Hello! This article is from our in house magazine 'The Good Life' - Free inside all orders
When preserving food good hygiene is essential to avoid contaminating produce. Sterilising jars and lids and all preserving equipment is essential and should be undertaken alongside food preparation, meaning jars are washed and sterilised just as the food is ready.
Before starting to make your preserves, ensure you have washed all your equipment really well. Simmer funnels, spoons and tongs in boiling water for 10 minutes and leave on a clean tea towel or kitchen roll to dry and cool before use.
There are a number of methods for sterilising the jars. Some customers prefer sterilising in a microwave or dishwasher but our recommended method is as follows:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 120C
2. Thoroughly wash the jars and lids/seals in hot soapy water and rinse.
3. Leave the jars upside down on a clean tea towel to drain. Put the lids on a separate clean tea towel, spreading them out upside down.
4. After a few minutes, place on a clean oven tray with the jars in the upright position.
5. Place the jars in the oven and pop the lids and seals into a pan of boiling water, around 10 -15 minutes before you think your jam/preserves will be ready.
6. Remember it doesn't matter if the jars are in the oven longer - as setting point can be unpredictable.
7. So, once setting point is reached, remove the pan from the stove and carefully remove the lids from the pan with tongs and the jars from the oven with gloves and allow to cool just a little.
8. Transfer still warm produce to the still warm jars and seal with waxed discs (wax side down) and pop on the seals/lids.
Of course modern lids have a heat sealable band and lining and so wax discs are in fact optional. A damp cloth is handy for handling the jars . How to Sterilise Jars & Bottles Are you a marmalade maker? Why not enter the world famous Dalemain amateur marmalade competition? The process for bottles is just the same, being sure to remove any non-glass feature of the bottle such as rubber seals or stoppers.