Preparing jars and lids for canning is a very important step in the canning process.
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Inspecting Your Canning Jars:
First, examine your jars for any defects, nicks, cracks, unevenness, etc. This is an important step, any flaws in your canning jars may cause failure in the canning process.
Washing Your Canning Jars:
If no flaws are are present, wash your jars (old or new) in hot, soapy water and rinse thoroughly, or run them through the dishwasher.
Tip: Do not use anything abrasive on your jars as this may damage the glass.
Heating Your Canning Jars:
Before filling your jars, they need to be heated (for 10 minutes), so they don’t break during processing. Place jars in a pan with enough water to cover the tops of them. Bring the water to a simmer (180 degrees) on your stove top, keep jars in the simmering water until they are ready to be used. Remove the jars from the simmering water, one at a time, as you are ready to fill them.
New to canning? You might also want to check out Getting Ready to Can.
Lids and Bands:
Choose the appropriate sized lids and bands for the jars you will be using. Inspect them for defects and damage.
Important: Be sure to use only new lids each time you can, the rings are reusable.
Wash lids and bands in hot, soapy water, then rinse in hot water. Dry Bands. Set lids aside to be heated.
Before using your lids, they must be heated for 10 minutes. This helps the lids to seal properly. Place lids in a sauce pan, and fill with water to cover. Heat water to 180 degrees (do not boil). Keep the lids heated until you are ready to use them.
For more information on home canning, go to National Center for Home Food Preservation.