Did you know you can use your oven to sterilize equipment? It’s a tried and tested method when it comes to removing harmful bacteria from glass storage jars.
So, if you’re planning on making your own chutney, jam or other preserves, read on to find out all about how to sterilize jars in the oven.
Do I have to sterilize my jars?
Yes! Sterilizing jars is an efficient way of removing all harmful bacteria from your jars before using them to store your preserves. Not only does this help with taste and texture, it also prevents food poisoning.
Is sterilizing in the oven the best method?
No. While it’s an effective method, sterilizing your glass jars in a dry heat environment can potentially create a couple of issues.
Firsty, ovens can be inaccurate in their reading of temperatures. Setting an oven to 320F/160ºC doesn’t guarantee that precise temperature. Therefore, sterilizing glass jars in an oven is less reliable than other methods, such as boiling water or an Instant Pot.
Also, the quick change in temperature and the effect of dry heat can potentially damage the glass. This all depends on the quality of the storage glasses and the temperature of the glasses before they enter the oven.
Here are a few points to keep in mind when sterilizing jars in the oven:
- Make sure your oven is clean before using it to sterilize your jars.
- Use warm jars when sterilizing in the oven. This is because a sudden change in temperature can damage the glass. It’s best to sterilize them shortly after washing them in hot water.
- Adjust your oven racks so that it can accommodate your jars.
- If you’re using old storage jars, make sure they are free from cracks or chips.
- Remove rubber seals and lids from your jars. These aren’t suitable for sterilizing in the oven – you’ll need to sterilize them in a pan of boiling water for 3 minutes.
- Arrange your oven racks so that you can fit a roasting tray in it. Preheat your oven to 320F/160ºC – any less than this and the glass jars might not be fully sterilized; any higher and you’ll run the risk of damaging the jars.
- Wash your glass jars thoroughly using hot soapy water. Rinse them properly.
- Place each glass jar upside down on a clean roasting tray. They don’t need to dry completely – they’ll dry in the oven
- Preheat your oven for 10 minutes to 320F/160ºC. Any lower and the glass jars might not be fully sterilized; any higher and you’ll risk breaking the canning jars.
- When your oven is properly heated, place the baking tray full of jars inside. Sterilize the clean glass jars for 15 minutes, then remove the tray using oven gloves.