Preparing Jars and Lids for Canning

Preparing Canning Jars and Lids

Preparing jars and lids for canning is a very important step in the canning process.

The process below is used for glass canning jars and two-piece, metal, vacuum-seal, canning lids.

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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.

Any questions? Let me know in the comments below, or send me an email. Can’t wait to hear from you!

You might also want to check out these posts:

Making Syrup for Canning Fruit

Introduction to Food Preservation

Homemade Salsa-Canning Recipe

How to Make Crab Apple Jelly

About Nelle

I am Nelle. I grew up in rural, small town, Ohio. When I was young, I learned a lot about homesteading from my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, 4-H, FFA, and others around me.
Now, I’m all grown up, have 6 children of my own, and plan to teach them everything I know.

Here on Mama’s Homestead, we talk and write about homesteading, homeschooling, and kidsteading (homesteading with kids). We teach our kids about survival, self-sufficiency, gardening (vegetable, herb, flower), orchard, beekeeping, home keeping, soap making, harvesting, cooking, food preservation, livestock, nature, crafts, homesteading tools and wares, and more…

Welcome to my homestead…come and learn with us!


  1. I still remember you showing me how to can… :) I think the last time I canned with you, we canned plum jelly? Not a lot of jelly actually made it into the jars… I kept sneaking it! ;)

  2. What if I heat the lids in simmering water but haven’t made enough jam to fill all the jars and lids I heated? Is it safe to reuse these lids? Or is that considered ‘used’ and I need to discard even though I never tried to form a seal?

    • As long as you have not heated the lids to boiling or formed a seal with them, no, they are not considered ‘used’ and you can use them for canning.


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