Jars should be made from glass and free of any chips or cracks. Preserving jars or bottles are topped with a glass, plastic, or metal lid, which has a rubber seal. Two piece lids are best for bottling, as they vacuum seal when processed.
To sterilise jars before filling with jams, pickles or preserves, wash the jars and lids in hot, soapy water. Rinse well and arrange jars and lids, open sides up and without touching, on a tray. Boil the jars and lids covered with water in a large saucepan, for 15 mins.
Use tongs to move the hot sterilised jars from the boiling water. Be sure the tongs are sterilised too, by dipping the ends in boiling water for a few minutes.
As a rule, hot preserves go into hot jars and cold preserves go into cold jars. All items used in the process of making jams, jellies, and preserves must be clean. This includes any towels used and especially your hands.
After the jars are sterilised, you can preserve the food. It is important to follow any processing or sterilising instructions included in the recipe carefully.