bought products may seem the simplest way to supply yourself with jars to fill with your own home made produce. However these can be tricky to clean properly and often come with printed, poor quality lids, meaning you could be better off buying a batch of suitable jars of your own.
By buying your own you can select the exact shape, size and design you need to show off your homemade jams and chutneys to advantage and make sure you have good quality, well fitting lids and the appropriate labelling.
Sizes and Shapes of Glass Jam Jars
There are myriad varieties of glass jam jars available to buy so don’t just settle for a straight up and down shape. If you are selling or gifting your home made jam, chutney or pickles you’ll find decorative jars add great aesthetic value. Round bonbon or globe jars look quaint and traditional, or you can find jars embossed with fruit shapes. This, along with some attractive labelling, makes a simple jar of fruit jam look professional and well dressed.
If you are planning to make large quantities it may sound sensible to go for larger jars, but in fact smaller jars will make the product go further and look precious. Bear in mind also that well sterilised and sealed jars can be stored for a while, but once the jars are open their shelf life is limited so smaller jars are more likely to be finished before any unsightly or dangerous bacteria start to grow.
Sterilising and Sealing Your Glass Jam Jars
Whichever size and shape of jam jars you decide to buy, remember you must always sterilise and seal the jars properly.
There are various methods for sterilising and probably the easiest involves putting them through a dishwasher on a hot cycle. Alternatively try immersing them in a saucepan of water and boiling for a few minutes. Dry the jars thoroughly in an oven set on a low heat before using.
It’s important not to sterilise the jars too far ahead of the time you plan to use them. Ideally they should still be warm from the sterilising process when you fill them.
Once filled, you should also seal your jars carefully. The sooner you seal the jars after filling, the better, to prevent too much oxygen or bacteria coming into contact with the food. Use a wax disc topped with a cellophane cover and elastic band or, for added security, a screw top lid. Buy these items with your glass jam jars to ensure you have the correct size and amount available when you need them.