Home canning fruits and vegetables is a great way to save on your grocery budget. Canning is the process of preserving fresh food in sealed jars. In this way you can put fresh food up and be able to eat it in the winter. There are certain rules and guidelines that must be followed to ensure a healthy product that has not spoiled. One of these guidelines is cleaning the metal rings that hold the sealed lid in place during processing. It's important to clean and store the lids properly for re-use.
The first rule of thumb is to NOT store the prepared jars with the ring still on the jar. Water and salt sticks between the ring threads and the processed jar, and over time will cause rust. And rust is not what you need near food products as it will cause mold and other bacteria that will ruin your product and could possibly make you sick.
After you have processed the jars, make sure the jars are sealed and remove the metal ring with the threads from the jars before storing the jars.
Wash all the rings in hot soapy water and scrub the threads well with a wet dishcloth or scrubber. Inspect the rings and make sure you have removed any residue.
Lay each ring thread side down on a dry dishcloth. Once you have washed them all, go back to each ring and thoroughly dry with another dry dishcloth. Let air dry thoroughly.
Once the jar lids are thoroughly dry, place several rings in a baggie and close the baggie and store. Depending on how many rings you have you will need more than one baggie as you do not want to stuff them into the baggie. Only put a few in each baggie so air will flow around the rings. This will prevent rust or bacteria from forming on the rings so you can re-use them again.