Sterilizing canning jars in an oven is a great way to keep your food safe. It's easy, too! Just follow these steps and you'll be on your way to delicious jams and jellies in no time.
To make sure that your canning jars are not touching each other, place the baking pan on top of a baking sheet.
The size of the baking pan is important to consider because you want your canning jars to fit in comfortably without being too snug or falling over.
You'll also want to use a baking pan that has sides, so that steam from boiling water cannot escape into the oven and potentially cause damage or cracks in the glass jar lids or rims as they heat up during sterilization. Make sure that it's oven-safe at 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121 Celsius), since this temperature is necessary for sterilization. It should also have handles; otherwise, how will you get it out once everything is sterilized?
The first step is to fill the jars halfway with water. Water has a low heat capacity, which means that it won’t transfer heat very quickly. This is beneficial because it will help maintain a steady temperature inside your oven, preventing your jars from cracking or breaking due to fluctuations in temperature. The water also helps prevent any boil overs that may occur during sterilizing and canning processes.
The jars should not touch each other, the sides of the pan, or its bottom. They also shouldn't touch the rack in your pan.
This will help prevent breakage and allow for maximum heating efficiency.
Don't forget to take the temperature of your jars with a thermometer. If you don't have one, you can use a dry fingertip—if the jar feels warm, it's ready for canning.
As an added precaution, I always remove my jars from the oven and let them rest on top of towels in a place where they won't be disturbed or knocked over by pets or kids until everything is cool to the touch. If you're using an electric stovetop (like most people), make sure to turn off your burner when you're done heating up your jars so they don't start cooling down too quickly before they're ready!
Once your jars are sterilized and cooled, it’s time to remove them from the canning pot. Use tongs to grip each jar and carefully pull each one out of its hot water bath. Set them on a clean countertop or towel, away from anything that might scratch their surfaces.
Don’t be tempted to put your freshly sterilized jars directly into storage; even though they’ve been sanitized, they still need time to dry before you can store them properly. This will prevent rusting and cracking, which could compromise the seal on your new batch of pickles.
If you don’t have a steam bath, all is not lost. You can sterilize jars in the oven or in a dishwasher.
We hope these tips have helped you get started with canning!