Sterilizing canning jars

Discussion in 'Preserving the Harvest' started by CarolynRenee, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. CarolynRenee

    CarolynRenee Well-Known Member

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    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! :)
     
  2. Yvonne's hubby

    Yvonne's hubby Murphy was an optimist ;) Staff Member

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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.
     

  3. judylou

    judylou Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  4. Gladrags

    Gladrags Well-Known Member

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    I don't bother sterilizing jars; everything is processed for at least 10 minutes.
     
  5. ai731

    ai731 Jan

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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...
     
  6. Prickle

    Prickle Freelance Cat Herder

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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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  7. Riverdale

    Riverdale Well-Known Member

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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 :D
     
  8. judylou

    judylou Well-Known Member

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    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?
     
  9. beaglebiz

    beaglebiz Wasza polska matka

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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.
     
  10. CarolynRenee

    CarolynRenee Well-Known Member

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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!
     
  11. suitcase_sally

    suitcase_sally Well-Known Member Supporter

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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.
     
  12. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  13. 7thswan

    7thswan Well-Known Member Supporter

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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.
     
  14. mullberry

    mullberry BONNIE BLUE

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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.
     
  15. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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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.

    Martin
     
  16. suitcase_sally

    suitcase_sally Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you are referring to the flats with the red compound on them, the directions on the box say "DO NOT BOIL".
     
  17. mistymomom

    mistymomom Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  18. Pouncer

    Pouncer Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  19. Fourthistles

    Fourthistles Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  20. judylou

    judylou Well-Known Member

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    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:

    http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_01/sterile_jars.html