I would like to know how everyone sterilizes their canning jars, for water bath canning. For pressure canning, I use freshly washed jars. But for the water bath I have always boiled the jars just prior to filling them. I have recently changed to a vintage gas range, which is great, but it is a bit smaller than my old more modern electric range.
So - do you have one big pot with boiling water, only for jars sterilizing, and one for your processing? Or do you put the jars in the processing pot for a few minutes, then fill them and put them back in that water? I have done this, but am worried that after the first batch, the water may have juice or stuff in it from the first batch?
I have heard some people say the put their clean jars in the oven to sterilize, but then have heard that is not safe?
My dishwasher is not working properly, so that has complicated this seson of canning somewhat...
My MIL, uses a shallow pot with a couple inches of water, and puts the clean jars in that upside down to sterilize them. I guess she is figuring the steam will sterilize? I always thought the jars had to be totally submerged? I just would like to hear how you do it. Thanks for the input,
Okay, I just read this on the website called the National Center for Home Food Preservation...
"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."
So, I did not know this - I always sterilized everything that was not to be pressure canned....
I have always totally submerged mine and then put the filled jars back in the same water to process. I am making muscadine jelly today and plan to use my dishwasher to sanitize the jars. Hope it works.
My canning books also say that it is unnecessary to sterilize jars that will be water bath canned in boiling water for more than 10 minutes...which is everything that I can. So I don't "sterilize" mine. I wash them well and keep them hot while filling.
I wash mine and put in a 250 degree oven until I'm ready to use them...minimum 15 minutes. That way, the jars are hot, and having them in the oven keeps them off my very small counter until I need them. Never have had one break. Works well for me.
I sterilized mine the very first year I ever canned. In the 11 years since, I haven't bothered. We're all still alive and healthy . I hand wash mine, rinse well, then let sit in very hot water in the sink until they are ready to be filled. I raw pack most of my stuff, so take hot jar from the sink, pack w/veggies/fruit/jam, add the boiled water/vinegar/syrup, put the lid & ring on and put into the canner.
If your processing more than 10 min. it's not necessary at all. Think of it this way; if the contents of the jar get hot enough to kill the nasties and their inside the jar, then the jar (which is outside of the contents so to speak) ends up being sterile before the heat even hits the contents. :banana02:
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The only time I boil my jars is for jams and jellies. Other than that, I wash well in hot water, and if I am doing a hot pack, I leave boiling water sitting in them, on the counter. I empty those as I fill with whatever I am canning. For cold/raw pack items, I personally think it doesn't matter-but all jars, lids and rings must be spotlessly clean no matter what. Even brand new ones out of the case.
I rinse mine inside and out to get them wet, and then microwave them for 3 minutes. They are sterile at that point - I can't touch them bare handed. I leave them in the microwave until I'm ready to fill them, and if I take too long I heat them up again. Wetting them first keeps the glass from breaking. I sterilize all my jars, no matter what is going in them.
I also microwave my dish sponge, to kill bacteria and any smell.
I don't sterilize but when I need hot jars, I put water in my roaster oven and fill it with jars. It holds quite a few. I sure don't want the oven on while I'm canning -- well this year it has been okay but typical year I do not want any extra heat going in the kitchen and the roaster oven can be set up elsewhere.
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The county agent used the oven at 200 degrees and put them in the oven before beginning to prep the ingredients, keeping them in the oven until they were needed to fill. We just kept returning the tray to the oven with the hot jars until we needed them.
I put mine in boiling water. I tried the oven this summer, but if the temperature is cooler in your house and the cool air hits the jar, it can break them. I lost 3 jars and decided to forget the oven method. I am not sure I want to try the boil-it-more-than-10-minutes method as I use old jars, so I felt like they needed a good boiling bath sterilization.
Firegirl, I have jars that I bought in the late 60's that I'm still using for canning in both the waterbath and pressure canner. So far, I haven't had any problem with them breaking.
I'm not sure that I understand what you mean with your last sentence. The boil it for more than 10 minutes refers to the processing time for the contents of the jar. The processing time, itself, does the sterilization. If processing for less than 10 minutes, sterilizing the jars before hand is actually the same thing, as 10 minutes in boiling water is needed. (Hope that makes sense.)
I've always washed my jars, then fill with boiling water and set in the sink....keep my teakettle there and pour the water back in as I dump to fill with whatever I'm canning....so much water used when canning. At the end of the day I pour it on my flowers! When canning meat I generally hot pack so the jars are screaming hot, the food is boiling and it will be in the pressure canner for 75 minutes or so...what germ would dare survive??? DEE