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!
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. - Thomas Jefferson
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.
"Nothing so needs reforming as other peoples habits." Mark Twain
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.
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?
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.
I'd rather have one Chewbacca than an entire clone army.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.