Using your oven to sterilize jars you use for canning is an effective and efficient way to prevent the growth of harmful mold and bacteria in any food you choose to can. Not only does it protect the people eating your food from potential foodborne illness, but it also protects the fine flavor and texture of your special recipes.
Preheat your oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to adjust the oven racks to accommodate the jar's height.
Arrange your jars, lids, and bands on the cookie sheets. Leave space between them for the hot air to circulate. If you’re reusing Mason jars from previous years, remove the lids and bands from those jars so that everything is open and separated before you put your equipment in the oven.
Place the cookie sheets with your jars, lids, and bands on them in your preheated oven. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and do not remove anything or open the oven door before these 10 minutes have elapsed. If more than 10 minutes elapses, that’s OK, but 10 minutes at that temperature is all you need.
Turn the oven off and leave the jars, lids, and bands in the oven to keep them warm until you’re ready to use them for canning. Although 225 degrees is a comparatively low oven temperature, always use oven mitts or thick hand towels to handle anything you take out of your oven.
If you are reusing Mason jars from previous years of canning, examine the jars, lids, and bands for any dents, cracks, wear, or tear that might affect their suitability for reuse. Don’t be afraid to throw out or recycle any part of your canning equipment that no longer meets the high standards set by your handcrafted and delicious recipes.
You may also wish to sterilize any ladles, spoons, or funnels that you’ll be using in your home canning. However, before so doing, you should check to make sure that these things are oven-safe. If they are not, you may wish to consider sterilizing them in boiling water instead.
If your jars have been refrigerated, allow them to come to room temperature before attempting to sterilize them in your oven. The shock from sudden temperature changes can cause stress on the glass, and may result in breakage.
This method is only for high acidity foods. Only use it as a replacement for the boiling water method. Use the pressure method for other foods.
Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker and writer who has written for several online publications, including Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication CarEnvy.ca. Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.