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How to sterilize canning jars

Updated on September 26, 2014

Clear mason jars for canning

clear canning jar
clear canning jar | Source

Inspect and clean your mason jars

Start with your jars. I call them mason jars, and other people call them home canning jars. The jars come in different sizes. These are the jars to use since they fit home canning lids and when it comes time to learn how to seal canning jars then you will know what to do and to make sure you get a good seal. The jars lids and bands also come in regular or wide mouth. When I use a mason jar for taking a salad in I like to use the 1 quart wide mouth jar for my salad in a mason jar.

I start with the Ball Mason canning jars that I want to use. I pay close attention to each jar. I am looking for any cracks, nicks or any other defects in the jar. I always get my jars from Walmart and I never have had any problems with them. If you don't look for any cracks or nicks then you might have a seal failure on one of the jars which can result in your food going bad, or you have to put it in the refrigerator and eat it before it spoils. The food will not stay as long as the other jars that were canned correctly. Pay attention to this and you cut down your risk tremendously. I wash the jars and the lids in hot soapy water rinse them and set them aside. If you would like to you could always run them in the dishwasher and they will be clean also. The dishwasher option is a very good way to save some time.

Which one do you do?

Which method do you clean your canning jars

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Sterilize your lids too!

Lids placed in pot and set aside
Lids placed in pot and set aside | Source

Dishwasher or Hand Wash your canning jars

It really does not matter which one you use. When you put the jars in the hot water bath it gets sterilized. Most people would use the dishwasher for the canning jars. It is just as easily to draw up some hot soapy water and clean, rinse and dry them if you have time. You just want to make sure your jars are clean. if your jars are not clean than that can and will most of the time your food to spoilage and a loss of the quality of the items you were trying to can. Keep in mind that when you are cleaning the bands and lids that the lids are not reusable and the bands can be reused as long at they are in good condition.

This is how you sterilize your canning jars

Sterilize canning jars first for good results

The best thing for you to do is to decide on what kinds of food and recipes that you want to be canned, get the jar, lids and bands ready. This is one sterilization technique. Wash the jars in hot soapy water and then place in a boiling water canner. If you don't have a water canner than any old tall pot will do. Just make sure you have something on the bottom of the pan. You don't want the jars to sit on the bottom of the pan. I have seen people roll aluminum foil up into rolls and place it on the bottom.

Here is an example You cover the jars with hot water and bring them to simmering over medium heat. Let the jars simmer for about 10 minutes. Just set the screw bands to the side, and place the lids in a different saucepan and cover with hot water. Don't boil the lids. Sterilizing canning jars was not so hard at all. Once you do it you will know how to do it.

Canning is a great skill to learn. Learning the proper cleaning techniques will get you off to a great start. I plan on learning more so I can can my fresh collard greens from the garden

Clean jars make for tasty contents inside of them like this fresh tomato sauce

canned fresh tomato sauce in a jar
canned fresh tomato sauce in a jar | Source

Properly cleaning jars results in this

We made up a couple of batches of tomato sauce. It really taste great. This was all because we knew how to clean and properly sterilize our mason jars. Clean jars make for great tasting food no matter what you are canning.


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