How to sterilise jars

How to prepare glass jars for filling with jam, chutney and relish by heating them in the oven so the contents don't spoil.

Points to remember

  • Wash your jars and the lids in hot soapy water, but do not dry them. Instead, leave them to stand upside down on a roasting tray while they’re still wet.
  • Pop the tray of clean, wet jars and lids in to a preheated oven at 160-180ºC for about 15 mins.
  • Ladle the hot preserve into a heatproof jug to make it easier to transfer the mixture into the hot jars. Be very careful not to touch or get any of the mixture onto the rim of the jars as this could introduce bacteria.
  • Ideally you want to fill the jars not quite to the top, leave about 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) gap at the top between the preserve and the lid.
  • While everything is still hot, cover the jars with their lids or top with wax paper and a piece of cellophane secured tightly with an elastic band.
  • Once in sterilised jars like this your preserves should keep for about 6 months in a cool, dark place, but do check the recipe you’re using for a more accurate shelf life as some preserves will last longer than others.