How to Sterilize Jars

I love making jams, preserves and pickles at home.

When I do it it makes me feel so good, and now that the summer is coming – considering that for better or for worse in this period we are forced to spend a lot of time at home – I find it an excellent pastime.

Often I am told that making these preparations at home is not safe and that the processes for making the jars sterile are difficult and long.

Nothing could be more false!

However, it is certainly true and very important to avoid any risk, that every time a jam or a preserve is made at home, sterilization is done properly. Sterilizing, in fact is a crucial part of preserving to remove any bacteria, yeasts or fungi thus protecting the food you put into the jar and to preserve for the risks of botulinism. Dirty or jars not correctly cleaned will infect the food inside, and it will spoil very quickly.

So sterilizing you jars is a quick and easy process that you should never slip.

In this post I therefore indicate the methods that I prefer and the indications of how I do my sterilization.

First of all, here are some tips, valid for all methods:

  1. Even if you use recycled jars, take care to buy new closure capsules every time.
  2. Check your jars for any cracks or nicks before you start.
  3. Sterilize more jars than you think you will need.
  4. Do not add cold food to hot jars, or hot food to cold jars.


Take a large pot and lay a clean cotton towel inside.
Wash all the jars well and then put them in the pot, taking care to separate each other with a part of the towel.
Cover with water so that they are completely submerged.
Turn on the flame and bring to a boil, cover it, and, since it starts to boil on low heat, let it boil for 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let it cool inside the pot. Then pull the jars out one by one with the help of a spoon and before filling them, invert jars onto a kitchen towel to dry.
Jars should be filled while still hot.


Preheat the oven to 120° static. 

Wash the jars thoroughly using warm water and washing up liquid and rinse clean. Place a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray.

Place upright jars and lids separately on the baking tray. 

Heat jars in the oven for 25 minutes.

Remove jars and fill immediately.


Personally I don’t use often this method because my dishwasher only reaches 70 °.

Anyway, if you have a high-temperature setting on your machine or a sanitizing cycle, this is a good method for sterilizing your jars.

Fill your dishwasher with clean cold jars, set the cycle to the highest setting or sanitizing setting if it has one and let it run.

Leave to cool slightly in the dishwasher and remove each one as you need it.

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