Sterilizing Jars and Lids
Before filling your jars with whatever you are canning, the first thing to do is wash your jars in soapy water. (My extra jars are stored in my garage so I always make sure that the dust, bugs and whatever else is washed off the jars).
Next, boil your clean jars. Some people only scald their jars before canning but I don't want to take any chances, so I boil my jars and lids for 5 minutes before canning. (I always add a couple tablespoons of white vinegar to the boiling water - this helps keep the glass clear and this is also especially helpful if you have hard water). Another way to sterilize your canning jars is to run them through the dishwasher and remove them just after the drying cycle when they are so hot that you can barely touch them. I prefer using the boiling water method because you can do a few at a time and you don't have to wait the entire dishwashing cycle.
|Canning jars in boiling water for sterilization|
Then the jars are sterilized and they are ready for whatever produce you are canning. I place the lids in the boiling water just before I begin filling the sterilized jars. Once I have finished filling the jars then the lids are ready to be used.