Home Canning: Jars and Lids
Sterilization of Empty Jars
All jams, jellies, and pickled products processed
less than 10 minutes should be filled into sterile
empty jars. To sterilize empty jars, put them right
side up on the rack in a boiling-water canner. Fill the
canner and jars with hot (not boiling) water to 1 inch
above the tops of the jars. Boil 10 minutes at
altitudes of less than 1,000 ft. At higher elevations,
boil 1 additional minute for each additional 1,000 ft.
elevation. Remove and drain hot sterilized jars one at
a time. Save the hot water for processing filled jars.
Fill jars with food, add lids, and tighten screw bands.
Empty jars used for vegetables, meats, and fruits
to be processed in a pressure canner need not be
presterilized. It is also unnecessary to presterilize jars
for fruits, tomatoes, and pickled or fermented foods
that will be processed 10 minutes or longer in a
Adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, NIFA-USDA (Revised 2015). Page reviewed February 2, 2017.
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