How to prepare your jars and lids for canning

When preserving fruits and vegetables it’s important to use clean and sterile equipment. In this post I’m going to talk about canning jar preparation.

Basically, when deciding whether you need to sterilize the jars or not depeds upon the processing times. If the the food is going to be processed in a boiling-water-bath or in a pressure canner for 10 minutes or longer, you don’t need to sterilize the jars before filling and processing them. If the processing times is less than 10 minutes the jars must be sterilized.  I prefer to sterilize my jars in any case. Just to be 100% safe.

Another thing you should do before you start canning is to look for chips and cracs in the jars. First of all check them visually and then run your index finger lightly along the edge of the rim to check for small chips. Always discard the defective jars.  Remeber that even the smallest crack or chip can cause the jar not to seal properly or it may cause it to break during the canning process.

After that you can wash the jars in hot soap and water or in the dishwasher. Rinse it thoroughly to get rid of any soap (do it even if you have previously used the dishwasher). That’s very important because soap residue left on the jars may affect thecolor and flavor of the canned food.

Now it’s time for sterilizing. Fill each jar with hot water and set them in the canning rack inside a canner. The canner should be at least half full of water. The jars should be covered with at least 1 inch of water.
Now it’s time to bring water to a boil. Leave the jars to boil for 10 minutes. The boiling time should be increased by 1 minute for each 1000 ft. above sea level.

When the designated time has elapsed, turn off the heat and leave the jars in the hot water.

How do you prepare the lids?

First of all check the lids and rings. Make sure the lids are not bent and the sealing has no defects. Use hot water and soap to wash the lids and rings. Rinse well and wipe dry the rings.  Then place the lids in a saucepan and cover them with water. Using medium-high heat, bring water to a simmer (180°F).  Then turn off the heat but leave the lids in hot water until they are ready to use. 

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