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  #1  
Old 09/24/10, 09:55 PM
 
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Sterilizing canning jars

I've used boiling water & even put my jars in the oven to sterilize them. Then today I thought to myself......can you sterilize the jars (obviously not the lids) in the microwave?

Anyone ever do this? Is it possible? I know that food doesn't get heated up evenly in a microwave. Would you just boil the water in the jars? I'm assuming it wouldn't be safe to just microwave the empty jars.

Inquiring minds want to know!

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  #2  
Old 09/24/10, 10:30 PM
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I dont bother to sterilize my jars, I figure if they are clean, they will get sterilized along with whatever I am canning. But then I dont do the hot pack thing, I always either pressure or hot water bath. I have never really trusted hot packing. I know, I know, the directions say......., but I still dont trust it. As far as sterilizing in the nuke, as long as you heat the jars for the correct time and temps...... I can see no reason that it wouldnt work.

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  #3  
Old 09/24/10, 10:30 PM
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I assume you know that anything that will be processed in either a BWB or a PC for 10 mins or more does not require pre-sterilized jars? Many just heat their jars in the dishwasher cycle immediately prior to filling the jars. While it doesn't sterilize them, it does sanitize them ready for filling.

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Old 09/24/10, 10:47 PM
 
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I don't bother sterilizing jars; everything is processed for at least 10 minutes.

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  #5  
Old 09/25/10, 12:02 AM
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I just wash my jars with soap & water, and then dip them in boiling water just prior to filling them. I figure that sterilizes them plenty...

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  #6  
Old 09/25/10, 12:51 AM
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I'm with the 'don't sterlize, just wash' group.

However I don't think a microwave would sterilize them anyway. Microwaves heat by exciting water molecules which glass shouldn't have very much of.

If microwaved glass/ceramic/plastic heats up very much on it's own, rather than from whatever food might be in it, it's not microwave safe.

I would think that boiling water in the jars would only sterilize the inside.

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Last edited by Prickle; 09/25/10 at 12:55 AM.
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  #7  
Old 09/25/10, 05:15 AM
 
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We have one of the larger electric roasters that I keep the jars in until I fill them. I can keep as many jars in it as will fit in my canner. It works well for me

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  #8  
Old 09/25/10, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
But then I dont do the hot pack thing, I always either pressure or hot water bath. I have never really trusted hot packing. I know, I know, the directions say.......
That is a curious comment. I don't understand your reference. Hot pack and sterilizing or not sterilizing jars are totally unrelated issues.

Processing in a BWB or PC is still required whether you use hot packing or raw packing methods. And with many foods, raw pack isn't an option. Hot pack is the only method one can use. Why would one not trust hot pack vs. raw pack?
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  #9  
Old 09/25/10, 08:23 AM
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I hot pack beef, venison and pork, only becasue you can fit more in the jar (preshrunk lol), but I use clean unsterilized jars, because the pressure canner I figure will kill anything alive. I prefer to raw pack poultry and fish, to prevent it from becoming rubbery.

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  #10  
Old 09/25/10, 01:04 PM
 
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Yah know.....I guess I really never thought of the fact that the Pressure Canning or Water Bath canning is sterilizing the jars anyhow. Duh.

I do, however, still sterilize my canning jars when I sell / give away goat milk to people.....in the back of my mind I guess I'm afriad I may kill somebody if I don't!

Not so much a stickler for doing it when it's just for household use though.

Thanks for the thought-provoking replies!

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  #11  
Old 09/25/10, 02:30 PM
 
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The directions for using microwave ovens say to NOT run them empty. If the jars have nothing in them, the microwave is essentially "empty", since water molecules are needed to "cook" food, so I don't think you would effectively sterilize the jars.

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  #12  
Old 09/25/10, 03:02 PM
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You got me thinking... Could the jars be sanitized with a bleach solution much as I do with my dairy equipment. I hate to boil water in the summer any more than needed and what a waste of propane.

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  #13  
Old 09/25/10, 05:07 PM
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I just wash the jars and rinse, leave them with hot water in them, and dump each one out as I fill. Each jar is then still hot as I put food in.

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Old 09/25/10, 06:48 PM
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The day that I can, I put my jars in the dish washer on pots & pans setting. They are so hot you can't touch them when she is done. -Oh- I do boil my lids though.

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  #15  
Old 09/26/10, 01:25 AM
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All we've ever done for years was wash in warm soapy water and rinse. For cleanliness, in theory, the water need only be warm enough to activate the soap to thoroughly clean the glass. If the glass is clean, there can be no undesired spores. And then, BWB or pressure canner is going to bring the jars and contents up to a higher degree of temperature than anything other than a pressurized steam cleaner. But if a person wants to err on the safe side, higher heat is where it should be.

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  #16  
Old 09/26/10, 08:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mullberry View Post
Oh- I do boil my lids though.
If you are referring to the flats with the red compound on them, the directions on the box say "DO NOT BOIL".
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  #17  
Old 09/27/10, 01:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mullberry View Post
The day that I can, I put my jars in the dish washer on pots & pans setting. They are so hot you can't touch them when she is done. -Oh- I do boil my lids though.

This is exactly what I do! I felt a little guilty "cheating", it's good to know someone else does the same. I've never had any problems doing it this way.
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  #18  
Old 09/27/10, 05:11 PM
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The only time I boil jars is for jams and jellies. I hardly ever have a problem with set, mold, or failed seals either.

Everything else is packed according to directions-but I am careful to make sure that if I am putting hot liquids/filling into a jar, that the jar is warm too.

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  #19  
Old 09/27/10, 06:17 PM
 
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FYI: we tend to throw around the word "sterilize" when we are really just sanitizing or at best disinfecting. Boiling water does not sterilize unless the items are left in it for hours and hours. The pressure canner, however, does sterilize; it's basically an autoclave (medical sterilizer) for home use. Boiling the lids or jars does not sterilize them, it sanitizes and heats them up so they don't shatter when filled with hot food and placed into the canner.

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  #20  
Old 09/27/10, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Boiling water does not sterilize unless the items are left in it for hours and hours.
Perhaps so, I can't say. But for the purposes of home canning, the term "sterilized" is used for the process of boiling glass jars for 10 mins.

In Case anyone needs the specific canning guideline reference to support the info that anything processed for longer than 10 mins need not be "sterilized", here is a link to it. Per USDA/NCHFP:

Quote:

Home Canning: Jars and Lids
Sterilization of Empty Jars

All jams, jellies, and pickled products processed less than 10 minutes should be filled into sterile empty jars. To sterilize empty jars, put them right side up on the rack in a boiling-water canner. Fill the canner and jars with hot (not boiling) water to 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Boil 10 minutes at altitudes of less than 1,000 ft. At higher elevations, boil 1 additional minute for each additional 1,000 ft. elevation. Remove and drain hot sterilized jars one at a time. Save the hot water for processing filled jars. Fill jars with food, add lids, and tighten screw bands.

Empty jars used for vegetables, meats, and fruits to be processed in a pressure canner need not be presterilized. It is also unnecessary to presterilize jars for fruits, tomatoes, and pickled or fermented foods that will be processed 10 minutes or longer in a boiling-water canner.
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_01/sterile_jars.html
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