If you are making homemade jams, jellies or pickles you’ll need to sterilize your jars before you fill them with your preserves. To sterilize jars, place them in a large pot or canner, cover them with hot water, bring water to a boil and leave jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Then, place jars upside down on a clean towel or rack to drain.
If you are sealing your preserves you’ll need to sterilize the lids as well. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for sterilizing these, they are usually placed in boiling water as well.
I also sterilize my utensils as well; this includes the ladle, spoon and funnel for filling jars and the tongs or magnetic wand used for picking up hot lids and jars out of the water.
Although this is no longer recommended, jars may also be sterilized in the oven. I prefer this method for jams and jellies as it ensures the jars are dry, so there is no added moisture. However please note, I sterilize everything in boiling water first so I’m basically just keeping the jars hot and sterile. I highly recommend that you do the same.
So, after you remove your jars from the boiling water… Place the jars in the oven, I put them on a clean cookie sheet, turn the heat to 200 deg. F, once the oven has reached temperature, heat jars for 10 minutes. Then, turn off the oven leaving the jars inside until ready to fill.