Canning sterilizing question

patandchickens

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There's three different things here, y'all.

1) canning lids have to be heated to soften the sealing compound. Follow mfr's instructions, but generally just sitting them in very hot water for 5 min or so will do it. You SHOULD NOT boil or dishwasher or oven-ize them... it can warp the lid or damage the sealing compound.

(Canning rings do not need to be preheated or sterilized or anything like that in any way, just need to be clean of anything sticky or large rough particles of rust. Do not dishwasher or boil or heat your canning rings.)

2) glass jars should be reasonably hot if you are ladling hot food into them, to eliminate the possibility of thermal shock breaking the glass. This is not 'sterilizing' them, it is just warming 'em up to a more or less random but "warm to hot" temperature. Any of the methods in this thread will work fine for that, there is no reason to get all crazy about it because you are NOT trying to kill germs.

3) sterilization is when you are actually killing whatever germs are on a surface, and for glass jars it requires raising the temperature of all of the glass itself (not just its surrounding liquid or atmosphere) to near-boiling-point and leaving it that way for a few minutes. (To kill very resistant things like C. botulinum spores, you actually need to get *hotter than* boiling, achievable only in a pressure canner). This almost always occurs WHILE YOU ARE PROCESSING IN THE CANNER, rather than needing to be done as an initial step. The exception would be un- or minimally-processed goods, which *do* benefit a bit from having the jars truly *sterilized* first.

Pat
 

Whitewater

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Ah-ha :)

Thanks to Pat and Ridgerunner, I won't even put my lids/rings in the dishwasher now, didn't know you weren't supposed to. This will be the first year we have (hopefully) anything to can, so there ya go.

Last year's garden produced plenty of fresh, and a few oz of salsa and jam, but nothing that stuck around for more than a week. We just didn't grow that much.

This year will be a whole different story, though!

Anyhow, I've never had any experience sterilizing lids, for beer you always just put the cap on the bottle without doing anything to it at all, since the caps come in a sealed plastic bag.

I am planning on doing a lot of research on canning between now and August (which is when the bulk of the food will need to be harvested and prepared to preserve) but right now . . . total newbie. Total.


Whitewater
 

Chickie'sMomaInNH

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i've never put the lids or rings in the DW. when i've put the store bought lids in they used to rust so i never did that with the canning lids/rings for safety reasons. i usually toss anything that shows signs of rust anyways.
 

hoodat

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So long as your jars are clean and you are pressure canning I see no purpose in sterilizing jars in boiling water. The temp inside a pressure canner is much higher than boiling water gets.
 

yardfarmer

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Thanks for all the posts, good ideas. I re-read the Ball canning book and it said that hot water was the only way to heat the jars, not sterilize; my mis-interpritation.

Pat makes a good point about covering the butt, and there is really no reason to sterilize since the processing is what counts. I feel safer with sterilized jars when doing tuna and chicken, even when using the pressure cooker.

Will use the oven if we have to keep a number of jars warm for hot packing, but will probably cold pack tomatoes next time. Cold packed tomatoes look firmer in the jar as opposed to hot pack.
 
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