When preserving food in jars it is important to maintain a high level of cleanliness. Sterilizing jars is important to ensure not only there is no bacteria in the jar that could potentially spoil the contents but also the heat of the jar is also needed to maintain a good seal.
Here is the lowdown on the simplest way to sterilise your jars for pickles, jams, chutneys or anything you are packing into jars.
Easiest Way To Sterilise Jars For Preserving
There are a couple of ways you can sterilise your jars, whether you need them for jams, pickle or chutney. Some people boil them in water for 10 minutes which is ok but it does have a drawback in that you are limited to however many jars you can fit into your pan at a time.
I find the best way is to sanitise jars is in the oven.
Using this method you can sterilise a lot more jars in one go
Here is the process for sanitising your preserving jars in the oven:
1. Clean the jars scrupulously in soapy water and rinse well with warm water to remove any soap residue.
2. Place the cleaned jars on a baking sheet and place in an oven that has been heated to 140°C (280°F) gas mark 2. Leave in the oven for 10 minutes by which time the jars should be completely dry.
3. The lids can be sanitised at the same time as the jars, however, kilner jars that have rubber seals will need the rubber removed before sanitising as they will perish. Boil any rubber seals separately to sanitise.
4. Remove the jars from the oven, using some jar tongs can be helpful here and pack the jars with your jam, chutney or pickles whilst still hot from the oven. Remove any air bubbles and seal. It is important the contents and jar are still hot so a good seal can be formed.
Filling Whilst Hot Is Important
Packing your jars whilst they are still hot is important if you are making jam, chutney or pickles (with the exception of fermented pickles) because we want to create a good seal on the jar.
Take this Apple and Onion chutney as an example. After the chutney is cooked and still hot, the jars are removed from the oven once they are sterilised and then the jar is filled straight away and the lids screwed on.
The airspace in the top of the jar gets hot, this is the important part as when the contents cool the airspace cools and this creates a vacuum which sucks the lid onto the jar creating an airtight seal.
Properly sealing your preserves means they can last years in the pantry without spoiling. These simple steps will make sure all your preserves stay fresh and this is the first goal for preserving any food.