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Sterilization of Empty Canning Jars


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Illustration of various glass jars.

Sterilization of Empty Jars

All jams, jellies, and pickled products processed less than 10 minutes should be filled into sterile empty jars. To sterilize empty jars, put them right side up on the rack in a boiling-water canner. Fill the canner and jars with hot (not boiling) water to 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Boil 10 minutes at altitudes of less than 1,000 ft. At higher elevations, boil 1 additional minute for each additional 1,000 ft. elevation. Remove and drain hot sterilized jars one at a time. Save the hot water for processing filled jars. Fill jars with food, add lids, and tighten screw bands.

Empty jars used for vegetables, meats, and fruits to be processed in a pressure canner need not be presterilized. It is also unnecessary to presterilize jars for fruits, tomatoes, and pickled or fermented foods that will be processed 10 minutes or longer in a boiling-water canner.




Canning Fruits and Fruit Products

  • Apple Juice
  • Apple Butter
  • Apple Butter, Reduced Sugar
  • Apples-Sliced
  • Applesauce
  • Apple Rings-Spiced
  • Apricots-Halved or Sliced
  • Berries-Whole
  • Berry Syrup
  • Cherries-Whole
  • Cherry (Sweet) Topping
  • Crabapples-Spiced
  • Crabapples-Spiced II
  • Cranberries
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Figs
  • Fruit Purees
  • Grape Juice
  • Grapes Whole
  • Grapefruit and Orange Sections
  • Lemon Curd, Canned
  • Mango Sauce
  • Mangoes, Green
  • Mayhaw Juice
  • Mayhaw Syrup
  • Mixed Fruit Cocktail
  • Nectarines-Halved or Sliced
  • Papaya
  • Peaches-Halved or Sliced
  • Peach Fruit Topping
  • Pears, Asian
  • Pears-Halved
  • Pie Fillings
  • Pineapple
  • Plums-Halved or Whole
  • Rhubarb-Stewed
  • Zucchini-Pineapple
  • These documents were adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009 &
    From "So Easy to Preserve", 5th ed. 2006. Bulletin 989, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, Athens. Revised by Elizabeth L. Andress. Ph.D. and Judy A. Harrison, Ph.D., Extension Foods Specialists.