How to sterilise jars for jams and preserves

If you're making your own marmalade, jam, chutney or pickle, make sure your jars are clean to maintain freshness. We show you how in three easy steps.

If you’re making your own preserves, make sure your glass jars are scrupulously clean so that the contents won’t perish. Our steps show the jars being used to keep homemade mincemeat, but you will find this technique useful when making any marmalade, jam or chutney.


Want to get started on a batch of fruity jam? Check out our top tips on how to make strawberry jam and watch our video to learn about the all-important setting point and how to test jam. Experiment with more fresh flavours from our ultimate jam collection and kit out your kitchen with our review of the best jam making equipment.

Step 1:

Clean jars on towel
Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Wash the jars in hot, soapy water, then rinse well. Place the jars on a baking sheet and put them in the oven to dry completely. If using Kilner jars, boil the rubber seals, as dry heat damages them.

Step 2:

Mincemeat in jars
Spoon mincemeat into the hot jars and pack down well to remove any air bubbles. If you’ve made jam or chutney it’s important that mix is still hot when filling the jars.

Step 3:

Jars of mincemeat being sealed
Place a waxed disc directly over the surface to create a seal, then add a lid or secure on a cellophane lid with an elastic band. Label, and add pretty fabric tops and ribbons if you’re giving as gifts.

Making homemade preserves for your storecupboard or as gifts? Our guides and videos are packed with expert advice:


What’s your favourite jam or preserve? Leave a comment below…