There are two great ways to sterilize the jars, rings, and lids of canning mason jars, both of which are super easy to do. Before we start, remember that your lids should always be handled separately. Exposing them to high heat can ruin the inner lining that helps the jars seal. Also, it’s best to use new lids each time you can. You don’t want to worry about giving your family something like botulism because of a bad seal, so don’t risk it by using old lids.
Using the Dishwasher to Sanitize
If your dishwasher has a sanitation mode, then all you have to do is load the dishwasher with your jars and rings, hit the sanitize button, and sit back and wait. This method is nice because your dishwasher will heat up the glasses to the perfect temperature for canning. You’ll just want to make sure to time the dishwashers end cycle with your recipe. My dishwasher took 2 hours to sanitize, but it went through a wash cycle, followed by the sanitation cycle. If you’re doing something like stewed tomatoes, you won’t even need to start your recipe until the dishwasher cycle is almost complete. Another thing to note, if your dishwasher won’t do a clean and sanitize cycle, just pre-wash the jars and rings ahead of time.
For those lids, just set them in hot water for about 10 minutes before using them to seal the jars.
Using a Pot of Hot Water to Sanitize
Sometimes I prefer to do this method to help speed things up. Where the dishwasher takes multiple hours, simply boiling a pot of water and doing the hot water method of sanitizing takes around 30 minutes.
- Begin by washing the jars, rings, and lids in hot soapy water.
- Place the jars and rings in a big pot of water and place on your stove on high.
- Bring the water up to a boil, and boil the jars and rings for 15 minutes.
- Turn off the water, wait 10 minutes, then throw in the lids.
- Heat up the lids for at least 10 minutes, then everything is ready to be used.
- You’ll need to use the jars, rings, and lids within an hour, or you’ll have to do the sanitation process over.
- The bonus is that this same big pot can be used for the water bath needed for canning – so don’t pour out that water!