Jam jars must be clean and sterile before they are used. Cleaning need be no more that a good wash in hot water and detergent, followed by a rinse through with clean hot water.
Sterilizing is essential to kill of bacteria and mould spores that could ruin your conserves. It’s not a difficult process, and it makes a huge difference to the life expectancy of your conserves.
Here are three easy ways to get your jars hot ,sterile and ready for use.
- Remove rubber seals (if they have them) and place the jars in the oven so they are not touching each other. Close the door, heat the oven to about 120 C (270 F) and allow the jars to remain at that temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove each jar when it is needed, placing it on a heat-proof mat prior to filling it with jam.
- If you have a dishwasher with a high temperature or steam option, load the jars into the machine. Run it on the hottest cycle, and use the jars, one at a time, straight from the machine.
- Swill the jars with warm water, place in the microwave on a high setting and leave for 30 seconds to a minute depending on the size of the jar. Use straight from the microwave whilst the jars are still hot.
Meanwhile, don’t forget the lids. Pop the lids in a pan of boiling water and leave them there for ten minutes, then remove them as needed.
Using sterilizing chemicals, as used for brewing, isn’t recommended as they can taint the flavour of the jam and react with some metals.