If you want to prepare preserves (jams, vegetables in oil, sauces), there is an indispensable operation to do: the sterilization of glass jars. It is a fundamental process to remove fungus and bacteria and make safe and natural products that can be preserved for a long time. But, how to sterilize the jars? There are several methods to sanitize them in the best way: boiling in the pot, or using the dishwasher, the oven or the microwave oven. To avoid bacterial contamination of your preserves, it is obviously necessary to sterilize also new caps and lids or replace the old ones, including rubber seals, to ensure a perfect hermetic seal to the jars. But here's how to do.
Sanitizing glass jars for preserves is an operation that does not require much time and must be carried out both on new and previously used jars, this is essential to proceed in a healthy and safe way in the preparation of our home-made preparations . Before starting the operation make sure that the jars are intact, without chipping or cracks, use new lids and change the gaskets of the hermetically sealed containers as soon as they dry or change color. The first thing to do is to wash the jars with hot running water, taking care to wash all its parts, including gaskets and lids. But let's see how to proceed with the different methods of sanitizing glass jars.
In the pot
The sterilization of glass jars in the pot is the most classic method to use, and it is the one that takes the most time. Take a large pot with high sides and cover it with a clean cotton cloth. Now put the jars in it, with the opening facing upwards, and place the cotton cloth between the jars to prevent them from bumping. Fill the pot with cold water and let it boil for 30 minutes, add the lids after the 20 minutes of boiling. Once the necessary time has passed, let everything cool and then drain them upside down, always resting them on a clean cloth.
This procedure is also used to sterilize the full jars; this is intended for sauces, jams, fruit juices or short-cooked preserves, but not for the in-oil or in-vinegar preserves since oil and vinegar are already good preservatives. To proceed with this sterilization, follow the instructions for empty jars and let it boil for one hour. Then turn off the flame, and let the jars cool upside down.
In the dishwasher
The sterilization of the jars in the dishwasher is simple and practical as it allows the sanitization of jars and lids in one move. You can choose two methods, the quickest is to insert jars and lids, select the high temperature wash and, once finished, remove them from the dishwasher and let them dry. Otherwise you can use this other procedure: put the jars and lids in the dishwasher always choosing the washing at high temperatures, operate it for a few minutes, then take them out and rinse them with vinegar. Then put them back in the dishwasher and operate it again for a few minutes. Let them dry upside down on a clean kitchen towel. In both cases it is important that in the dishwasher there are only jars and lids, without other dishes.
In the oven
Sterilization of glass jars in the oven is a quick and easy method. Turn on the oven using a temperature between 100° and 130°: do not go above this temperature as the jars could break. Put them in a pan, being careful not to make them touch each other, bake them for 5 minutes, turn off the oven and let them cool in the closed oven for 20 minutes, adding the lids when the oven is still hot.
In the microwave oven is ideal for jams
Also the microwave oven is a quick solution to sterilize the jars, but it cannot be used for the lids, which will be previously blanched in the pot. For this reason it is a best method for hot food, such as jams: in fact, after filling the hot jar with the hot product, it will then be cooled upside down. This will also sterilize the lid. But here's how to do: put the jar in the microwave oven with a little water inside, turn it on for 2/3 minutes, or until it boils. Throw away the water and let it dry upside down on a clean cloth.